Danger!

Wednesday, April 18, marks Day 60, the final day of this “longest” short legislative session since the Nebraska Unicameral first convened in 1937. Virtually every bill of consequence was filibustered, requiring 33 votes to advance. Many could not reach 33.

State General Fund receipts are in the tank, and March General Fund net receipts were down 9.5 percent,

Net receipts for March were $306 million, which is 9.5% below the certified forecast of $337 million. Without new money, legislation that would expand spending for the Save Our _________ (insert name) did not see daylight.

There was no property and/or income tax reform this session, scuttling very serious efforts by the Governor, agriculture and business community. This inaction may very well be the senators’ most consequential decision of the year. Reform for Nebraska’s Future will surely gather the required 85,000 valid signatures of registered voters by July 5 to place a $1.1 billion shift from property taxes to sales and income taxes on the November Primary Election ballot.

Legislation of “universal interest” that passed so this session:

  • Revisions to the budget. Great credit goes to the Appropriations Committee and chairman Stinner for keeping this rust bucket budget afloat.
  • LB 1009 – Increases speed limits on two-lane paved roads from 60 to 65 mph; state expressway system from 65 to 70 mph; and freeways, but not part of the interstate from 65 to 70 mph.
  • LB 1090 – Allows the $134 personal exemption credit repealed by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Establishes the standard deduction as $6,750 for single taxpayers and $9,900 for head of household filers. The standard deductions for married, filing jointly returns is double the standard deduction for single returns.
  • That’s about it.

The agenda for Wednesday is loaded with 25 bills on Final Reading. They will all likely pass.  But, there’s “Danger, Will Robinson” of a pocket veto. The Governor has five days (except Sunday) to sign or veto each bill. So with the Legislature adjourned, the Governor has until the 24th to veto a bill without fear of a legislative override…because they’re GONE!

Primary Election Races

Bills of Interest

LB632 (Larsen) FINAL READING AMENDED INTO LB1120

  • Requires the music licensing agency to register and file annually with the Secretary of State an electronic copy of each performing-rights agreement providing for the payment of royalties made available from the music licensing agency to any proprietor within Nebraska.
  • Requires the music licensing agency to provide a list of members and affiliates it represents and a catalog of its music licenses.
  • Seventy-two hours prior to a contract’s execution, the proprietor or his/her employees receive in writing a schedule of the rates and terms of royalties under the contract and notice that the proprietor is entitled to the information filed with the Secretary of State.
  • A contract for the payment of royalties executed in Nebraska shall (a) be in writing; (b) be signed by the parties; and (c) include at least the following information: (i) the proprietor’s name and business address; (ii) the name and location of each place of business to which the contract applies; (iii) the duration of the contract; and (iv) the schedule of rates and terms of the royalties to be collected under the contract, including any sliding scale or schedule for any increase or decrease of those rates for the duration of the contract.
  • When making contact with a proprietor, the music licensing agency agent or representative must identify himself or herself and disclose whom he/she is representing and why they are on the premises.
  • The agent or representative shall not (a) use obscene, abusive, or profane language; (b) communicate at the proprietor’s place of business during business hours unless otherwise authorized by proprietor; (c) substantially disrupt proprietor’s business; (d) use or attempt to use unfair or deceptive acts or practices in negotiating with proprietor; (e) communicate with proprietor once the agency has received written notice that all further contact will be through the proprietor’s attorney unless the attorney fails to respond within 60 days.
  • The Secretary of State is responsible for notifying proprietors of their rights and responsibilities.
  • Music licensing agencies may still conduct investigations to determine music use by the proprietor or informing the proprietor of his/her obligations under US copyright law.
  • Identifies these sections as the “Music Licensing Agency Act” and includes bill drafter clean up language.
  • Identifies these sections as the “Music Licensing Agency Act” and states that multiple violations on a single day may be considered separate violations.

LB873 (Urban Affairs Committee) FINAL READING.
Omnibus committee bill (8 bills combined including short-term rental bill, LB756). As amended, LB873 would allow a municipality to adopt or enforce an ordinance or other regulation that imposes a sales tax or an occupation tax on short-term rentals. Also, an online hosting platform may enter into an agreement with the Tax Commissioner to permit the online hosting platform to collect and remit applicable sales taxes on behalf of the seller or hotel operator otherwise required to collect such taxes for transactions consummated between the seller or hotel operator and the purchaser or occupant through the online hosting platform.

LB1067 (Quick) In Committee – DEAD. Something similar will come back next year.
Expands Nebraska’s Business Improvement District Act to enable municipalities to promote tourism and construct or renovate tourist attractions using a special tourism surcharge on tourism-related products or services. The legislation requires notice to businesses that would be affected by such surcharge. If more than 50% of such businesses protest the proposed surcharge, it would not be adopted. The bill would not permit use of funds generated by the surcharge to be used for other purposes such as a municipality’s general fund operations.

LB1084 (Briese) In Committee and Prioritized – DEAD.
Among other provisions, the bill eliminates sales tax exemption for many items including: cleaning of clothing, landscape services, pet services, taxi, limousine, parking lot services.  It appears that LB1084 does not have five votes to advance from committee.

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