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Weekly Legislative Update
Memorial Day serves as a day of remembrance for our fallen soldiers as Nebraskans and all Americans honor the great sacrifice by our heroes and loves ones left behind. We are the land of the free because of the brave. This long weekend is a time for families to reunite with loved ones to remember our heroes at their final place of rest. Our deepest gratitude to those who have served and continue to serve our country.
This week, the legislature fulfilled its constitutional duty to pass a balanced biennial budget. This budget provides for additional state aid to our public schools and contains the funding commitment to roads made by Senator Deb Fischer’s LB84 back in 2011. This commitment will continue for several years and will help complete portions of our state’s expressway system.
As mentioned last week, the legislature discussed a possible repeal of the local option sales tax passed just last year. Senator Ernie Chambers introduced repeal legislation which did not make it out of committee, and subsequently offered similar amendments that failed to pass twice. In a third attempt, Senator Chambers successfully offered an amendment that limited a repealed the local option sales tax for the city of Omaha, leaving the remainder of the state unaffected.
On Tuesday, the Unicameral continued discussion on tax credits for wind energy developers in Nebraska. Two bills were introduced this year to provide tax incentives for wind energy. LB402 would have provided more incentive for investors to do business with Nebraskans. Ultimately, however, the body elected to pass LB104 which still provides tax incentives which have the potential to result in significant investments by developers. Senator Mello, introducer of LB402, requested that his bill be held over until the 2014 session.
The Unicameral debated LB507, the Step Up to Quality Child Care Act introduced by Senator Kathy Campbell of Lincoln on Wednesday. This legislation creates a rating system and website for day cares to provide parents with information on childcare providers in Nebraska. Providers that receive a large amount of public dollars will be required to participate, but otherwise participation is voluntary. Currently, providers in Nebraska receive over $90 million a years in public assistance.
Last Friday, a legislative recess day, I enjoyed the opportunity to plant trees with Black Hills Energy and students from Beemer Elementary. Saturday, I attended the grand opening of the Bob Eckdahl Campgrounds at the Summit Lake State Recreation Area. It was a fun day that included free park entrance and fishing for families from the area. Thank you to the Burt County Recreation Preservation Committee for their hard work and hosting this event for communities!
As school winds down, fewer class groups have been visiting the Capitol. I encourage everyone to visit our office during the summer. Please contact me or my administrative aide, David Slattery, or legislative aide, Taylor Gage, at (402) 471-2728 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,
Senator Lydia Brasch