NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Bruce Bostelman

Sen. Bruce Bostelman

District 23

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at bbostelman@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 5th, 2022

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 23rd legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.

Sincerely,
Sen. Bruce Bostelman

Update 4/21
April 25th, 2022

By the time of this publication, the 107th Legislature will have adjourned “Sine Die.” The last days of session were spent passing bills on Final Reading. We also recognized the thirteen outgoing senators who are either being term-limited out, or not running for re-election.

At the time of writing this, the legislature has passed 149 bills for the 2022 session. 22 of these bills have been approved by the governor, and three have become law notwithstanding objections from the Governor, which are the budget bills that were line-item-vetoed. Additionally, one resolution, LR14, which involves a call for a Convention of States, was delivered to the Nebraska Secretary of State.

Overall, the legislature managed to pass a number of critical pieces of legislation for Nebraskans. Last week, I joined Governor Ricketts in the Capitol rotunda to sign LB873, the historic tax relief bill, into law. This bill reduces the top Nebraska state individual income tax rate by 1%, lowers the corporate income tax rates by approximately 2% on all taxable income in excess of $100,000 by 2027, and phases out the state income tax on social security benefits by 2025.

LB750, one of the Transportation and Telecommunications committee priority bills passed on Final Reading. This bill makes a number of changes related to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and includes one of my bills, LB913, which requires the Nebraska Department of Transportation to reconstruct a highway approach, which is the part of a county road located on the State’s right of way, when it is destroyed by a natural disaster or as a result of faulty engineering. 

LB1144, the other Transportation and Telecommunications priority bill was also passed by the legislature. This bill includes my bill, LB914, which gives the Public Service Commission the authority to create and maintain a Nebraska Location Fabric Broadband Access Map, which would provide valuable information related to broadband availability and quality of service in Nebraska.  LB1144 also includes Senator Dorn’s bill, LB761 which establishes the Precision Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program, intended to provide high-speed connectivity to farm sites in underserved areas of the state.

I was disappointed to see LB933, a bill introduced by Senator Albrecht fail to overcome a filibuster. This bill would have prohibited the practice of abortion on live, unborn children on the condition that the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade is overturned.

LB773, also a bill I co-sponsored introduced by Senator Brewer, would have authorized the carrying of concealed handguns without a permit in Nebraska. This bill was debated for four more hours on Select File, but ultimately failed to overcome the filibuster and only received 31 of the 33 votes it needed to advance.

My office remains open over the interim, and we will continue to work with different groups, agencies, and constituents on issues that affect District 23 and Nebraska.  I appreciate hearing from constituents and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 4/14
April 25th, 2022

The 107th Legislature is winding down, and we have finished most of our business for the 2022 session. Only one legislative day remains, which is scheduled to be Wednesday, April 20th. This last day we will convene to pass remaining bills on Final Reading, and then adjourn “Sine Die” until next year.

Governor Ricketts signed, but line-item vetoed portions of all three budget bills, LB’s 1011, 1012, and 1013, removing certain appropriations from the bills, including increased funding for healthcare provider rates. Last week, the legislature debated motions to override the Governor’s vetoes, and all three were successful. The budget bills will now become law as initially passed by the legislature.

LB1014 also passed on Final Reading. This bill appropriates federal funds allocated to Nebraska as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Over the course of this session, the Appropriations Committee has worked with senators to divide up these one-time funds for various projects across the state.

LB873 passed on Final Reading and was sent to Governor Ricketts for his signature. LB873 is one of the largest tax relief bills in recent Nebraska history, reducing the top Nebraska state individual income tax rate by 1%, lowering the corporate income tax rates by approximately 2% on all taxable income in excess of $100,000 by 2027, and phasing out the state income tax on social security benefits by 2025. Nebraska is currently one of only a few states that still taxes these benefits.

LB873 also ensures that at least $560 million will be allocated for property tax relief going forward into the future, and creates a new income tax credit for property taxes paid to community colleges, in addition to the existing credit available for K-12 schools. This credit you will be able to claim starting next year on your state income taxes.

If you are interested in an opportunity to serve, and are interested in being considered for an appointment to a state board or commission by the Governor, there may be an opening for you. These are great opportunities for citizens across Nebraska to bring their experience or expertise in a particular field to our state government. I would highly encourage those interested to apply.

