Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Senators will return for two days (Thursday and Friday) to wrap-up this long legislative session. They will dispense with a few gubernatorial line-item vetos; vote on a handful of laggard bills on Final Reading, and suffer an hour of pomp and circumstance before returning to their respective districts for the year.
These kids are tired. They have become irritable, manipulative, selfish and hardheaded. It would help if Speaker Scheer sent them to their respective corners between bills, but the Rotunda doesn’t have corners.
Two long-anticipated big cheese issues were debated, and rudely received last week. Property tax relief (LB183) is important to farmers and homeowners, and economic development incentives (LB720), also important, but for economic development.
Without descending into the blow-by-blow details, Chambers of Commerce and most urban senators proclaimed that only LB720 should pass. Most rural senators and agriculture groups assumed the same on LB183. Net result? Both bills failed to overcome filibusters. While both will carryover to next year, they stand precariously between Scylla and Charybdis.
Both sides should be now keenly aware that significant property tax relief and competitive business incentives are strategically tied together. People, people, work with me here. Is that too much to ask?
Below are a few bills sent to the Governor’s desk last Friday. He has five days (excluding Sundays, but not holidays) to approve or veto each one. Why, you might ask, doesn’t Sunday count as one of the five days? According to state lore, farmers work every day except Sunday, and so should the Governor.
- LB293 / LB294 / LB295 / LB296 / LB297 / LB298 / LB299 – Budget bills
- LB300 – Raise Supreme Court Justices salary to $179,825.37 (7-1-19) and $183,421.88 (7-1-20).
- LB610 / LB544 / LB547 – College savings plans for the little darlings.
- LB657 – Legalize the cultivation and sale of hemp with no more than 0.3% THC.
- LB194 – Raise the legal age from 18 to 19 for purchasing and possessing vapor products, flavored liquids containing nicotine and tobacco products.
APPROVED BY THE GOVERNOR
- LB57 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 will enter into agreements with online hosting platforms and 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.
- LB203 Amends the Music Licensing Act to add the owner of a multi-family dwelling to the definition of “proprietor.” Apartment common areas (lobby, clubhouse, fitness center) are included in the Act.