Live blogging Special Sesson: Day 4 (Morning)

Nebraska State Capitol11/18/08 – click refresh for updates (numbers in () are for reporter use)
11:53 – Senator Avery’s bill to change the drop off age to one year has been defeated.  The bill now being debated is to make the drop off age limit 30 days.
11:52 – roll call vote underway
11:51 – call of the house – all Senators are being called back to their seats
11:50 – Sen Avery says he has heard no valid argument to put the bill back at 30 days.  He wants one year to be the time limit, vote coming in minutes.
11:48 – Senators are voting right now on an amendment to an amendment that would change the drop off age to one year.
11:11 – Sen Mcdonald – Letter sent to her from Todd Landry – saying there are supports across the state for the families in need.  He recommended 211 – she says only 38 counties even have 211 access.  if you’re outside the counties, you have to call a 402 number.  (6:17) Rural Nebraska doesn’t have the services Eastern Nebraska does. (6:46).  Another part is the website listed you can check into.  She tried to pull it up, it could not be found.(7:10) We have a broken system in HHS. (7:40) We’ll end up with more Columbine and more Von Maur because these children fall through the cracks.
11:07 – Sen Harms – I can live with 30 days. (129) No parent should have to abandon a troubled child to get help from this state.  What we’re seeimg now is still a small percentage of what we see in Nebraska homes. (1:40) Families are trouble when they have bring their children into Safe Haven, Families feel guilty from the very beginning.  That’s the issue that needs to be corrected. (2:10) One thing that is clear to me, we cannot legislate bringing the family circle back (3:10), but we can help the family get the appropriate assistance they need.(3:40) The question we should be asking ourselves is not about safe haven, but why has the family circle broken down.
10:58 – Sen Howard – once we correct the age the problem will disappear is not true, why doesn’t the director at HHS get this?
We are hearing Senator after Senator show support for 30 days
NRN has learned at least 40 senators will back 30 day age limit
Sen Whiteman does support the 30 day age limit ammendment
Sen Engel (122 8:52) we don’t know how many babies have actually been disposed of – he supports what came out of committee, the 30 days rule.
Sen Schimek admits we may have rushed through the first bill to get things done.  She wants to sunset the bill until June 4th
Sen Stuthman says his original bill was for 72 hours.  Since it when into effect there has been a number of teenage children.  Parents and children have reached out for help – I am not embarrased of what we have done – why else wouldk people drive 12 hours to get help for their child. (120 1:35) Other states had better look in the mirror to see what they are doing.  We need to have it that children can be assets of the state and the community,  Some say people have found a loophole, maye they have, but is that all bad? (3:30)
Sen Pederson says he wants to apologize for wearing a Mickey Mouse hat – he says he does not want to belittle the issue we’re talking about today.  I’ve worked with children for 50 years.  Seldom are young men abandoned, they were sent their by their parents, courts, and churches.  They went home on the summer to be with their families. They received mail from their parents.  We are lucky this bill passed the way it did originally did. (8:46)
Sen White says he could like to correct what we did do, and what we can do.  What we did do is pass a law with the word child. A person who has not reached their 14th birthday.  We cannot control how the administration interprets the law.  This law does not terminate parental responsibility.  What we can do – tension between the legislature and Governor is good.  (3:16)  The Governor cannot dictate a legislative result.  To say we only have one method in solving a crisis is not his job.  To follow the governor is to make us only a rubber stamp.  (119)
Sen Ernie Chambers speaks.  We can take as much time as needed on this issue. (118) If an age limit is adopted all that does is to create an exenption from a person being prosecuted for child abandonement.  There is no mandate that a prosecutor file a charge even if the child is older than the age set by the state.  There could be many circumstances.
Floor now open for debate. Sen Priester says our children are under assault under the name of being cheap.  He says children are fed cheap and harmful foods that lead to obesity.  We are too cheap to regulate lead.  Autism levels are at epidemic rates.  Nebraska has the second highest death rate from asthma.  It’s all because we are cheap.  Our children are under seige, ecause we are cheap, we close mental health facilities because we are cheap.  He doesnt think being cheap is very economical.  (117) (5:47)
Sen Bill Avery talks about his ammendment to AM 4.  I am convinced that the issue is part of a much bigger problem that was revealed by the safe haven law.  Our law was not a mistake.  We were not aware of the number of children in need of such desperate help. (116 1:32)  Given the constraints of this special session, we have to decide the appropriate age of children covered under safe have law.  He wants the committee ammendment set at 30 days changed to one year.  There are reliable studies that show children in their first year of life are at risk for being killed by their parents says Avery. (3:30) This is hard evidence that the first year of life is one of the greatest risks for infants.  (4:40)  The issue is how do we save the most children possible. (5:22) (6:36)
Speaker Flood opens on LB1 – the 3 day age limit for Safe Haven drop offs.  Bill has ammendments.  (115) Flood talks about baby being disposed of in his hometown of Norfolk.  As ammended it allows additional time for mother that may face dire situation or depression after leaving the hospital.  Sen Ashford – we’ve tried to craft a responsible reaction, but is only a start.  Says it was interesting to hear from parents in rural Nebraska and the distance they had to drive to get help.  (3:42)  The ammendment takes LB1 to a 30 day age limit for dropping off children.  He thinks more than 30 days would hurt the adoption process. Says there is a crying out for resources and that needs to be addressed in the next session (7:15)
9:08 LB 2 to approve financing of the public session.  Sen. Engel opens and closes – no debate.  LB2 passes.
Good Morning from The State Capitol!  Senators are checking in.  The first item on the agenda should go quickly.  It is to appropriate the money needed to have this special session.  Yesterday’s public hearing was crowded and emotional, and we will hear plenty from our senators about what they heard.