It’s priority bill week!!

Time for senators to wade through their 479 masterpieces of legislation and flush all bills that do not meet the minimum standard of common sense.

Tuesday is Day 30 in this sixty-day legislative session. Tuesday is also the deadline for senators and committees to designate their priority bills. Each senator gets one, and each committee gets two. Mr. Speaker controls 25 that he will dole out to other senator bills on Wednesday. Obviously, every senator lobbies the Speaker for one of his priorities. They even grovel. It’s embarrassing. Scoring a Speaker priority is like Eddie the Eagle must have felt in the 1988 Olympics, after landing his 90 meter ski jump, without breaking his neck.

Committee hearings end February 27. Full day floor debate begins February 28. And, the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board meets February 28. Their job is to forecast the future tax revenues of the state of Nebraska. Seems like forever since revenues increased.

The State budget is in the tank to the tune of about $175 million. In response, the Governor proposed a 2% across the board cut for most state agencies. The Appropriations Committee was then tasked to dive into the weeds, hold public hearings, and allow each agency to plead their case for more money, and/or fewer cuts.

The University took their turn in the barrel last Thursday. Their 2017/18 budget is $2,611,936,000. Thirty two testifiers opposed a $33.5 million (1.3% cut)…for 4 1/2 hours. Yes, there was groveling. The Appropriations Committee will deliver a well-reasoned version of the budget to the entire body after the Forecasting Board does their impersonation of Carnac the Magnificent.


What’s up?

LB756 / General File / Senator Morfeld  The Senator did not identify this short-term rental bill as his priority.  It prohibits municipalities from adopting or enforcing ordinances or other regulations that expressly or effectively prohibit the short-term rental of residential properties.  The bill also restricts the ability of municipalities to regulate residential properties used as short-term rentals.

LB1067 / Held in Urban Affairs Committee / Senator Quick  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.