LINCOLN — Requiring child-proof switches on novelty lighters extinguished a prolonged debate Thursday in the Nebraska Legislature.
A bill to outlaw sales of the lighters, many of which are shaped like toys, led to roughly five hours of debate this week. Senators voted 33-5 Thursday to advance the Legislative Bill 403 to the second round of debate after it was amended to ban only novelty lighters lacking child-proof switches.
Supporters of the ban called the lighters “an attractive nuisance” that could lead to more fires because they appeal to children. Opponents argued the ban represents unnecessary regulation by the state and keeping the lighters out of the hands of children should be the responsibility of parents.
Sen. Ken Schilz of Ogallala proposed the child-proof amendment, which was supported by the bill's sponsor, Sen. Les Seiler of Hastings. The amendment passed by a vote of 31-3.
Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion, who criticized the measure as an example of the “nanny state,” said Thursday it was time for the Legislature to move onto other bills. He withdrew amendments filed to extend the debate.
The bill does not outlaw possession of the lighters.