|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2010)|
|Member of the Nebraska Senate
from the 12th district
|Preceded by||Pam Redfield|
April 1, 1957 |
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
|Alma mater||Creighton University|
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Lathrop is the fifth of nine children born to David and Shirley Lathrop. He attended Holy Name Catholic Elementary School, and Archbishop Rummel High School in Omaha, which later became Roncalli Catholic High School. Lathrop graduated in 1975, and then attended Creighton University to pursue that school's "three and three" Business/Law School degree program and graduated in 1979. He received his J.D. in 1981, shortly thereafter entering private practice after law school.
Senator Lathrop was elected in 2006 to represent Nebraska's 12th Legislative District and was re-elected in 2010. The 12th Legislative District consists of the City of Ralston and neighborhoods to the west of Ralston that is primarily the area of Douglas County known as Millard.
Lathrop was elected as the Chairman of the Business and Labor Committee in 2009, 2011, and 2013. He is also the Chairman of the Developmental Disabilities Special Investigative Committee, and Vice-chairman of the Judiciary Committee. In addition, he currently serves on the Executive Board, the Agriculture Committee, the Committee on Committees, and the Rules Committee.
Senator Lathrop has worked on a variety of legislative issues during his years in the Unicameral. The following is a summary of some of his work.
Economic Development and Jobs
In 2010, Senator Lathrop worked with Mayor Don Groesser and the City of Ralston to introduce and pass LB 779. It established a turnback mechanism for cities in order to allow them to use new state sales tax revenue generated within 600 yards of a new sports arena to help fund mid-sized arenas. As a result of the new law, the City of Ralston opened a new arena in 2012 that is the home of the Omaha Lancers, the University of Nebraska at Omaha Mavericks' basketball team, and many other sporting, musical and convention activities.
Also in 2010, Senator Lathrop worked with business and labor groups to find a compromise that allowed the state to accept ARRA funds through the passage of LB 1020 that slowed the growth of unemployment insurance rates for businesses. It strengthened the state's unemployment insurance fund by balancing unemployment benefit improvements along with some cuts in unemployment benefits and was considered a benefit to the business community and workers.
In 2011, Senator Lathrop worked for months with business and labor groups to enact substantive and meaningful reforms to the Commission on Industrial Relations through the passage of LB 397. The end product was designed to provide predictability and specific criteria to be applied by the Commission while protecting collective bargaining rights in Nebraska. The process involved with LB 397 most likely kept Nebraska from experiencing the actions that took place in state capitols in Wisconsin, Indiana and elsewhere in 2011. As a result of his work, Senator Lathrop was honored along with Senators Brad Ashford and the late Dennis Utter by the League of Nebraska Municipalities in 2012.
In 2013, Senator Lathrop introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at growing and improving Nebraska's work force. LB 481 would create the Career Education Task Force that would consist of individuals with experience in career education and representatives of business and labor and assign them the task of providing the Nebraska Legislature and the State Board of Education with a road map on how to move forward in career education by the end of 2013.
LB 480 would establish an educational grant program for students at community colleges who are enrolled in programs that are technical in nature and would help Nebraska fill high need positions in technical careers. The program would be designed so that businesses could donate to the grant fund and work with community colleges in their areas to develop a well trained and well educated work force.
Budget and Taxes
Senator Lathrop supported fiscally responsible budget bills during his six legislative sessions. In the fall of 2009, a special session was convened to make adjustments to the budget due to decreases in state revenue. As a result, the Legislature passed a proposal that was supported by Senator Lathrop that will result in $337 million of budget savings during the next two years without raising taxes.
During his six years, Senator Lathrop supported legislation that reduced taxes in Nebraska. In 2007, he supported LB 367 that made several changes to Nebraska’s tax structure, including the elimination of Nebraska’s estate tax and “marriage penalty,” the creation of a property tax credit program, the elimination of the sales and use tax for construction labor and community based energy development projects, and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit. In 2012, he supported Senator Abbie Cornett's bill (LB 970) that lowered income tax rates for all Nebraskans.
