Speaker, Jim Scheer, believes COVID-19 cases in Lincoln and Nebraska have peaked. He intends to resume the 2020 legislative session on July 20 and adjourn Sine Die, August 13.
Many state senators fall into the susceptible old coot category, and they certainly don’t need another reason to worry about dying from the COVID. That is why Speaker Scheer, the Clerk, and the Executive Board Chairman will implement these precautions based on recommendations by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Public Health Department:
- COVID-19 tests offered to senators
- Temperature checks before entering the Norris Chamber.
- Glass doors locked between the Rotunda and the Norris Chamber.
- No media in the Norris Chamber.
- No notes from lobbyists.
- Further distancing for senators in the Norris Chamber.
- Plexiglass shields on senator desks
- Senators encouraged to wear masks.
- Clean the Chamber each night.
- Precautions for lobbyists are yet to be discussed. Ahem.
Several senators wish to change the Rules of the Legislature so they might participate and vote from home via video conference. If the rule change is approved, vote by Barcalounger may become the new normal.
The Speaker intends to focus the remainder of the session on the budget and priority bills. You may recall that March, April, and May tax revenues were in the tank, while year to date tax receipts are right on projections. That picture may become more clear by July 20 when income taxes deferred from April 15 to July 15 will come due.
Property tax relief, business incentives, and expanding the University of Nebraska Medical Center remain top priorities. Scaled-down versions of property tax relief and business incentives bills are possible. A $300 million appropriation to UNMC’s expansion will be paid over time.
Senator priority bills that negatively impact the budget stand to face a good old fashioned Weezer! What’s a Weezer? Remember the band? How about their 2001 song Knock-down Drag-out? Can you recall 2001? Welcome to the world of old coots.
LB187 SUPPORT (Hilkeman)
- Adds two new definitions to an eligible sports arena facility to the Sports Arena Facility Financing Assistance Act.
- Any sports complex which includes concession areas, parking facilities and onsite administrative offices connected with operating the sports complex.
- A multipurpose field meaning a rectangular field of grass or synthetic turf which is primarily used for competitive field sports, that may include soccer, football, flag football, lacrosse or rugby.
- The bill repeals the occupancy requirement to receive a turn back of sales tax and replaces occupancy with project completion date.
LB1084 (Kolterman) MONITOR
- The Nebraska Transformational Project Act would provide $300 million in state funding to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for their NExT Project.
- NExT Project has two components: a state of the art academic medical center facility and a federal all-hazard disaster response military and civilian partnership.
- UNMC must show an economic impact to Nebraska of at least $2.7 billion during the planning and construction period and at least $4.9 billion over ten years.
FAILED TO ADVANCE
LB974 MONITOR (Linehan) REVENUE COMMITTEE PRIORITY BILL
- This is a complex property tax and school funding bill. As amended by AM2433, the bill would reduce property taxes as a major source of funding for K-12 education.
- Real property would be valued at 95% of actual value for tax year 2020.
- In tax year 2021, real property would be valued at 91%of actual value.
- In tax year 2022, and thereafter, real property would be valued at 86% of actual value.