According to transcripts from this legislative session, guardrails is the second most disingenuous expressive used in the Nebraska Legislature. Tax relief remains solidly in first place, while for the children has fallen to a distant third.
Take LB241, for example. The bill mandates costly and unnecessary regulations on Nebraska’s meatpacking industry in the name of COVID protection. The bill sponsor claims it provides “basic guardrails” that protect plant workers.
The bill is about a year late with the whole guardrails thing. Comprehensive precautions and mandates are already in place, and workers are tested every day. BTW, very few meatpacking workers test positive for COVID anymore. Methinks these basic guardrails are most effective at steering media attention to a particular candidate for Congress.
May is Beef Month! Governor Ricketts announced a new Nebraska Beef Passport program featuring 40 restaurants that serve meat. Customers order beef from the menu and earn stamps redeemable for prizes. YETI full of beef? Our Beef Passport makes that Colorado “MeatOutDay” completely lame.
Filibusters are routine this time of year, and Speaker Hilgers has managed the process with no visible sign of hair loss. Monday is Day 75 of 90. This week we expect to see Select File debates on taxation and spending bills. A few General File Priority Bills might reach the floor as well.
On Wednesday, Senator Wishart’s medical cannabis bill (LB 474) will come up for General File debate filibuster. Eight hours should provide sufficient time for opposing sides to clear the air.
The Speaker indicates he may end this session sine die before the ninetieth day – June 10. He wants to extend the break for senators before calling them back into a special session to deal with redistricting. The smart money for early adjournment is May 27 – Day 86. If only we had a casino.
- LB432 (Revenue Committee Priority Bill) – MONITOR – Income tax shell bill.
- AM774 Would amend the following bills into the bill:
- LB680 (Linehan) Beginning 2022, the corporate income tax rate for taxable income above $100,000 would reduce from 7.81% to 6.84%. The new rate matches the top individual income tax rate.
- LB564 (McDonnell) Adds apprenticeship programs to the definition of qualified higher education expense in the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust (NEST).
- LB59 (Stinner) SUPPORT – Amends the Nebraska Tourism Commission’s powers to allow the Commission to 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 harmonizes a section of the statute governing the handling of sales revenue received by the Commission and a section of statute describing the Commission’s powers.
- LB258 (Vargas) (M. Hansen Priority) OPPOSE – 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 to create a paid family and medical leave insurance program to provide partial wage replacement for eligible workers to care for themselves or family members.
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.
- LB422 (Briese) MONITOR – Reduces sales tax rate from 5.5% to 5% and eliminates some sales tax exemptions.
Failed to Advance
- LR11CA (Erdman Priority Resolution) MONITOR – A resolution for a constitutional amendment and consumption tax. Changes the way taxes are collected, replaces the income tax, the sales tax, the property tax, and the inheritance tax with a consumption tax, directs the Legislature to enact a consumption tax.