Sales tax turn back bill, LB884, was amended and permits Omaha to receive turn back from privately owned associated hotels, just like Lincoln. The 600 yard limit is measured from any point of the exterior perimeter or that it could be within the program area if there is unbuildable property. The state would receive less sales tax revenue – $1.4 million in 2016-17 and $3.5 in 2017-18.

The Governor’s bill to reduce education property taxes, LB959, was gutted by the Education Committee and advanced to General File. The fiscal note identifies a very modest $3.5 million reduction in state aid.

It’s time to cut loose the dogs. Bills listed below in black have been dealt with, or their path to glory is blocked by genuine apathy.

While the budget is on Select File and Usain Bolting to the finish line, only 15 legislative days remain in this legislative session. Aside from the landslide of bills still in the works, there are a handful of bills that promise to consume large blocks of time and patience.

  • State Medicaid Expansion – After two knockouts, passionately loved and equally hated, medicaid expansion is back for a third try at the gold ring.
  • Right to Farm and Ranch – This constitutional amendment pits agriculture against environmentalists, and for some reason, animal rights activists.
  • Protection for faith-based foster care agencies who won’t work with same-sex couples. Puppy lovers don’t seem to care.
  • Property Tax Relief – Two bills were introduced on behalf of Governor Ricketts. One is gutted and falls far short of anything meaningful. The other is still in committee and will likely meet the same end.
  • Cigarette and Tobacco Taxes – Huge tax increases are proposed, but the bill is still in committee. Taxes on smokers to fund property tax relief and the University Medical Center leave many short of breath.

Speaker Hadley considers debate sufficient to end a filibuster to be: six hours on General File, four hours on Select File and two hours on Final Reading. He does not consider attentiveness to be mandatory.

2016 LEGISLATION
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LB723 – SCHUMACHER
Revenue Committee
Hearing – 1/22/16

As reimbursement for the cost of collecting sales and use tax, collectors shall deduct and withhold 5% of the first $6,000 remitted each month, rather than 2 ½% of the first $3,000 and ½% of all all amounts over $3,000.
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LB753 – CRAWFORD
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Hearing – 2/3/16
General File – 2/4/16
Select File – 2/18/16
Final Reading – 3/1/16
Presented to the Governor – 3/3/16
Approved by the Governor – 3/9/16

Expands definition of absence from employment for military service to include any person employed in Nebraska who is a member of the National Guard of another state and who is called into active service by the Governor of that state.
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LB806 – MELLO
Oppose
Urban Affairs Committee
Hearing – 2/16/16
Amendment AM2137 – 2/19/16
General File with Amendment AM2210 – 2/22/16

A municipality may create a Riverfront Development Authority within one-half mile from the edge of a river to fund, promote, manage and develop their riverfront. The Authority may impose a “general business occupation tax” on businesses and users of space in the district, or the real property in the district may be subject to a special assessment authorized.

An “occupation tax” may be imposed on a classification of businesses, users of space, or kinds of transactions, except no occupation tax shall be imposed on any transaction subject to these taxes: cigarettes (77-2602); tobacco (77-4008); alcohol (53-160); motor fuels (66-4,140); gasoline (66-489,02); Highway Restoration Bond Fund (66-4,144); motor fuels excise tax (66-4,145); prepared food and food ingredients (77-2704,24).  Amendment AM2137

  • amends the definition of river to specifically list each river and add the Big Blue River
  • sets a cap on the bonding authority of the authority
  • the authority must make plans for improvements in conjunction with the city
  • property owned by the authority would be tax-exempt
  • authority may construct and maintain boardwalks, barges, docks and wharves
  • a city may limit the powers of the authority by ordinance
  • prohibits an occupation tax or special assessment on the same property by both a riverfront development district and a business improvement district.    

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LB821 – LARSEN
Business and Labor Committee
Hearing – 2/8/16
Priority Bill – Sen. Larsen
General File with Amendment AM2210 – 2/22/16

Workplace Privacy Act. No employer or prospective employer shall require or request an employee or applicant to: provide password or account information to gain access to social networking site profile or account; log onto a social networking site in the presence of the employer; provide contacts associated with their social networking site.

Employer shall not discriminate or retaliate because an employee or applicant: refuses to provide social networking site information; files a complaint; participates in an investigation concerning violation of the act.

An employee shall not download employer’s proprietary information to a personal web site or social networking site with out permission.
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LB850 – CRAWFORD
Business and Labor Committee
Hearing – 2/1/16

Creates the Paid Family Medical Leave Insurance Act and defines leave requirements. Administered by the Labor Commissioner. Funds are derived from contributions from covered individuals and collected by employers as payroll deductions. The commissioner shall annually evaluate and determine the amount of contributions necessary to finance the family medical leave benefits. Annual contributions from a covered individual shall not exceed one-half of one percent of his or her wages.
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LB884 – SCHEER
Revenue Committee
Hearing – 1/22/16
Priority Bill – Sen. Smith
General File with Amendment AM2522 – 3/15/16

LB884, as amended by AM2522 allows Omaha to receive sales tax turn back from privately owned associated hotels (currently only Lincoln receives that turn back).

The amendment also clarifies that the 600 yard limit is measured from any point of the exterior perimeter or that it could be within the program area if there is unbuildable property.

The Fiscal Note shows a diversion of state revenue due to LB884 of $1.4 million in 2016-17 and $3.5 in 2017-18.     ____________
LB958
– GLOOR – At the request of the Governor
Revenue Committee
Hearing – 2/4/16
Priority Bill – Revenue Committee

The budget of any governmental body cannot carry forward unused restricted funds in excess of 3% of the budgeted restricted funds. If the aggregate taxable value of all agricultural and horticultural land, for the current tax year, exceeds the aggregate taxable value of all agricultural and horticultural land in the state for the prior tax year by 3% or more, the assessed values for agricultural and horticultural land would be reduced uniformly and proportionately until the current year’s aggregate taxable value equals 103% of the prior year’s aggregate taxable value.

Governmental bodies cannot exceed their levy limit without a vote of the people.
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LB959 – SULLIVAN
– At the request of the Governor
Education Committee
Hearing – 2/9/16
Revenue Committee – Education Committee
General File with Amendment AM2622 – 3/17/16

Amendment AM2622 guts the bill and replaces language that changes provisions relating to budgets, levy authority and funding for school districts, educational service units and community colleges. The fiscal note identifies a $3.5 million reduction in state aid.
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LB983 – HARR
Business and Labor Committee
Hearing – 2/8/16
General File – 2/17/16

Homosexuality and bisexuality would not be impairments, and as such, not disabilities under the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act.
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LB1046 – EBKE
General Affairs Committee
Hearing – 2/1/16
Amended into LB1105 – 2/11/16

A person who is a Nebraska resident and legally able to work in Nebraska may obtain a license from the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission.
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LB1105 – LARSEN
General Affairs Committee Hearing – 2/1/16
General File with Amendment AM2029 – 2/11/16
Priority Bill – General Affairs Committee
General File – 3/3/16
Select File – 3/15/16

The bill not only prohibits retail activities, but also manufacturing and wholesale activities in a building or structure that allows access from such premises to any other portion of the same building or structure used for dwelling or lodging purposes by the public.
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2015 BILLS HELD IN COMMITTEE
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LB74 – SCHUMACHER
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LB83 – COOK
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LB228 – WATERMEIER
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LB256 – BLOOMFIELD
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LB309 – DAVIS
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LB357 – SMITH
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LB364 – WATERMEIER
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LB398 – HARR
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LB442 – BOLZ
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LB562 – MORFELD
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B611 – KINTNER
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