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The 105th Legislature opened session on January 3rd. As always, but especially in a short session, our state Senators are working fast and furiously to get as much accomplished as they can before their 60th day on April 18th. Dozens of bills have been introduced with some not advancing, and some already being scheduled with hearing dates.
There are several bills that The Kim Foundation will be monitoring along with our fellow behavioral health advocates. Some specifically are:
LB 442 would create an oversight committee for Heritage Health. This would allow for measures of accountability and the opportunity to identify problems that exist systematically in order to find solutions and improve care for Nebraskans.
LB 680 would adopt the Interstate Placement for Involuntarily Admitted Patients Agreement Act. This would essentially allow DHHS to contract with a health care facility across state lines, and allow for behavioral health services to be accessed across state lines when the facility is closer for the individual than the facility in Nebraska.
LB 801 would adopt the Panhandle Beginnings Act. This would provide certain services to school-age children, and develop a pilot project to establish a collaborative therapeutic facility in the panhandle of Nebraska.
LB 836 looks at providing minors’ consent for certain mental health services and prescriptions.
LB 870 wich provides restrictions on when and where room confinement may be used with juveniles.
LB 964 would authorize mental health professionals to take a person into emergency protective custody under the NE Mental Health Commitment Act.
LB 998 would create the Collaborative School Behavioral & Mental Health Program, placing a social worker in each of the ESU’s throughout the state to coordinate behavioral health services for students.
There are obviously many more that are of interest and numerous tax bills that could impact us all, but these are just a few that we will be monitoring closely. Sometimes it is easier to sit back and watch things unfold in Lincoln, assuming our representatives are informed on what is best for their constituents, but I encourage you to take action! If there is a bill or issue you feel passionately about, pick up the phone, send an email, and let your representative know how you feel and why. The more personal the connection, the more impactful the request. If you aren’t sure who your Senator is, simply follow this link to find out: https://nebraskalegislature.gov/senators/senator_find.php.
Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation
Julia Hebenstreit is the Executive Director of The Kim Foundation. She received her J.D. from Creighton University in 2005, and her BS in Journalism from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2002. She has been with The Kim Foundation since 2011, and prior to that worked for local non-profits doing development, strategic planning, communications and advancement. She has a passion for helping people and improving lives, and serves on the Executive Committee for Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, as the 2015 Hill Day State Captain for the state of Nebraska, and as an active member of the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, BHECN Advisory Committee, RESPECT Advisory Board, Connections Advisory Board and the Project Propel Planning Group.