Bills, resolutions introduced
January 27, 2022
Just more than 600 bills and constitutional amendments were introduced during the 10-day bill introductory period for this legislative session. Currently, various committees are in the process of holding public hearings on every bill introduced.
Senators gave second-round approval to LR14 this past week. This resolution would serve as Nebraska’s application for a convention of the states, authorized under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, to limit the power of the federal government, impose fiscal restraints and enact term limits for members of Congress. Prior to receiving second-round approval, an amendment was adopted that would rescind the application in five years. LR14 is now ready for final reading.
Two bills heard before the Revenue Committee this past week were advanced and scheduled for debate by the legislature. In 2020, the legislature passed LB 1107 which created a refundable income tax credit for a portion of property taxes paid to school districts. Funding for this program began at $125 million, with the intent to increase it to $375 million by the fourth year of the program. However, the increased revenue the state has recently experienced has impacted the formula and created higher funding levels than predicted. LB 723 creates a floor for the amount of the refundable income tax credit for property taxes paid to school districts, so that it’s not reduced below the current $548 million in funding for this program.
LB 825, introduced by Senator Brett Lindstrom, would exempt all Social Security income within a four-year period. Last year, Lindstrom introduced LB 64, which phased out 50% of the tax on Social Security income by 2025 and included intent language to increase the percentage of Social Security benefits excluded from the income tax, to 100% by year 2030. LB 825 speeds up this process, exempting 40% this year and increasing the exemption by 20% annually, until all Social Security benefits are exempt from taxation in year 2025.
A public hearing was held before the Judiciary Committee this past week on LB 773. Referred to as the constitutional carry legislation, LB 773 allows anyone who isn’t otherwise prohibited by state law to carry a concealed weapon, without a permit, in Nebraska. Persons wanting to carry a concealed weapon would no longer need to have a background check, complete training or pay the fee for a permit. Senator Tom Brewer, sponsor of LB 773, has already designated it as his priority bill. Representatives of law enforcement testified against the bill at the public hearing, stating it could jeopardize public safety and hinder their ability to seize illegal guns. Brewer vowed to work with them to address their concerns.
LB 809 was heard before the Natural Resources Committee, on which I serve. Introduced by Senator Mike Moser, at the request of the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, the legislation would amend the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Act and the Wastewater Treatment Facilities Construction Assistance Act to better align the funds with the new provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The legislation increases the allowable amount of grant and loan forgiveness assistance up to 75% of eligible project costs for entities serving 10,000 persons or less. This bill will help our smaller communities afford necessary modifications to their drinking water systems.
As the public hearing process continues, I urge you to contact me with your thoughts and opinions on bills that have been introduced. I can be reached at District #40, P.O. Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509. My email address is [email protected] and my telephone number at the State Capitol is 402-471-2801.