The session is finally underway! This week we began floor debate on carryover bills from last year and are still introducing legislation for this session. So far we have heard LB285 regarding arena financing, LB47 on making the organ donor question on license applications mandatory, and LB619 regarding poker rooms. I voted for the first two and against allowing poker rooms as I believe expanded gambling to be a bad deal for our state.
This session I have introduced several pieces of legislation, 13 in all. Many of these bills are technical updates to our state’s banking and insurance laws that are required to stay in compliance with changing federal laws. As the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Chairman, I have the privilege of carrying those bills. I have also introduced three bills related to K-12 education.
LB882 changes the way school districts are allowed to set their budgets. This will slow growth and limit spending.
LB883 is a compliment to LB882 and creates a per student foundation aid to be paid to school districts to allow them to offset portions of their budget that are currently funded via property taxes. This bill also changes various calculation in the current school financing formula to remove outdated and misused provisions. Upon full implementation, LB883 will result in roughly $5.75 million in annual property tax relief to Madison County.
LB930 makes the Act the new standard test for 11th grade students. Currently there is a pilot project that allows districts to opt to give students the Act instead of the Nebraska Standard Assessment. However, this pilot project expires at the end of this school year. We have heard from individuals statewide that this project has been extremely successful in getting more students college ready and ensuring that they graduate with a solid foundation to succeed. This bill will keep the ACT as the state’s test moving forward.
I look forward to this session getting underway and beginning debate on these important issues. If you have any questions, ideas, or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff at 402-471-2929.