Legislative Report

Legislative report at NAMFT Board meeting on September 11, 2020.

Legislative Chair Anne Buettner

Nebraska legislative session ended at mid August. Due to the pandemics, it was suspended in March and reopened in July.

What is most relevant to mental health is LB 247 Mental health care directives. Introduced by Lincoln Senator Kate Bolz, a social worker, and has become law. The bill was passed 44-0 vote.

LB 247 allows a person to issue instructions or preferences regarding future mental health care decisions, including consent to or refusal of specific types of care, such as inpatient treatment, psychotropic medication or electroconvulsive therapy.

The bill requires two witnesses to the signing of an advance directive. Witnesses cannot be the person’s attending physician or member of their mental healthcare treatment team, family member, romantic partner, attorney or owner or employee of a treatment facility at which the person is receiving treatment.

The person signing an advance directive must be of sound mind and cannot appear incapacitated or under undue influence or duress at the time of signing. An advance mental health care directive will remain in effect until it expires according to its own terms or is revoked by the person to whom it applies.

Under LB 247 , a health care professional who acts or declines to act according to reasonable medical standards, in good faith reliance upon a person’s advance directive, will not be subject to criminal prosecution, civil liability or discipline for unprofessional conduct.

Mental Health Practice Board proposed regulations were forwarded to Attorney General for review . We are getting close to the Governor’s signature. This has been a ten year ‘s journey.

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