Are you kidding me?
It’s going to happen. Speaker Scheer has summoned the whole Capitol Gang to return a week from Monday, in hopes of completing the final seventeen days of this COVID interrupted legislative session by August 13.
The process will not be normal; that’s for sure. Mass quantities of plexiglass, face masks, and limited interaction with colleagues, constituents, and lobbyists should clear the legislative chamber like a school bell clears seventh-period study hall.
Daily sessions start at 9 am, and Tuesdays – Thursdays will very well run until 10 pm. Friday adjournments should be just in time for lunch.
Without going through the whole Priority Bill thing, just know that if a bill doesn’t have one, it’s dead! Also know, that any legislation that increases state spending is likely a goner as well. So, let’s focus on the living, shall we?
The following Priority Bills are selected for your viewing pleasure because each one increases the state budget. Plus, they bring a certain entertainment value to those who are still social distancing, and have an “ARE YOU KIDDING ME” attitude.
Final Reading Bills
- LB770 Free passes to state parks for disabled veterans and changes to nonresident fees. $230,000-$250,000 annually.
Select File Bills
- LB720 New ImagiNE business incentive package. $125 million annually. Some leading senators want this bill tied to a property tax relief bill. Some don’t. Pick a side, or pick a compromise. No matter the outcome, you will be disappointed.
- LB912 Christmas tree of correction bills. $170,000 – $190,000 annually.
- LB1148 New reporting requirements for juvenile abuse, neglect, placement, and treatment. $12 million annually.
- LB1183 Data collection and disbursement by the statewide health information exchange. $2.7 – $3.1 million annually.
General File Bills
- LB242 Sales tax turn back for municipalities and sewer and water utilities. $190,000 – $224,00 annually.
- LB283 Climate change study. $125,000.
- LB923 Exempts from sales tax on electric generation, transmission, distribution, and street lights owned by an electric cooperative or member association. $190,000 – $224,00 annually.
- LB974 Property tax relief bill “número dos” replaces LB1074 that is drowning in so many cockamamie amendments that it now swims with the fishes. The big K-12 schools will hate on this bill because…that’s what they do.
- LB1155 Urban housing grant program. $10,000,000.
LB803 (Hughes) MONITOR – SPEAKER PRIORITY BILL
- Creates a new promotional checkoff program for pulse crops, including dry peas, lentils, chickpeas or garbanzo beans, faba beans, and lupine. The bill also expands a waiver of a distance limitation for overweight/oversize vehicles transporting crops to include pulse crops.
LB1084 (Kolterman / MONITOR)
- The Nebraska Transformational Project Act would provide $300 million in state funding to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for their NExT Project. Before receiving $300 million, UNMC must show the economic impact to Nebraska is at least $2.7 billion during the planning and construction period and at least $4.9 billion over ten years.
- NExT Project has two components: a state of the art academic medical center facility and a federal all-hazard disaster response military and civilian partnership.
LB1159 (Stinner) SUPPORT
- Extends the initial training period for a noncertified pesticide applicator from 60 to 120 days prior to obtaining an initial commercial or noncommercial applicator license. The bill also authorizes unlimited exam attempts for the noncertified applicator during that training period.
Held In Committee
LB919 (Wayne / MONITOR)
- Hemp cultivator, processor-handler, and broker license and renewal applications shall only be denied if they are incomplete or deficient, including for nonpayment of the required application and registration fees, or if the applicant does not meet minimum qualifications.
LB946 (Briese / MONITOR)
- The bill lowers the sales tax rate and eliminates exemptions on services. Service includes all activities that are engaged in for other persons for a consideration and that involve predominantly the performance of a service as distinguished from selling or leasing tangible personal property.
Failed to Advance
LB974 (Linehan) MONITOR – REVENUE COMMITTEE PRIORITY BILL
- A complex property tax reduction and school funding bill. As amended by AM2433, the bill would reduce property taxes as a significant source of funding for K-12 education. Unless expressly exempt:
- Real property would be valued at 95% of actual value for the tax year 2020, 91% in the tax year 2021, and 86% in 2022 and after that.
- Agricultural and horticultural land would be valued at 65% of actual value in the tax year 2020, for purposes of taxes levied by a school district and 75% of actual value for taxes levied by other political subdivisions.
- Agricultural and horticultural land would be valued at 60% of actual value in the tax year 2021, for purposes of taxes levied by a school district and 75% of actual value for taxes levied by other political subdivisions.
- Agricultural and horticultural land would be valued at 55% of actual value in the tax year 2022, and each tax year after that, for purposes of taxes levied by a school district and 75% of actual value for taxes levied by other