Semikaput

Last week, the Legislature strolled past midpoint of their 90-day session. With 44 legislative days remaining (until June 6), and a smattering of hearings this week, we approach the time when hundreds and hundreds of completely unpassable concoctions are removed from the conversation. Go ahead, wipe your collective memories of those 750+ mind-numbing public hearings.

By May 2, the Appropriations Committee must deliver their recommendation for the biennial (7/1/19 – 6/30/21) budget. As previously discussed, and largely due to a flump in the agriculture economy, state revenues continue to sag below predictions. Piling on, the State rainy day fund has dropped from $746 million (2015) to somewhere near $330 million (Nov 2018). Voters approved expanding Medicaid, and prison overcrowding will not go away.

Then, like a wedgie from Nelson Muntz, came the blizzards, rains and widespread flooding. Governor Ricketts called it the “most widespread disaster we have had in our state’s history.” There was that Dust Bowl / drought / grasshopper thing in the Dirty Thirties, but let’s choose to agree. Top to bottom, the Governor’s administration is performing at an exhaustively high level in response to this disaster. Infrastructure damages have generally been assessed, but the cost to the State is an unresolved matzah ball on the Appropriations Committee plate.

We will dive into State spending next week. It roughly breaks-down into three major categories: Agency Operations (35.2%), Aid to Local Government (32.4%) and Aid to Individuals (31.5%). No, it’s not 100%. If you simply cannot wait for more information, this Appropriations Committee Preliminary Report should keep you busy until then.

Check the “Bills Prioritized” link below. These are practically all the bills in play.

Watchlist

LB57 APPROVED BY THE GOVERNOR

Prohibits municipalities from adopting or enforcing ordinances/regulations that expressly or effectively prohibit the short-term rental of residential properties and restrict the ability of municipalities to regulate residential properties used as short-term rentals.

The Tax Commissioner “could” enter into an agreement with an online hosting platform for short-term rentals to permit the online housing platform to collect and remit applicable sales taxes on behalf of sellers or hotel operators otherwise required to collect such taxes for transactions consummated through the online hosting platform. The Tax Commissioner will enter into agreements with online hosting platforms.

LB203 APPROVED BY THE GOVERNOR

Amends the Music Licensing Act to add the owner of a multi-family dwelling to the definition of ‚Äúproprietor.” Apartment common areas (lobby, clubhouse, fitness center) are included in the Act.

Links