Creating Solutions Together

Partisanship and naps

Through eight days, senators have introduced 430 bills and one constitutional amendment that would require voter identification. You might ask yourself, “How do 49 senators come up with so many great ideas?”  You know the answer…..lobbyists. Each bill is critical to the future of our state, and is a true masterpiece of legal craftsmanship. Fortunately for us all, no more bills can be introduced after January 18.

Early last week, mornings were reserved for senators to mill about the George Norris Chamber and introduce bills. Afternoons were set aside for informal meetings and naps. Thursday, Governor Ricketts delivered his State of the State Address. His priorities for 2017 include: less spending; lower taxes; fixing the Department of Corrections and pulling rabbits out of hats.

So far, our nonpartisan unicameral legislature has been solidly partisan. It will be interesting to see if stalwarts on both sides holds tough as we get deeper into the 90-day session. Former Republican US senator, Richard Luger has a solution.  To paraphrase, “Nonpartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view.”

Click here for senators’ contact information.
Click here for members of standing committees.
Click here for live streaming of floor debate and committee hearings.

What’s up?

Taxes, that’s what’s up. LB 312 would place state sales tax on a boatload of currently exempt products and services: merchandise; newspapers; school lunches; admission to school events; personal legal, accounting and real estate services; veterinary and specialty animal services.  Sales tax would be also be applied to contractor labor for residential additions and construction.

LB 313 introduced by Freshman Senator Briese, is easy to understand.  It ups the state sales tax by a penny – 5½ cents to 6½ cents. What happened to lower taxes and less government?

Bills of interest

LB 44    The Remote Seller Sales Tax Collection Act
LB 67    Adopts the Fair Repair Act
LB 114  Every motor vehicle on a highway shall have headlights and tail lights
LB 312  Eliminates certain state sales tax exemptions
LB 313  Increases state sales tax from 5½ cents to 6½ cents

Click here for introduced legislation through the first 8 days.