Bill would give $20 million to early childhood education

LINCOLN - State lawmakers introduced more than 30 bills and elected Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk as vice chairman of the Education Committee on Jan. 14, the fourth day of the 103rd legislative session. Among the new bills to be considered is a $20 million appropriation for early childhood education. Here are some of the day's highlights.

LB171: Sponsored by Sen. Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins, this bill would expedite the concealed handgun permit process − from 45 days to five days − for applicants who are victims of domestic violence.

LB181: This bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln, would make it illegal to operate a motorcycle with a passenger under 8 years of age.

LB182: Also sponsored by Avery, this bill would prevent the biological father of a child who was conceived as a result of sexual assault from being considered a part of the child's family under paternity law.

LB185: This bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial, would provide financial assistance to Natural Resources Districts to invest in projects that enhance stream flows.

LB190: Sponsored by Sen. John Harms of Scottsbluff, this bill would appropriate $10 million each from the general funds for 2013-14 and 2014-15 for the Early Childhood Education Endowment Cash Fund. The fund provides grants to school districts for early childhood education programs for at-risk children from birth to age 3.