Eight days remain in this 107th Legislature. Tuesday through Friday this week, Monday through Wednesday next week, and Wednesday, April 20. The Speaker set that final day for potential gubernatorial veto overrides and the perfunctory sappy speeches by thirteen outgoing state senators.
Unfinished business on Tuesday includes LB 873 – more tax relief on corporate, individual, and Social Security income and property tax relief. Criminal justice reform will take one last swing at advancing, and the debate to replace all taxes with a consumption tax should consume a full eight hours.
North and South Omaha hit the jackpot in Nebraska’s $1.04 billion American Recovery Plan Act Pik Six. Over two years, they will receive $310 million for affordable housing, infrastructure improvements, crime prevention, and miscellaneous efforts. Brilliantly done, Senators Wayne, McKinney, and Vargas.
Nebraska is short one congressman due to Jeff Fortenberry’s inglorious resignation last week. The federal investigation, trial, and subsequent conviction for concealing illegal campaign contributions and lying to federal agents was high drama and difficult for Nebraskans to watch.
The State must now hold a Special Election to fill the vacant District 1 seat through 2022. Governor Ricketts selected Tuesday, June 28. Coincidentally, Fortenberry’s sentencing in California that same day.
Republican Mike Flood and Democrat Patty Pansing-Brooks will face off three times for the District 1 Congressional seat. May 10 is Nebraska’s Primary Election for all filed candidates. Weirdly, Fortenberry’s name appears on this ballot because they were printed before his ouster. June 28 is the Special Election between Flood and Pansing-Brooks. Then, mercifully, the November 8 General Election will settle the matter. Both candidates are state senators and strong campaigners. This is historic. Expensive but historic!
- LB805 (Hughes) (Agriculture Committee Priority) Changes provisions relating to the Noxious Weed Control Act and management of black-tailed prairie dogs.
- LB925 (Gragert Priority) Resilient Soils and Water Quality Act to accelerate the use of best management practices for healthy soil. Appropriates $250,000 per year for five years.
- 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. Defines native and nonnative plant species, seed germination, storage, testing, viability, and sales.
LB939 ( Linehan) Amended into LB825 (Revenue Committee Priority) – Income tax cuts: Corporate income tax: 5.58% under $100,000. Above $100,000: 7.5% in 2022, 7.0% in 2023, 6.5% in 2024, 6.14% in 2025, 5.84% in 2026. Personal income tax: Above the top rate of $58,000 (married filing jointly): 6.84% in 2022, 6.34 in 2023, 6.14 in 2024, and 5.84% in 2025.
- LB1014 (Speaker Hilgers at the Request of the Governor) Appropriations Committee Priority. The Governor’s recommendation to appropriate federal funds in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”). The State and Local Fiscal Recovery Program (“SLFRP”) allocated funding to both state and local governmental entities. The State of Nebraska, 93 counties, four metro cities, and 525 localities identified as “non-entitlement units of government” were eligible for a total award of $1.7 billion. The State of Nebraska has received $520 million. An additional $520 million is expected by May 2022.
- Support Public Health Response for COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
- Negative Economic Impacts to workers, families, small businesses and non-profits, etc.
- Replace Revenue Loss for government services in general fund revenue reductions.
- Premium Pay for Essential Workers – Support for workers who bear the most significant health risks.
- Water, Sewer, and Broadband Infrastructure for clean drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure; provide new and expanded broadband access.
- LB1023 (Hilgers) McDonnell Priority STARWARS Lower Platte River Lake Development: construction of a combined reservoir within the floodplain that will create a 4,000-acre lake to provide new development, recreation, and flood control, and water quality. Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area: marina projects to expand water access and recreational opportunities. Lake McConaughy: marina projects to expand water access and recreation. Niobrara State Park: A new event center and lodge.
- LB290 (M. Cavanaugh) Oppose – Adopts the Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Act.
- LB543 (Brandt Priority) Support – Agricultural Equipment Right-To-Repair-Act. See AM1800.
- LB730 (Lindstrom) Revenue Committee Priority See AM2087 An employer who employs a qualified apprentice or trainee for at least seven months of a taxable year is allowed a $1,000 nonrefundable credit against the income tax paid.
- LB806 (Bostelman) Provisions relating to land drainage by a landowner. See AM1979 “landowner shall not drain such landowner’s land using any pump or powered system if such drainage system would cause injury or harm to any other person.”
- LB986 (Briese Priority) Failed to Advance Limits the property tax request for a school district by its property tax request authority. The limit does not apply to the tax request required to retire bonded indebtedness.
- LR264CA (Erdman Priority) Constitutional amendment prohibits the imposition of taxes other than retail consumption taxes and excise taxes.
Held In Committee
- LB52 (Lathrop) Monitor – Immunity for injury or death from COVID-19 exposure.
- LB79 (Briese) Monitor – Changes the minimum amount of relief provided in the Property Tax Credit Act.
- LB329 (Wayne) Monitor – The minimum average wholesale gasoline price would be $2.44.
- AM411 Employer tax incentives for hiring felons, including those on parole or probation.
- LB422 (Briese) Monitor – Reduces state sales tax from 5.5 cents to 5 cents and eliminates several sales tax exemptions.
- LB483 (J Cavanaugh) Monitor – Creates a $250,000 climate change study and plan.
- LB622 (Friesen) Monitor – Limits growth in property valuations and provides adjustments to assessed values.
- LB694 (Blood) Provides a statute of limitations for exposure to hazardous or toxic chemicals, prescription drugs, or medical devices.
LB761 (Dorn) The Precision Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Act provides $10 million for agricultural producers to lead the nation in precision ag connectivity, sustainability, traceability, and autonomy. In addition, to provide high-speed internet service to high-cost and remote areas.
- LB941 (Slama) Sales and use tax exemption for net wrap.
- LB987 (Briese) Prohibits school districts from raising property taxes beyond 3% growth.
- LB1030 (Friesen) Exempts all tangible personal property from property tax.
- LB1074 (Bostelman) $50 million in grants to irrigation districts for repair or construction of any headgate, flume, diversion structure, check valve, or any other physical structure used for irrigation.