Gubernatorial appointments are confirmed by committee members during a hearing, and then by the full legislature. During the hearing, the appointee has an opportunity to testify, and members of the public can express their support, opposition, or neutral stance. A list of these openings, as well as information on how to apply, can be found on the Governor’s website which I have linked here: https://governor.nebraska.gov/board-comm-req

I hope everyone has a blessed Easter weekend and is able to spend time with family and loved ones celebrating the joy of Christ’s resurrection. As we transition into interim, my office remains open and we look forward to continuing our work on issues that affect District 23 and Nebraska.  I appreciate hearing from constituents and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 4/7
April 25th, 2022

The 2022 legislative session is winding down with just four more days left at the time of this publication. All three of this year’s mid-biennium budget bills, LB’s 1011, 1012, and 1013 passed on Final reading and were sent to Governor Ricketts’ desk for his signature. 

LB750, a Transportation and Telecommunications priority bill which includes one of my bills LB913, recently advanced to final reading. My portion of this bill requires the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) to reconstruct a highway approach, which is the part of a county road located on the State’s right of way, when it is destroyed by a natural disaster or as a result of faulty engineering. Currently, counties are responsible for this maintenance, but many lack the necessary funds or staffing to rebuild these approaches. This bill ensures proper construction in the replacement of destroyed approaches. 

In my last newsletter I mentioned an attempt was made to provide significant income and property tax relief through LB825, but that the bill ultimately failed to advance due to 13 senators being present-not-voting. Last week, a compromise was reached, and we were able to advance LB873 as amended past the first round of debate. LB873 is a significant tax relief bill that does a number of things. 

LB873 reduces the top Nebraska state individual income tax rate from 6.84% to 5.84% over the next six years. Next, it lowers the corporate income tax rates on all taxable income in excess of $100,000 from 7.25% down to 5.84% by 2027. LB873 also phases out the state income tax on social security benefits by 2025 and ensures that at least $560 million will be allocated for property tax relief going forward into the future. Finally, LB873 creates a new income tax credit for property taxes paid to community colleges, in addition to the existing credit available for K-12 schools. 

Overall, Nebraskans can expect to see $886 million in property tax savings as a result of this bill. I am glad to see Senators were able to come to an agreement to provide the much-needed tax relief Nebraskans deserve. I am committed to working to make Nebraska competitive with neighboring states to retain and attract businesses, talent, and people. 

I enjoyed meeting with and speaking to the 4th grade class from Ashland-Greenwood elementary school last week as they toured the Capitol on their field trip. These students had an opportunity to learn about the three branches of government and the history of the Nebraska Legislature. 

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 3/31
April 25th, 2022

The Legislature has less than two weeks of working days left in this session. This past week we debated the three budget bills and moved them to Final Reading. In addition, we debated LB1014, Speaker Hilgers’ bill that appropriates funds allocated to Nebraska as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Included in this bill is one of my bills, LB1100 which appropriates $1 million for a feasibility study to look at existing electrical generation facilities, and their compatibility with being replaced by advanced nuclear technology. 

Last week we also debated LB825, one of the most significant tax relief bills considered by the Legislature. This bill would have phased out the state tax on social security benefits, reduced state individual income taxes and state corporate income taxes while providing significant property tax relief. LB825 was debated for four hours and failed to advance.  Why? The bill received 32 of the required 33 votes to end debate and take a vote on the bill.   Thirteen mostly urban senators from Lincoln and Omaha were present and did not vote killing the bill. It continues to disappoint me that these Senators continue to oppose property tax and other tax relief that is needed across the state, especially in rural areas that are affected disproportionately. Nebraska has some of the highest taxes in the country and it is troubling to see these Senators continue to stand in the way of bills that would provide the needed tax relief for all Nebraskans. 

Last Friday, we debated Senator Albrecht’s motion to pull LB933 (a bill I have co-sponsored) out of the Judiciary committee in order to be debated by the full Legislature. This bill would adopt the Nebraska “Human Life Protection Act,” prohibiting the practice of abortion on live, unborn children on the condition that the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade is overturned. The pull motion was successful, and LB933 should be debated on the floor during the remaining days of session.  