In 2013, Senator Lathrop introduced a bill that would create the County Property Tax Assistance Program and the Municipal Property Tax Assistance Program (LB 370). LB 370 would allow the State of Nebraska to provide funds to these two programs and when a county or a municipality received the funds, they would use them in place of property taxes. When doing so, they would have to reduce their property tax collections by the same amount. If utilized, these programs would result in actual property tax reductions for Nebraskans.
During his time in the Nebraska Legislature, Senator Lathrop has worked to pass legislation to allow for increased development of wind energy in Nebraska. In 2008, Senator Lathrop assisted with the passage of LB 629, which created a rural Community-Based Energy Development (CBED) program to allow local property owners and communities to develop wind energy projects.
In 2009, Senator Lathrop introduced and passed LB 561. LB 561 will allow public power districts to waive their right of eminent domain authority for certain wind energy projects which will allow those districts to reach agreements with private developers of wind farms. This reduces a major roadblock to the development of private wind farms. The bill also provided for an additional Nebraska-based business model for the development of wind energy projects. It is estimated that hundreds of millions of dollars of wind energy development will take place due to the passage of LB 561.
In 2013, Senator Lathrop introduced LB 104 to assist with the development of even more wind farms, as well as create additional good-paying jobs and extra income for landowners in rural Nebraska. LB 104 would provide tax incentives for the development of wind farms that mirror those found in Nebraska's neighboring states. Nebraska's wind developers support LB 104 because it will help them tap Nebraska's wind energy potential as a result of the establishing of a level economic playing field with Nebraska's neighbors.
In 2008, Senator Lathrop was appointed the Chair of the Developmental Disabilities Special Investigative Committee, which was given the responsibility to look more closely at the deteriorating conditions at the Beatrice State Developmental Center. It consisted of seven senators of both political parties that were appointed by the Legislature. Since that time, the Committee has done extensive work to gain a better understanding of the issues facing the facility and to provide additional oversight. The Committee has also reviewed community-based programs and the challenges facing the providers of services for individuals with a developmental disability who live in communities across Nebraska. The Committee has been re-authorized several times by the Legislature in order to continue its work.
In 2009, Senator Lathrop introduced LB 236 to begin to reduce the waiting list for individuals with a developmental disability. When the bill was introduced nearly 2000 Nebraskans were awaiting services, many for several years. A part of that bill was amended into the state budget bill by the Appropriations Committee and as a result nearly 1000 Nebraskans now receive much-needed services.
Senator Lathrop also introduced LB 901 in 2012 to continue to assist the nearly 2000 Nebraskans who still were waiting services. By working with the members of the Appropriations Committee additional funds were provided to reduce the waiting list and as of January 2013 over 150 additional Nebraskans had been removed from the waiting list and were now receiving services.
In 2013, Senator Lathrop continued his work to address the waiting list by introducing LB 375. LB 375 would direct funds to the waiting list. When it was introduced nearly 1800 Nebraskans with a developmental disability were in need of a specific service that would allow them to have a higher quality of life in their communities.
The ARC of Nebraska has honored Senator Lathrop twice for his advocacy for people with developmental disabilities.
During the 2008 legislative session, Senator Lathrop passed legislation that will save money on prescription drugs by establishing a Medicaid preferred drug list for the State of Nebraska and requiring the State to enter into a multistate purchasing pool for prescription drugs. The annual projected savings was anticipated to be at least $2 million per year for the State of Nebraska.
In 2011, Senator Lathrop worked with health providers, concussion victims, and the National Football League to introduce and pass the Concussion Awareness Education Act (LB 260). The new law established one of the most thorough processes for educating young athletes, coaches, and parents about the dangers of concussions in the United States.
