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Senator Rick Kolowski
2019 Session Summary
Three of the bills I introduced passed:
LB 619 – private insurance coverage of mental health services provided in a school
LB 409 – design and building standards for health care facilities updated to 2018 standards (from 2001 standards) with an exemption for remodeling of nursing homes
LB 733 – accessibility standards at polling places
Status of my other bills:
LB 140 – to prohibit tanning before the age of 19. Held in committee.
LB 410 – sales tax holiday for back to school shopping. Held in committee.
LB 620 – to make texting while driving a primary offense. Held in committee.
LB 621 – To prohibit Homeowners Associations from banning solar power. Held in Committee.
LB 147 – restraint bill for schools/students
Chairman Groene’s pull motion was successful. The bill (without being amended) is on General File and will be addressed next year. The amendment remains pending.
LB 670 – Private school scholarships and tax credit program
The filibuster was successful, the bill was stopped.
Major legislative action in 2019:
LB 294 – Budget
$49 million for new max security prison beds
Increased behavioral health provider rates in Medicaid
Court system – more $ for problem solving courts
Property tax credit fund – added $51 M for total of $275 M
Medicaid Expansion – This budget includes funding for the first 9 months of Medicaid expansion. However, the Governor has chosen to apply for what’s called an“1115” state plan waiver. The proposal includes the addition of more eligibility requirements on Nebraskans and making it more difficult to qualify. An 1115 waiver would apply to even those currently on Medicaid. This was unnecessary. He could have implemented a “1332” waiver in 2019 through the Affordable Care Act for just the expansion population. Although the Legislature was disappointed with this, we had no legal way to force the administration to implement in a certain way.
LB 183 – DID NOT PASS – Revenue/tax package to try to shift tax burden from property to sales tax by removing exemptions for Pet related veterinary, Storage facility rental, Moving services, Hair care, nail, spa and beauty services, Tattoos, Maintenance on single family housing remodeling and repair, Interior design, Limousine, Taxi and Ride share, Lawn care, garden, landscape, Parking, Swimming pool, Dating, Telefloral
LB 289 – DID NOT PASS – Revenue/tax package to do the same as 183 but with a rewrite of TEOSSA, school funding.
LB 720 – DID NOT PASS – Business tax incentive program: Would give more transparency for cities so they know what tax deferrals they have to budget for. Some rural Senators opposed it on the basis of too little property tax relief.
Other items that took legislative time:
LB 155 – Eminent domain. Passed. Landowners now have a rebuttable presumption basis to challenge a utilities use of eminent domain for transmission lines.
LB 373 – Bill to require county zoning laws that include create a 3-mile set-back for wind generation, noise thresholds and decommissioning regulation. Held in Committee.
Gubernatorial vetoes/override attempts:
LB 472 – Allows a county board to institute a ½ percent county wide sales tax to help pay a federal judgement. This is specific to Gage County’s federal judgment in the case of six people wrongly convicted and imprisoned. Override attempt: successful.
LB 492 – Expanding the regional metropolitan transit authority to provide more public transportation in Omaha. Override attempt: successful.
LB 533 – Updating state statutes to be consistent with federal law by using gender neutral terminology of “spouse” to replace “husband and wife” in statute and on marriage licenses and certificates. Vetoed. Override motion made and withdrawn.
LB 470 – Created a program to allow employers to make a contribution to the 529 College Savings Plan of an employees’ family member and to exempt military housing from property tax in exchange for payments in lieu of taxes by developers. Passed. Vetoed after the Legislature had adjourned for the year.
LB 436 – Complete Count Committee to encourage people to respond to census requests. Passed the Legislature, vetoed after session adjourned sine die.