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What a beautiful week in Nebraska! I hope everyone has been staying warm and enjoying the sunshine. At the Unicameral, we spent much of the week continuing debate on Senator Crawford’s LB 589 and Senator Hughes’ 758. Following thorough debate, we did not vote to advance or indefinitely postpone LB 589. Senator Hughes’ bill was moved to Enrollment and Review (the step before Select File) with 47 senators voting “yes” and 2 “present – not voting”. After moving a few other bills to Enrollment and Review, we began debating LB 211 on Friday. LB 211, introduced by Senator Hansen, would increase the tipped minimum wage, the usual compensation method for those in the restaurant service industry. Many have raised concerns about this bill and I did not vote to advance it from Business and Labor Committee, but I look forward to hearing the remaining floor debate on the topic before the General File vote.
On Tuesday, I presented LB 949, which allows the Nebraska Educational, Health, and Social Services Finance Authority to be a conduit issuer of bonds for private not-for-profit cultural institutions, to the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee. I was pleased to see the bill attract multiple proponents, with no one testifying in opposition. I am thankful for the committee members asking thoughtful questions and am hopeful the committee will advance it to General File next week.
This year, the Legislature will again work towards tackling high property taxes. Governor Ricketts’ tax plan, proposed by Senator Smith as LB 947, was heard in Revenue Committee on Wednesday. LB 947, the Nebraska Property Tax Cuts and Opportunities Act, allows residential homeowners a refundable income tax credit equal to a percentage of property taxes paid during the taxable year. Resident individuals paying property taxes on agricultural land, horticultural land, farm sites and improvements on farm sites shall also be allowed a refundable income tax credit equal to a percentage of property taxes paid during the taxable year. LB 947 also provides for a two-year phase down of the top individual income tax rate from 6.84% to 6.69%, as well as a two-year phase down of the corporate tax rate for all taxable income in excess of $100,000 from 7.81% to 6.69%. Additionally, the bill directs the State Treasurer to transfer from the General Fund a total of $10 million to the Job Training Cash Fund over the next two years. Governor Ricketts and Senator Smith have made it clear that this bill is a work in progress and have already submitted multiple amendments to address concerns. I will continue to monitor the progress of this bill and ensure that it is in the best interest of District 17, as well as the entire state. To keep up with developments on the bill, visit https://nebraskalegislature.gov/ and search for LB 947.
On Thursday my office was happy to welcome representatives from the Wayne Chamber of Commerce to the Capitol and to the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame banquet in Lincoln. I was delighted to sit at their table and talk about business in Wayne over dinner.
Monday will be the Business and Labor Committee’s second of four committee hearing days of the session. We look forward to hearing testimony on the following bills:
LB928 (McDonnell) Change provisions relating to compensation paid upon the death of an employee under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act
LB 952 (Albrecht) Change provisions relating to dismissals of actions under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act
LB953 (Albrecht) Change provisions relating to lump-sum settlements under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act
LB957 (Lowe) Provide procedures for choosing a method of payment for payments under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act
LB1024 (Wayne) Change references from Big Twelve Conference to Big Ten Conference in provisions requiring a stipend or restricting hours of participation for intercollegiate athletes
The remaining Business and Labor Committee’s hearings for this legislative session will be on February 12th, and February 26th. The hearings will begin promptly at 1:30 p.m.
Committee hearings will be streamed live by NET at the following address: http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/television/live-demand-state-government. Live coverage of the full session of the Unicameral is also available from that page.
If you would like to submit written testimony for the committee to consider and you will not be personally testifying at the hearing, it is strongly encouraged that you turn your written testimony in to the committee clerk, Beverly Neel, no later than 5:00 p.m. on the legislative day before the relevant hearing. Please let Beverly know if you would like your submission to be formally on the committee’s hearing record.
You may submit your written testimony by email at email@example.com or by mail to:
Senator Joni Albrecht
PO Box 94604
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4604
I want to encourage my constituents to reach out to me at 402-471-2716 or to write me at the address above.
I look forward to hearing from you!