In 2012, Senator Lathrop led the effort of the Business and Labor Committee to provide funds to subcontractors of Boys and Girls Home through the passage of LB 1072. Boys and Girls Home had been a lead agency with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services as part of the Department's failed child welfare reform effort and had failed to pay numerous providers despite their work with children who were under the care of the State of Nebraska. LB 1072 provided funds to these providers which allowed them to continue their efforts to assist Nebraska's children.
Senator Lathrop has worked to provide additional protections for consumers from the threat of identity theft through the introduction and passage of three separate bills.
LB 221 amended state law to restrict birth date information for children in certain court documents.
LB 674 strengthened identity theft law by prohibiting employers from using certain variations of an employee’s social security number and by adopting the Credit Report Protection Act. Under the Act, individuals are now allowed to place a security freeze on their credit reports.
In a follow-up bill to LB 674, LB 177 was introduced and passed to amend the security freeze law by removing the seven year sunset provision for credit freezes and reducing the cost to place a credit freeze from $15 to $3.
Senator Lathrop has introduced and passed legislation related to the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems during his time in the Nebraska Legislature. He has also served as a key member of the Judiciary Committee and has sought to find common ground on difficult issues facing the Committee.
One of these difficult issues was found in LB 606 in 2008. Although he did not introduce this bill, Senator Lathrop was recognized as a key negotiator in finding a compromise between the medical research community and pro-life groups. As a result, LB 606 was passed and effectively banned the practice of creating and destroying human embryos in the state of Nebraska. It also established a grant system to provide researchers with incentives to pursue new and more effective methods of performing this research.
Another problematic bill that Senator Lathrop assisted with was LB 573 in 2007. LB 573 eventually was passed to make adults who knowingly provide alcohol to a minor responsible for any injuries or damages to third parties caused by the negligence of the intoxicated minor.
Another bill that was before the Judiciary Committee in 2007 involved the issue of recreational liability. After much discussion and work, LB 564 was passed to place some limits on the liability of political subdivisions (such as cities) that allow recreational activities on public land after a court ruling changed the previous protection. As result of the court ruling, many cities were concerned about their ability to operate various recreational activities, including skate parks. The passage of LB 564 alleviated those concerns.
There were also other justice-related bills that were introduced by Senator Lathrop and eventually passed, including LBs 179, 237, 238, and 292 during the 2009-10 legislative session.
LB 179 requires the electronic recording of interrogations in investigations of violent felonies. This practice insures more complete and accurate justice when dealing with our worst offenders and provides protections for law enforcement officials.
LB 237 adopted the Interstate Compact for Juveniles and the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children. These Compacts are interstate agreements that provide for the uniform tracking, placement, and supervision of juveniles and children that move across state lines. This will apply when juveniles on probation move to another state or children who are in foster care or are awaiting adoption move to another state.
LB 238 created new criminal offenses for those who intentionally damage certain equipment or structures of public power suppliers. This bill was introduced in response to the recent increase in copper thefts that have contributed to numerous instances where criminals have broken into a power facility to steal wire or other materials.
LB 292 provided for uniform registration, certification, and background checks of sports agents seeking to represent student athletes who are or may be eligible to participate in intercollegiate sports. The bill was supported by the University of Nebraska and Husker Athletic Director Tom Osborne testified in favor of the bill.
During the 2011-12 legislative session Senator Lathrop introduced and passed additional justice related legislation.
LB 398 was introduced at the request of Secretary of State John Gale and made improvements to the notary public process.
LB 479 changed state law so that a victim of sexual or domestic assault who is at least 18 years of age can be examined and treated by a physician without the consent or notification of a parents or guardian.
LB 677 provided for enhanced penalties for assaults that take place against health care providers in health care settings as a reaction to violent assaults in Omaha area hospitals.
LB 899 increased the efficiency of courts and reduced costs for individuals by allowing final hearings to be waived in legal separation cases.
In 2013, Senator Lathrop introduced various legislative bills that make changes to Nebraska's justice system.
- "Nebraska Unicameral Legislature". Sen. Steve Lathrop. Retrieved March 17, 2009.
|Member of the Nebraska Legislature
from the 12th district