Forecast This

Monday, the Legislature will stand in recess. It’s a four-day workweek! Come to think of it; every week is now a four-day workweek. If you believe that state senators have a cozy gig, you’re sadly mistaken.

During the legislative session, these people are running flat-out between three full-time jobs. Their elected position, their families, and real jobs that supplement the $1,000 a month salary we pay them. Cozy gig indeed.

To that point, Sen. Wayne (Omaha) introduced constitutional amendment LR 18CA. Yet another, in a long line of attempts to increase from two to three, the number of consecutive four-year terms state senators can serve. Twelve years in a row gives me a headache.

To THAT point, Sen. Wayne also introduced constitutional amendment LR 2CA to legalize the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, consumption, and sale of cannabis in any form. Coincidence?

The public hearings for 684 bills, twelve constitutional amendments, and a bushel basketful of state board appointments will end on March 12. All-day floor debate begins March 15.

The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board meets twice a year to predicted future state revenue receipts. Last October, they determined that revenues would be $285 million higher in this fiscal year (7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021). FY 2021/2022 would see a revenue increase of $118 million. Finally, they Carnaced (Johnny Carson?) an additional $307 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022.

NEFAB convenes this week to review the accuracy of their forecast and predict future state revenues. That process really isn’t very complicated. Board members gather on the 14th floor of the State Capitol, hang a windsock on a pole, and wait for the wind to pick up.

Bill Tracker

General File

  • LB59 (Stinner) SUPPORT – Changes provisions regarding sales of tourism promotional products by the Nebraska Tourism Commission and distribution of revenue.

Held In Committee

  • LB52 (Lathrop) MONITOR – Provides immunity from injury or death resulting from COVID-19 exposure.
  • LB79 (Briese) MONITOR – Change the minimum amount of relief provided under the Property Tax Credit Act.
  • LB122 (Hunt) OPPOSE – Eliminates the tipped minimum wage of $2.13 plus tips. Tipped workers would be paid the state minimum wage of 9.00 an hour.
  • LB133 (Erdman) MONITOR – Adopts a consumption tax.
  • LB139 (Briese) SUPPORT – Adopts the COVID-19 Liability Protection Act.
  • LB258 (Vargas) Hearing 2/8 (Monitor) Requires employers with four or more employees to provide access to paid sick and safe leave.
  • LB290 (M.Cavanaugh) OPPOSE – Adopts the Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance Act.
  • LB422 (Briese) Hearing 2/3 (Monitor) Reduces sales tax rate from 5.5% to 5% and eliminates some sales tax exemptions.
  • LR11CA (Erdman) MONITOR – Constitutional amendment requires a consumption tax and prohibits certain other forms of taxation.