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Hilgers gives nod to two Briese bills

 

March 25, 2021



The work of the legislature is now about getting bills to the floor for debate by the entire body. And that generally means a priority designation. Priority bills, one per senator, two per committee and twenty-five for the speaker, have now been designated. Senator Geist prioritized my LB 408, which provides for a 3 percent limit on annual increases in property tax askings. It may be debated on the floor of the legislature next week.

Senator Slama prioritized my LB 139, which provides a measure of protection for our businesses, schools, health care providers, and others, from needless COVID related lawsuits. It hasn’t been advanced to the floor by the Judiciary Committee, as it has met with significant pushback from the trial attorneys. However, as negotiations continue on this issue, the priority designation gives us considerably more leverage in the discussions.

As I mentioned, Speaker Hilgers is allowed to prioritize 25 bills. Of these 25, he chose two of mine, LB 283 and LB 366. LB 283 would provide for year-round daylight savings time and eliminate the need to change our clocks twice a year. Similar legislation has been introduced and adopted in several states, and in Congress by Senator Marco Rubio and a bipartisan group of seven other US senators. LB 283 also has a broad coalition of Nebraska state senators as co-sponsors.

LB 366 would expand and extend the Microenterprise Tax Credit program. This program has been used by many small businesses to grow and create jobs in our state.

My personal priority is my LB 2, which we amended in the Revenue Committee to also include an amended version of my LB 79. The amended version would generate additional property tax relief by ramping up the property tax credit fund by 3% annually. It also would value agricultural land at 50% for repayment of school bonds approved after the date of the act. This ag lang valuation provision would not impact general fund receipts, and is simply a way to create a little more parity among patrons when voting on school bond issues.

My LB 531 provides for tax credits for contributions to qualified early childhood programs. It has a path to the floor through a proposed amendment to Senator Linehan’s LB 364, which she has prioritized.

My LB 3 has been amended into the Education Committee priority bill, LB 528. LB 3 requires a school district, on its notice of budget hearing, to include a statement informing patrons of the Nebraska Department of Educaiton website where they can find information on per pupil costs and test scores, among other items, and how the district compares to other districts in the state. It should be discussed on the floor this week.

 

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