Pubdate: Wed, 26 Jan 2005
Source: Omaha World-Herald (NE)
Copyright: 2005 Omaha World-Herald Company
Author: Martha Stoddard, World-Herald Bureau
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


LINCOLN - Home buyers and renters should be told if the charming 3BR ranch 
w/fireplace that caught their eye also harbors hazardous leftovers from 
methamphetamine manufacturing, state legislators were told Tuesday.

Without such warnings, parents could unwittingly put themselves and their 
children in danger from the many chemicals used in cooking up a batch of 
meth, State Sen. Ray Aguilar of Grand Island told the Banking, Commerce and 
Insurance Committee.

With required warnings, property owners would have reason to thoroughly 
clean up meth-related hazards before trying to rent or sell, he said.

The chemicals and fumes remaining in former meth labs can cause burning 
eyes, nose, skin and throat, as well as damage to lungs and the brain, he said.

"This issue is so important because meth labs can be anywhere, and they are 
prevalent across Nebraska," Aguilar said. "To me it's just common sense not 
to live in a contaminated area."

Aguilar's Legislative Bill 149 would require disclosure about past 
methamphetamine labs on a property.

An amendment he proposed Tuesday would require similar disclosures about 
hotel and motel rooms, but drop the disclosure requirement when health 
officials certify that the property has been cleaned up.

The Nebraska Association of Hotels and Motels opposed the bill.

The proposal has too many unknowns, said Korby Gilbertson, speaking for the 
Nebraska Realtors Association. Among them: Who would set the standards for 
cleaning up a property, and who would decide when it no longer requires a 

Les Tyrrell, director of the Nebraska Real Estate Commission, questioned 
whether the focus shouldn't be on getting local health departments involved 
with cleaning up such properties.

The bill was one of two heard Tuesday to protect potential home buyers.

The second, LB 315, was introduced by Sen. Gwen Howard of Omaha. It would 
require that potential home buyers be told about the state's sex offender 
registry. The registry would allow them to learn if a convicted sex 
offender lives in the neighborhood.

"If it is important for the home buyer to know if the cable television jack 
works, it's important to know if there's a registered sex offender living 
next door," she said.

Such notice could be added to the bottom of the seller property disclosure 
statement, even though it does not relate to the condition of a property, 
Tyrrell said.
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