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TMCNet:  Heineman vetoes bills on recycling, mental trauma

[April 21, 2008]

Heineman vetoes bills on recycling, mental trauma

(Omaha World-Herald (NE) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Apr. 21--LINCOLN -- Gov. Dave Heineman vetoed a bill Monday that aimed at creating safe ways to dispose of old computers, televisions and other electronic equipment.

In his veto message, Heineman called Legislative Bill 986 "burdensome, costly and intrusive."

He said the fees charged to electronics manufacturers under the bill would create a barrier for computer makers and would increase costs to the consumer. He said Nebraskans have other options for recycling electronic equipment.

The fees were to be based on the number of TVs and computers sold in Nebraska, and would have been reduced for companies that establish their own recycling programs.

Money generated through the fees were to be used for state grants to foster new recycling programs and to offer computer amnesty days, during which people could turn in old equipment free of charge.

First-responders won't be able to get workers' compensation benefits for mental trauma suffered on the job after all.

Gov. Dave Heineman vetoed a bill Monday that would have expanded workers' compensation benefits for police officers, firefighters and other first responders exposed to especially horrific conditions during their work.

In a message to the Legislature, he said Legislative Bill 819 would significantly increase workers' compensation costs for cities, counties and the state. He said the state already provides a debriefing program for first responders in involved in the most traumatizing situations.

"The expansion of workers' compensation coverage, as proposed by LB 819, is unwarranted and would be costly for state and local governments and their taxpayers," Heineman said.

Based on the experience of other states, the bill's sponsor, State Sen. Abbie Cornett of Bellevue had argued that claims for mental trauma would amount to only about 2 percent of total claims.

Under current Nebraska law, workers' compensation covers physical injuries and accompanying mental trauma. It does not cover mental trauma by itself.

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