Creating Solutions Together


Thursday is the last day non-incumbents can file for office for the primary election. Twenty four seats in the Legislature are up for election this cycle. Nine incumbent senators are running unopposed and desperately hoping to remain that way on March 2. No jinx intended.

The nine-member Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board meets Wednesday. Their AccuWeather forecast for next year’s general fund receipts will determine if the state budget remains on Doppler Alert, or if all will be bright and sunshiny.

Speaking of campaign contributions; Sen. Ernie Chambers introduced LB817 that puts the kibosh on elected officials using their own campaign funds for the benefit of other political campaigns and events. Some state senators are writing checks from their campaign accounts to sponsor events for their Parties or other senators. This is no black-tailed prairie dog bill, but campaign contributors, Common Cause and the Nebraska Accountability & Disclosure Committee completely agree.

Committee hearings on every bill introduced this session conclude Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday (Day 35), the Speaker shifts the format to all-day floor debate for the final 25 legislative days.

Ever hear of the Nebraska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission? Didn’t think so. It has three commissioners in Sidney. They meet a dozen times a year to issue permits for the development of Nebraska’s oil and natural gas resources. Senator Erdman (Bayard) introduced LB713 to increase each commissioner’s daily pay from $50 to $500. Sweet!

Senators Burke Harr and Tom Brewer propose replacing both Nebraska statues in the National Statutory Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol. Julius Sterling Morton and William Jennings Bryan (both very handsome men, BTW) were unveiled in 1937. The senators prefer Standing Bear, the renowned Ponca chief and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather. Fine alternatives indeed. Perhaps another equally famous Nebraska icon merits consideration in this debate….Hmmm?


Priority Bills on our Tracking Sheet

LB44 (Watermeier) Select File Would increase state sales tax revenue through collection of taxes on Internet purchases.

LB829 (Erdman) In Committee Would enable Nebraska property owners to get a credit or refund on their state income tax return equal to 50% of that portion of their property tax bill, which goes to fund K-12 education.

LB947 (Smith on behalf of the Governor) In Committee Effective January 1, 2018, each resident who is an owner of a homestead shall be allowed a refundable credit against their income taxes paid, equal to a percentage of the property taxes paid during the taxable year on such homestead, not to exceed 10%. For taxable year 2019 and each taxable year thereafter, the percentage may be increased, not to exceed 30%.

LB994 (Transportation & Telecommunication Committee) In Committee Would enhance broadband telecommunications service to unserved and underserved areas in rural Nebraska. The intent states that citizens in rural Nebraska should have comparable broadband service to citizens in urban areas.

LB1103 (Friesen) In Committee Creates foundation aid that is the greater of 25% of the basic funding calculated for a school district or the total amount certified for a local system, proportionally based on the formula students attributed to each district.