The Rural vs. Urban split in the Legislature is a scab best left unpicked. That wound was opened long before Nebraska statehood, and is far more divisive than party affiliation or political ideology. It’s personal. It’s bloody. And, it’s a lousy way to legislate.
Last week, that scab was picked clean during filibusters on eliminating metro Omaha’s common levy for the Learning Community (LB1067); funding for public education (LB959); property tax reduction for farmstead homes (LB1037) and property tax reduction for agricultural and horticultural lands (LB958).
LB1067 moved to Select File. So did LB958 and LB959, although both were severely wounded. The property tax relief in LB958 was cut from $30 million to $20 million. Funding for schools was also cut in the amended version of LB959. LB1037 was withdrawn before the scythe of bad ideas cut off its head.
Unfortunately, the longer the R vs. U sore was exposed, the more bills succumbed to geographical bias, instead of rational debate. For instance, LB1033 that would hold those accountable who engage in Medicaid fraud succumbed to death by filibuster from rural senators. Other filibusters consumed precious time as well, however, dozens of fairly innocuous bills advanced while R’s and U’s rested in their corners.
- LB83 – approved by the Governor.
- LB821 – amended and advanced to Select File.
- LB884 – advanced to Select File.
- LB958 – amended and advanced to Select File.
- LB959 – amended and advanced to Select File.
- LB1105 – advanced to Final Reading.