Ben Hansen

Sen. Ben Hansen

It was a big week in the Legislature as my priority bill, LB 304 passed final reading on April 29 and was approved by the governor on Wednesday. The bill allows producers to sell from their homes or by mail the same foods that could previously be sold at farmers markets and other events.

I named this my priority bill because of the potential for increased or new business it will bring to many families around the state. When I considered how popular farmers markets are, and how well they support entrepreneurship and individual enterprise, I saw how LB 304 could springboard these small producers into potential new businesses. I want to thank Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue for introducing the bill and for working with me to get it over the finish line.

The Revenue Committee released its main proposal for property tax relief last week. Senators and staff were briefed Thursday and will be briefed again Tuesday on the details of the proposal. By raising the state sales tax, eliminating sales tax exemptions and changing how the state funds public schools, the bill claims to provide up to a 20 percent reduction in property taxes. I want to see how the sales tax increases will affect the budget of everyday Nebraskans before making a decision on the bill. One thing is for sure though — there will be some heated debate when the bill comes before the Legislature.

LB 209 introduced by Sen. Joni Albrecht to require information be given to women choosing to undergo a medication abortion was debated twice last week. Medication abortions require that women take a combination of two pills, the second of which is taken a few days after the first. Under LB 209, doctors administering the abortion pills would be required to inform patients that, once the first pill is taken, there still may be time to stop the abortion if she were to change her mind. This information would direct the patient to a hotline where she can get information about halting the abortion and be directed to a medical professional who can help.

I spoke often about the “informed consent” part of this bill on the floor. As a physician, I know how incredibly important it is for patients to know about all of their options before and after treatment. A woman’s decision to have an abortion is life-changing in many ways. If she were to decide to have an abortion, and then change her mind during the process, it is imperative that she know options exist to help her stop the abortion. This is part of a physician’s duty of informed consent, and in this case, could literally save a life. I was proud to support and defend the bill on the floor.

If you have questions or comments, please contact the District 16 office at 402-471-2728 to speak with my Administrative Assistant Ellie Stangl or my Legislative Aide Jacob Campbell. You can also email me at bhansen@leg.ne.gov.  To follow along with the session please visit nebraskalegislature.gov or you may watch the live stream when available at netnebraska.org

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