LB998 a 'very serious deficiency'

Monday, April 23, 2018
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Teacher with young studentsA parental rights organization in Nebraska has concerns about a bill it says puts the state in charge of children.

The bill in question is known as LB998, or "The Collaborative School Behavioral and Mental Health Program." According to Leroy Becker with Parental Rights Nebraska, the measure, which recently passed the legislature and now awaits the governor's approval, would place social workers in the public school system. Those workers, says Becker, would administer evidence-based screening tools to identify students in need of services, probably without the knowledge or permission of their parents.

"In another place in this bill, they do say that social workers must work with (a) trained teachers and other school personnel (b) to work with parents, schools, behavioral and mental health care providers, and other community resources in order to provide timely, effective, and family-centered services," Becker tells OneNewsNow. "So parents are mentioned there, but that is the only place that they're mentioned. This leaves it wide-open for the social worker to determine how they're going to work with parents and when."

Becker believes this raises the potential that they are looking for some kind of a profile.

"It must be something more than some kind of a behavioral problem," he suggests. "Identify? What does that mean?"

The parental rights advocate hopes he is wrong to predict Governor Pete Ricketts (R) will sign the measure.

"I would hope our governor would see that this is a very serious deficiency and veto it," Becker continues. "This thing will not take effect until it is funded by $3 million of non-government money, but I believe that will not be a problem for the people who have been pushing this thing."

OneNewsNow reached out to the Nebraska Governor's Office for comment and was told, "The Governor has five full days to review the bills that are presented to him and is doing so now."

However, the governor may not even have to sign the measure for it to become law.

Nebraska Constitution Article IV - 15 says in part, "Any bill which shall not be returned by the governor within five days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, shall become a law in like manner as if he had signed it; unless the legislature by their adjournment prevent its return; in which case it shall be filed, with his objections, in the office of the Secretary of State within five days after such adjournment, or become a law."

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