LINCOLN – Today, Governor Ricketts vetoed three bills that had previously passed the unicameral, including one by our District 15 legislator, Lynne Walz.
This LB998 would have created the “Collaborative School Behavioral and Mental Health Program,” fully, privately funded for the first three years of the program. It would have placed social workers inside Educational Service Units with the sole purpose of connecting students and families to behavioral and mental health resources in their communities.
Senator Walz was taken aback by the veto. “I am appalled the Governor would veto a bill that helps so many children and families. There were so many people who worked with us on this legislation. We worked with behavioral and mental health experts, school administrators, teachers, social workers, and concerned parents on LB998. Our office received over a hundred letters of support. This is a program that was needed and well supported,” said Walz.
“I am in shock that a program intended to help children, with no cost to the state, would draw this level of opposition. Now, thousands of children will not have access to services they need because our governor is out of touch with the people he is supposed to represent.”
Ricketts, in his veto statements, said he agreed with the reality of the problems that LB998 tried to address. However, Ricketts went on to state that the bill “unnecessarily inserts the State between private funders and the political subdivision receiving those donations.” Ricketts stated that he believes that the private donors who would have paid for the first three years of this program could still donate to ESUs directly and create their own locally-tailored programs.