Bills, Bills, Bills

Wednesday will mark the 45th legislative day of this COVID molested 90-day session. Public hearings for new legislation concluded Friday, and all-day floor debate begins tomorrow. Senator Priority Bills (1 each) and Committee Priority Bills (2 each) are available here. The Speaker will post his 25 priority bills Thursday on the same link.

There’s no shortage of work awaiting senators, as their bills are scattered throughout different stages of the process:

  • 11 passed Final Reading and await the Gov’s signature…or veto
  • 1 is anxiously poised on Final Reading
  • 10 somehow slipped from General File to Select File
  • 151 escaped from committees and wobble precariously on General File
  • 26 are between stages and under review by bill drafters – Enrollment & Review Engrossment
  • 11 are Indefinitely Postponed – a personal favorite
  • 489 remain in committees where most of them belong

Since Day 1, the storyline of this 107th Legislature, First Session, has been “Lions and Tigers and COVID, Oh My!” Speaker Hilgers has rightly arranged the schedule to dispatch with must-do processes, like public hearings, as soon as possible in the event of an outbreak. The budget is the only required duty of the Legislature, and we could see preliminary numbers yet this month. Have I mentioned that Nebraska is flush with cash?

Keeping retired military veterans in Nebraska has long been an economic goal. Last year, six states taxed ALL military retirement income. Yep, we were one of them until the Legislature cut that tax consequence by fifty percent. In this session, LB387 finishes the job and eliminates income taxes on all retiree military benefits. We will join 35 other states that value veterans and want to keep them as residents. The bill is on Select File.

Here’s a related thought for all you old, or soon to be old, coots. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia do not tax Social Security benefits. Nebraska is not one of them. Hmmm!!

Bill Tracker

General File

  • LB59 (Stinner) SUPPORT – Amends the Nebraska Tourism Commission’s powers to provide that the Commission may engage directly with retailers to sell tourism promotional products. It further provides that retailers who pay in full for merchandise have no further reporting requirements to the Commission. The bill also makes harmonizing changes in a section of the statute governing the handling of sales revenue received by the Commission and in a section of statute describing the Commission’s powers.

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) (Slama Priority) SUPPORT – Adopts the COVID-19 Liability Protection Act.
  • LB258 (Vargas) 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) 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.