The End is Near
Speaker Hilgers announced that Thursday, May 27, the 107th Legislature, First Session, will adjourn sine die. Brings a tear to one’s eye. It certainly does for those 49 COVID-aweary state senators.
Procedurally, all General File bills, or those dogs still in committee, stand no chance of becoming law this year. Instead, they carry over to the Second Session, which opens on January 5, 2022. Select File bills must move to Final Reading by the end of day Tuesday, or they too will hang around until next January.
Governor Ricketts plays a significant role as the Session comes to a close. When a bill advances from Final Reading to his desk, he has five days (excluding Sunday) to sign or veto. That means any legislation moved to the Governor after this Friday risks a pocket veto because the Legislature will adjourn before five days expire, with no opportunity to override a veto.
Senator Anna Wishart’s medical cannabis legalization bill LB474 got smoked again. Look for it on the November 2022 statewide ballot.
Senator Lindstrom’s LB64 would phase out state tax on Social Security benefits over ten years. The bill advanced to Final Reading. Upon full implementation in 2030, many current beneficiaries will be dead.
Senator Bostar’s LB630 advanced to Final Reading. The bill creates a pilot program to study academic performance and behavior by adding commercial air filters to 300 school classrooms. Wouldn’t removing face masks increase performance and behavior?
The Redistricting Committee is meeting in anticipation that Census Bureau information will be available in July. The Legislature’s Executive Board appointed members to the committee that consists of five Republicans and four Democrats. Geographically, three members are from metro Omaha, three from Lincoln, and three from greater Nebraska.
- Lou Ann Linehan – R – Elkhorn, Chairperson
- Carol Blood – D – Bellevue
- Tom Briese – R – Albion
- Tom Brewer – R – Gordon
- Suzanne Geist – R – Lincoln
- Steve Lathrop – D – Millard
- John Lowe – R – Kearney
- Adam Morfeld – D, Lincoln
- Justin Wayne – D – Lincoln
In September, the Legislature will come back for a Special Session, strictly limited to redistricting. Be prepared for high drama, discord, and pure partisan politics. For entertainment value alone, redistricting is Top 10 must-watch TV.
Approved by the Governor
- LB177 (Lindstrom) SUPPORT – Increases the time for the perfection of Fertilizer and Agricultural Chemical Liens, and increases the time for the perfection of Seed Lien or Electrical Power/Energy Liens from the current sixty (60) days to one hundred twenty (120) days after the last delivery of goods or services covered by these respective liens.
- LB507 (Bostelman) (Natural Resources Priority) SUPPORT
- AM256 (Hughes) Adds antelope and elk to depredation season. Also redefines elector for any irrigation district which borders another state, comprises less than 2,000 acres and one-half or more landowners, etc., are not Nebraska residents.
- AM365 (Hughes) One-time fund transfer from the Water Sustainability Fund to the Department of Natural Resources.
- AM567 (J. Cavanaugh) The use of seed that is treated, as defined in section 81-2,147.01, in the production of agricultural ethyl alcohol shall be prohibited if such use results in the generation of a byproduct that is deemed unsafe for livestock consumption or land application.
- AM859 (Hughes) The bill, as amended, becomes law upon the Governor’s signature.
- LB84 (Bostelman) (Speaker Priority) MONITOR – Changes provisions relating to tax incentive performance audits and redefines a term under the ImagiNE Nebraska Act.
- LB90 (Halloran) MONITOR – Amends the Nebraska Pesticide Act by reallocating the pesticide registration fee distribution. It further amends the Nebraska Commercial Fertilizer and Soil Conditioner Act by allowing the Director to adjust the inspection fee each July 1.
- LB432 (Revenue Committee Priority) – MONITOR
- AM774 The following bills on our tracking sheet are amended into LB432:
- LB564 (McDonnell) Adds apprenticeship programs to the definition of qualified higher education expense in the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust (NEST)
- LB597 (Albrecht) Provides a $2,000 income tax credit to a parent of a stillborn child.
- LB680 (Linehan) Cuts the corporate tax rate beginning 2022 from 7.5% to 5.58% on the first $100K of taxable income and remains 7.75% over $100K. In 2023 the first $100K tax rate will be 5.58% and 7.25% over $100K. Intent language would then cut the taxable rate over $100K to 7% in 2024 and 6.84% in 2025.
- LB644 (B. Hansen Priority) MONITOR – Property Tax Request Act to increase transparency for impacted political subdivisions that raise their property tax levies.
- AM755 (Halloran) Better defines political subdivision, public meeting criteria, property tax requests, and public notification.
- AM854 (Halloran) When property tax valuation, as determined by a county assessor, is deemed excessive, the overpayment amount shall be returned to the taxpayer. The unpaid balance shall accrue nine percent interest. Political subdivisions can no longer claim hardship to delay repayment of funds.
- AM1173 (B. Hansen) Provides notice to local taxpayers when property taxes increase.
- LB139 (Briese) (Slama Priority) MONITOR – Provides general safe harbor and premises liability protections on potential COVID-19 lawsuits.
- LB91 (Brandt) MONITOR – Expands the date after germination or viability testing that native flower and grass seeds may continue to be sold or offered for sale without retesting and allowing seed viability testing instead of germination rate testing for certain seeds.
- AM96 Defines native and nonnative plant species, seed germination, storage, testing, viability, and sales.
- LB290 (M. Cavanaugh) OPPOSE – Adopts the Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Act.
Held In Committee
- LB52 (Lathrop) MONITOR – Immunity for injury or death resulting from COVID-19 exposure.
- LB79 (Briese) MONITOR – Changes the minimum amount of relief provided under the Property Tax Credit Act.
- LB133 (Erdman) MONITOR – Adopts a consumption tax and eliminates other taxes.
- LB329 (Wayne) MONITOR – The minimum average wholesale gasoline price would be $2.44.
- AM411 The amendment provides employers with tax incentives for hiring felons, including those on parole or probation.
- LB422 (Briese) MONITOR – Reduce state sales tax from 5.5 cents to 5 cents and eliminate some sales tax exemptions.
- LB483 (J Cavanaugh) MONITOR – Creates a $250,000 climate change study and plan.
- LB543 (Brandt) SUPPORT – Agricultural Equipment Right-To-Repair-Act.
- AM284 – Compreshesive rewrite including definitions of documentation, fair and reasonable terms, software, etc.
- LB622 (Friesen) MONITOR – Limits real property valuations’ growth and provides adjustments to assessed values.
- LB634 (J. Cavanaugh) OPPOSE – Provides a cause of action for unsafe disposal of treated seed. The bill is no longer in play due to the passage of Sen. Cavanaugh’s AM567 to LB507.
- LB672 (Murman) SUPPORT – Changes the sales and use tax exemption on agricultural machinery and equipment.
- LR5 (Gragert) MONITOR – Recommendations from the Healthy Soils Task Force delivered to the Legislature.
Failed to Advance
- LR11CA (Erdman Priority Resolution) MONITOR – Resolution for a constitutional amendment for a consumption tax. LR11CA changes the way taxes are collected and replaces the income tax, the sales tax, the property tax, and the inheritance tax with a consumption tax and directs the Legislature to enact a consumption tax.
- LB239 (Hilkemann) MONITOR – Restricts phone use to hands-free only while driving.
- LB625 (Vargas) MONITOR – Imposes a surtax on certain taxable income and uses the tax proceeds for early childhood education.