February 25, 2011
Tax policy was a large focus of legislative debate during the past week. We debated LB 165, introduced by Senator Fischer, a bill that phases out cities’ ability to collect an occupation tax on telecommunication services. Currently, 29 Nebraska communities utilize this occupation tax. My support of LB 165 is because for many, it is perceived the telecommunications occupation tax as a tax on a tax. However, opposition to the bill sees the legislation as crippling to a city’s ability to raise revenue. There are several amendments up for consideration on the bill, including an amendment offered by the Revenue Committee. We will continue to debate this important issue of taxation and LB 165.
Senators have begun to declare their priority bills, and we advanced one such bill on General File, LB 284, introduced and prioritized by Senator Krist. LB 284 prohibits protestors at a funeral or memorial service within 500 feet, an increase from 300 feet currently in law. I support this bill and believe families deserve respect to mourn their loved one.
It was a busy week for the Government, Military, & Veterans Affairs Committee. LB 21, introduced by Senator McCoy, and LB 583, introduced by Senator Haar, both attempt to change Nebraska’s Electoral College votes. LB 21 seeks to award electoral votes on a statewide, winner-take-all basis. On this same day, LB 583 was heard by the committee to create the Interstate Compact on the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote. The compact is basically designed to guarantee that the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes in all states receives enough electoral votes to win the presidential election.
Other voting-related proposals heard by the Government Committee were LB 239, introduced by Senator Janssen, to require photo identification in order to vote and LB 605, introduced by Senator Conrad, legislation allowing for election day voter registration.
Our committee wrapped up the week with hearings on bills proposing changes to county government operations. LR 2CA, introduced by Senator Harms, is a constitutional amendment providing for county managers. Another bill, LB 597, introduced by Senator Pahls, would require consolidation of county offices. Very soon we will meet to consider action on these and other bills that remain in the Government, Military, & Veterans Affairs Committee.
Once again, I was fortunate to be visited by a number of district 16 residents. Constituents came to the Capitol with groups such as the Professional Insurance Agents, Nebraska Cattlemen youth, and Nebraska Christian Home Education Association. I also met with our Oakland librarian during the Nebraska Library Association’s day at the Capitol. Thanks to all of you who came to our State Capitol last week!
Friday, I had the honor to participate in the 2011 Nebraska Leadership Prayer Breakfast, an event recognized nationally and taking place concurrently in other states. It was an uplifting reminder of leadership and the call to serve in District 16.
Saturday afternoon I met with the Wisner-Pilger School Board during their Annual Meeting held in Lincoln. Excellent discussion was shared regarding pending legislation and challenges. Saturday night was great fun at the American Legion Post # 70 Baseball Supper Benefit! Sunday’s Pancake Brunch by the Bancroft St. Paul Men’s Club provided a great finale to a much too fast weekend home with warm pancakes, Wimmer’s Smokies and great fellowship.
As always, please feel free to contact me at (402) 471-2728 or email@example.com.
Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,
Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16