Registration is now open for the 2022 Unicameral Youth Legislature which will take place June 12th-15th. This is a four-day simulation coordinated by Nebraska State 4-H office and the UNL Extension Youth Development Program where students are given the opportunity to play the role of a state lawmaker. The Youth Legislature is open to all high school students, and provides young Nebraskans who have an interest in government, politics, law, public policy, debate, and public speaking an in-depth learning experience with the Legislature’s process, rules, bills, and support from Senators and legislative staff. Students wishing to apply, please visit nebraskalegislature.gov/uyl, or 4h.unl.edu/big-red-camps. 

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Weekly Update 3/24
March 24th, 2022

The legislature has less than 15 days remaining of this short 60-day session, and we continue debating bills late into the evening most days of the week.  The focus for the remainder of session will continue to be priority legislation and passage of the budget bills, including federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

Most of last week was spent debating the mid-biennium budget proposals.  Three budget bills, LB’s 1011, 1012, and 1013 passed the first round of debate.  The budget includes a number of different items, including money for the Nebraska Capital Construction fund, and money to the Military Base Development fund, money which had previously been set aside for the construction of the U.S. Space Command Headquarters had Nebraska been chosen as the location for the headquarters.

One of my bills, LB1074 was also included in the budget.  This bill creates the surface water irrigation cash fund to be administered by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.  Over the interim, we surveyed Nebraska’s irrigation districts to determine the condition, cost, and status of surface water projects and infrastructure in the state.  The findings from this survey showed that many irrigation districts in central and western Nebraska have aging and deterioration problems with some of their critical infrastructure.  This fund ensures our state’s farmers have continued access to essential water.

Speaker Hilgers scheduled debate on Senator Briese’s bill, LB283, first thing on the agenda last Monday morning after we set our clocks forward and resumed daylight savings time. LB283 would implement year-round daylight savings time in Nebraska, provided two conditions are met: First, at least three neighboring states must pass similar legislation, and second, federal law must change to allow states the ability to enact this change.  LB283 passed the first round of debate and was advanced to Select File.

Soon after, the United States Senate passed legislation that would make daylight savings time permanent beginning in 2023.  Proponents of permanent daylight savings time argue having sunlight later into the evening can boost the economy and can reduce seasonal depression.  In the coming days and weeks, we will see what happens with this proposal.

I would like to thank the 4th grade class from St. Wenceslaus Elementary School in Wahoo that I had the pleasure of meeting with and talking to last week.  These students asked some great questions, and had an opportunity to tour the Capitol, listened to floor debate from the balcony, and learn about the three branches of government and the history of the Nebraska Legislature.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 3/3
March 3rd, 2022

This week we wrapped up public hearings for all new bills for the 2022 session, and next week we will move into full-day floor debate. All Senator and Committee Priority Bills for the session have now been designated.

My bill, LB1102 was advanced from committee to General File, and was selected as 1 of 25 speaker priority bills by Speaker Hilgers. Speaker priority bills are meant to be important, but usually non-controversial bills. LB1102 ensures that the responsible parties, rather than Nebraska taxpayers, are held accountable for clean up in the case of a spill that may require remediation. The bill also authorizes the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) director to issue cease and desist orders if the director finds a situation that presents substantial harm in order to quickly end the situation.

I have co-sponsored LB1143, introduced by Senator Linehan. LB1143 prohibits the current practice of public school districts and ESUs forming agreements that allow them to issue new bonds without a vote of the people. LB1143 would require the bond question be submitted to the voters at as part of a statewide primary or general election.

LB1241 introduced by Senator Lathrop passed the first round of debate. This bill streamlines the process of reciprocity for law enforcement officers moving to Nebraska that are already certified in another state, to become certified in Nebraska.

On February 23rd, Governor Ricketts appointed Mike Jacobson of North Platte to fill the vacant seat for Legislative District 42, following Senator Groene’s resignation. I look forward to working with Senator Jacobson and welcome him to the legislature.

