60 and DONE 

Last Wednesday was the final legislative day of the 105th Legislature, 2nd Session. After dispatching with 25 Final Reading bills, a pat on the rump from Governor Rickets, and eight sayonara speeches (several way too boring) by outgoing senators (6 term-limited and 2 not running for reelection), the kids adjourned sine die. Ohhhh, they’ll be back. January 2, 2019.

Elections and more than 160 proposed interim studies should fill staff time between sessions. But first, let’s be clear about interim studies. Only a few of them will actually be reviewed by a committee; let alone have a real interim committee hearing. But be very cautious. An interim study frequently indicates a topic or issue that a senator may embrace next session.

Lest we forget, all constitutional office holders will stand for election this cycle, as are 24 seats in the Legislature. However, the headliners in the November election may very well be a pair of ballot initiatives that seek to change Nebraska statutes.

Reform for Nebraska’s Future wants to establish the Property Tax Relief Act: “…there shall be allowed to each taxpayer a refundable credit against the income tax imposed by the Nebraska Revenue Act of 1967 in the amount of 50% of the school district taxes that were levied on the taxpayer’s property; and paid by the taxpayer.” an income tax credit of up to 50% of property taxes paid to school districts.”

Insure The Good Life wants to expand Medicaid. Their petition: “…proposes that Nebraska amend its Medicaid state plan to expand eligibility to cover certain adults ages 19-65 whose incomes are 138% of the federal poverty level, or below, as defined and authorized by federal law, and to maximize federal financial participation to fund their care.”

For you number crunchers, a link below is a two page General Fund Financial Status. Times have been tough for a lot of years, and the fiscal outlook doesn’t smell like roses. Give credit to the Governor and the Legislature for holding spending growth to a minimum while still maintaining an appropriate cash reserve…in the odd chance the glaciers return. Go Big Red!

General Fund Financial Status
Interim Studies
Primary Election Races

Bills of Interest

LB632 (Larsen) 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) PRESENTED TO THE GOVERNOR
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.