Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Senators will return for two days (Thursday and Friday) to wrap-up this long legislative session. They will dispense with a few gubernatorial line-item vetos; vote on a handful of laggard bills on Final Reading, and suffer an hour of pomp and circumstance before returning to their respective districts for the year.
These kids are tired. They have become irritable, manipulative, selfish and hardheaded. It would help if Speaker Scheer sent them to their respective corners between bills, but the Rotunda doesn’t have corners.
Two long-anticipated big cheese issues were debated, and rudely received last week. Property tax relief (LB183) is important to farmers and homeowners, and economic development incentives (LB720), also important, but for economic development.
Without descending into the blow-by-blow details, Chambers of Commerce and most urban senators proclaimed that only LB720 should pass. Most rural senators and agriculture groups assumed the same on LB183. Net result? Both bills failed to overcome filibusters. While both will carryover to next year, they stand precariously between Scylla and Charybdis.
Both sides should be now keenly aware that significant property tax relief and competitive business incentives are strategically tied together. People, people, work with me here. Is that too much to ask?
Below are a few bills sent to the Governor’s desk last Friday. He has five days (excluding Sundays, but not holidays) to approve or veto each one. Why, you might ask, doesn’t Sunday count as one of the five days? According to state lore, farmers work every day except Sunday, and so should the Governor.
- LB293 / LB294 / LB295 / LB296 / LB297 / LB298 / LB299 – Budget bills
- LB300 – Raise Supreme Court Justices salary to $179,825.37 (7-1-19) and $183,421.88 (7-1-20).
- LB610 / LB544 / LB547 – College savings plans for the little darlings.
- LB657 – Legalize the cultivation and sale of hemp with no more than 0.3% THC.
- LB194 – Raise the legal age from 18 to 19 for purchasing and possessing vapor products, flavored liquids containing nicotine and tobacco products.
NeABA Bills In Play
- LB303 (Lindstrom) Would transfer $51 million each year from the General Fund tot he Property Tax Credit Fund
Approved by the Governor
- LB184 (Friesen) Creates the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act for the next generation of wireless communications – 5G
- LB227 (Hughes) Nuisance bill. If a farming operation existed prior to changes in surrounding land use remains unchanged a farm or warehouse could retain right-to-farm protections for changes to the farming operation or public grain warehouse operations. A farm or warehouse shall not be found to be a nuisance if reasonable measures are employed to minimize dust, odors, etc. and the farm or grain warehouse complies with applicable laws and regulations, including zoning; and there is no significant change in the operation, the farm or warehouse has been in operation more than 1 year and was not a nuisance when it began.
- LB243 (Gragert) Creates the Healthy Soils Task Force to develop a comprehensive healthy soils initiative, and an action plan to carry out the initiative using specified standards as measures to assess improved soil health. With the assistance from outside resources, the task force shall examine how to provide farmers with research, education, technical assistance, and demonstration projects; examine options for financial incentives to improve soil health; and examine the contribution of livestock to soil health. The task force is to create a timeline to improve soil health within 5 years after completion of the action plan. The task force shall submit its action plan, as well as their findings and recommendations, by January 1, 2021. There are two slots on the committee for agribusiness members.
- LB284 (McCollister) Internet sales tax collection bill requires remote sellers (those without a physical presence in the state) and/or “marketplace facilitators” to collect and remit sales tax beginning July 1, 2019 if their gross revenue from sales into the state exceed $100,000, and sales into the state exceed 200 or more separate transaction in the same time period.
- LB320 (Albrecht) Brings provisions of the Pesticide Act into alignment with revisions to the Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule, which establishes standards for state programs to certify persons applying restricted use pesticides (RUPs), training/competency to be demonstrated by applicators to obtain certification and licensure, and related record keeping. The revisions increase Federal applicator certification program standards, enhance pesticide safety training and standards for supervision of noncertified applicators, and establish a minimum age requirement for noncertified applicators using RUPs under the direct supervision of a certified applicator. States have until March, 2020 to submit to EPA revised certification plans that comply with the updated rule requirements.