Bio Nebraska, a non-profit trade association, announced scholarship opportunities for Nebraska high school seniors looking to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). These scholarships are available to individuals who have been accepted at Bio Nebraska approved colleges and universities in the state, are planning to enroll in an undergraduate STEM-related course of study, and those planning to pursue a career with a STEM-related organization. To apply for this scholarship, or for more information on eligibility requirements, I encourage those interested to visit Bio Nebraska’s website at https://www.bionebraska.org/stem-scholarship.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 2/10
February 10th, 2022

Much of last week was spent debating property taxes, which continue to be one of the most aggressively debated issues in the Legislature year after year. Though each year we make some progress, Nebraska continues to rank as one of the highest taxed states with regard to property taxes, especially when compared to neighboring states. Specifically, the Legislature debated LB986, Senator Briese’s priority bill. This bill creates the School District Property Tax Limitation Act, which would limit the property tax request for a school district by prohibiting school districts from raising property taxes beyond the greatest of a few metrics, including 2.5% or the inflation rate. However, this limit could be exceeded by either a 75% or more vote of the school board, or by 60% or more vote of the people.

Three of my bills had hearings in the Natural Resources Committee last week which I would like to highlight. LB1045 would allow high level employees of public power districts to run for the board of directors of any district. Currently, they would be prevented from running unless they resign or take a leave of absence. This change would allow these individuals who have much industry knowledge, to serve the public without giving up their employment.

LB1074 creates the surface water irrigation infrastructure fund. Last session, I introduced LR117 which, over the interim, surveyed Nebraska’s irrigation districts to determine the condition, cost, and status of surface water projects and infrastructure in the state. The findings from this survey showed that many irrigation districts in central and western Nebraska have aging and deterioration problems with some of their critical infrastructure. Some of these systems are close to 100 years old. This funding would ensure our farmers continue to have access to essential water.

LB1102 creates two new tools to protect Nebraska’s environment. First, the bill ensures that the responsible parties, rather than Nebraska taxpayers, are held accountable for clean up in the case of a spill that may require remediation. The bill also authorizes the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) director to issue cease and desist orders if the director finds a situation that presents substantial harm in order to quickly end the situation.

Two bills relating to Nebraska Game and Parks were also heard in the natural resources committee. LB803 introduced by Senator Hughes includes grandchildren in the definition of immediate family for limited landowner permits for deer, antelope, wild turkey, and elk. LB1082, introduced by Senator Gragert, would require applications for hunting and fishing permits to include a question asking if the applicant wishes to register as an organ donor.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 1/28
January 28th, 2022

Committee hearings are now in full swing, and floor debate continues priority legislation.  Last week, LB723 introduced by Senator Briese passed on General File and was advanced.  LB723, as amended, raises the cap of property tax relief through refundable income tax credits that can be delivered to Nebraskans in 2024 from $375 million to $560 million.

LB825, Senator Lindstrom’s priority bill, also passed the first round of debate.  LB825 phases out the state income tax on social security benefits over the next four years.  This will greatly benefit Nebraska’s retirees, many of whom often struggle financially, and help retain retirees in our state.

The Legislature passed Senator Halloran’s priority resolution, LR14, on Final Reading. LR14 is a resolution to Congress to call for a convention of states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.  This convention’s purpose would be to propose amendments to the U.S. constitution, specifically to impose fiscal restraints on and limit the power of the federal government and create term limits for members of Congress. 34 of the states would need to pass a similar resolution for this to occur.

LB925, introduced by Senator Gragert was heard in the Natural Resources Committee. This bill would create the “Resilient Soils and Water Quality Act” to help improve management practices of soil and improve water quality. Under this bill, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would create a producer-led learning community that could partner with entities such as UNL, farm organizations, Natural Resources Districts, and private landowners to establish demonstration and research farms to promote better management practices of land in diverse regions around Nebraska.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Legislative Conference. This conference brings Natural Resources Districts, elected officials, agriculture producers, and members of the community involved with conservation together.

I introduced LR286, recognizing the 50th anniversary of the creation of Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts on July 1st, 2022. LR248 recognizes the critical role the NRD’s play in partnership with landowners and other organizations in managing, conserving, and protecting Nebraska’s natural resources and improving the land and sustaining it for future generations.

I joined fellow state senators and other elected officials, as well as hundreds of Nebraskans in participating in the annual Nebraska Walk for Life. The event began by listening to speakers on the north steps of the Capitol, and then walking to the UNL Student Union to hear the keynote speaker. I was encouraged by the enthusiasm of the people who attended and enjoyed meeting people from District 23. I will continue to support pro-life issues and defend the pre-born.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 1/21/2022
January 21st, 2022

It has been another busy week in the Legislature. There were an additional 593 new bills and 22 new legislative resolutions introduced for the 2022 session. Public hearings for these new bills have begun and will be held in the afternoons until early March.

Senator Brewer’s priority bill, LB773 which I am co-sponsoring had a hearing in the Government, Military and Veterans affairs committee. This bill would authorize the concealed carry of handguns without a permit in Nebraska.

Senator Halloran’s priority resolution, LR14 is a resolution to the United States Congress to call for a convention of states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution in order to propose amendments to the U.S. constitution. This resolution recently passed on the second round of debate and was advanced to Final Reading.

I have introduced a few bills which have hearings coming up that I would like to highlight. LB913 requires the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) to reconstruct a highway approach, which is the part of a county road located on the State’s right of way, when it is destroyed by a natural disaster or as a result of faulty engineering. Currently, counties are responsible for this maintenance, but many lack the necessary funds or staffing to rebuild these approaches. This bill ensures proper construction in the replacement of destroyed approaches.

LB1046 changes the makeup of the board of directors for Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) and Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) so that half of the board of directors, as well as the CEO’s of NPPD and OPPD would be appointed by the governor. This bill also ensures that at least one of the appointed board members is from a low populated area to represent our small communities and farmers.

LB1047 updates statutory language to reflect what the Southern Power Pool (SPP) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) highlighted in their investigations of the February 2021 polar vortex event. This bill adds a definition of reliable as it applies to energy generation and would amend the state’s policy to say electric providers should provide adequate and reliable energy.

Last week, Governor Ricketts signed a proclamation declaring January as Human Trafficking awareness month in Nebraska. The Nebraska Attorney General’s website has a page dedicated to information on and resources for combating human trafficking at https://ago.nebraska.gov/combating-human-trafficking. This website provides educational videos which range from what is trafficking, how to identify signs of trafficking, what traffickers look like, and what to do if someone suspects trafficking.

Additionally, the state is allocating $1.5 million in federal grants for child advocacy centers and health providers to help youth who have experienced trafficking. If you think you have encountered a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 1/14/2022
January 14th, 2022

Things are picking up at the Capitol in the second week of session as we began floor debate and continued introduction of new legislation. So far over 350 new bills have been introduced, and more will be expected until the deadline for new bill introduction on January 20th.

The Legislature debated a few carryover priority bills from last session. LB310, introduced by Senator Clements, would reduce inheritance tax rates and increase exemptions. This bill passed the first round of debate and was advanced to Select File.

I co-sponsored LB364 introduced by Senator Linehan, which would have created a state income tax credit for donations to organizations that create private school scholarships for low-income students. LB364 was filibustered once again by opposing senators and failed to advance.

Governor Ricketts delivered his State of the State address to the Legislature last Thursday, detailing his priorities for the 2022 session. One priority continues to be tax relief. For the next two fiscal years, $548 million in annual property tax relief will be delivered through LB1107 passed in 2020.

Another priority is securing Nebraska’s water supply and investing in Nebraska’s water resources. $500 million is being requested to construct a canal system in Western Nebraska and reservoir system along the Platte River between Lincoln and Omaha, $60 million to restore drinking water systems in rural areas of the state, and $200 million is being requested for other water projects presented by the STAR WARS (Statewide Tourism and Recreational Water Access and Resource Sustainability) Special committee, which I am a member of.

One of the proposals specifically affects District 23 and involves flood control measures along the lower Platte River near Schuyler and in the Wahoo Creek watershed. These proposed projects will be discussed further during the legislative session and require approval.

If you are interested in following the legislative process or want an in-depth look on what is happening in the Legislature, the Unicameral Update Newsletter provides sections and information for every bill heard on the floor of the legislature each day as well as information on each bill heard in committee. This newsletter is a useful tool to gain additional knowledge about the introducer, sponsors, intent and language of the bills proposed and debated. Should you wish to receive a print edition of the newsletter call 402-471-2788 or email uio@leg.ne.gov. The Unicameral Update is also published online at update.legislature.ne.gov.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov

 

Sen. Bruce Bostelman

District 23
Room 1210
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2719
Email: bbostelman@leg.ne.gov
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