We have had two controversial votes taken in the Legislature recently. I would like to explain to those residing in the 37th District and in all of the State of Nebraska the reasons for my votes:
GAS TAX INCREASE
I voted for the gas tax increase for a number of reasons. Since 1995 gas tax in Nebraska has increased 1.2 cents. That is correct, 1.2 cents. It would have had to increase 10 times that to just keep up with inflation. Costs of roads and bridges have increased significantly in that time.
Congress has not increased its funding of roads for over 20 years. Congress only refunds the Nebraska Highway Trust Fund for a few months at a time.
In Nebraska, 18% of the bridges are rated structurally deficient. Most of these are in rural parts of the state. The average nationwide is 11% for this category. Nebraska is ranked 6th highest of all states in percent of structurally deficient bridges. Two states that ranked higher than Nebraska were South Dakota and Iowa. Both significantly raised their gas tax this year. Kansas will vote to increase its gas tax this spring to help close its huge budget gap. Missouri is voting on a gas tax increase this spring.
The agriculture industry, which is so important to Kearney and Buffalo County, is a significant supporter of the gas tax increase. Kearney and Buffalo County need good bridges and roads and agriculture representatives were outspoken in that belief.
While no one likes to increase taxes, I feel that if we are upfront with what the tax is to be used for and show that there is a need for a tax increase the voters will support the increase. I certainly found this out when a proposed increase in the sales tax for the City of Kearney was on the ballot and it passed 75%-25%. A part of that increased revenue is being used for Kearney streets. You can access the Kearney City website to see all expenditures for capital improvements.
Also, as Chair of the Revenue Committee, I was deeply involved in passing five years of tax cuts totaling 750 million dollars this year and the next four years. Total tax cuts over five years of three quarters of a billion dollars are significant to Nebraska citizens. These cuts will continue to increase every year.
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT ELIMINATION
The elimination of the death penalty is an extremely difficult decision. I weighed the following questions in making my decision:
• Is there a better alternative, such as life without a chance of parole?
• Can we execute an innocent person?
• How much does race play in the decision?
• Is the death penalty system too costly?
• Does capital punishment deter crime?
• Does the death penalty help victims’ families reach closure on the issue?
• Is the death penalty applied consistently?
• What are the religious views of capital punishment and are they important to the decision?
• Are mentally ill people executed?
• If we keep the death penalty, are we in line with countries we do not wish to be in line with?
• Can one be pro-life on the question of abortion and pro-death on the question of capital punishment?
• Can we even make capital punishment happen in Nebraska?
Part of our unique unicameral legislative system is that every bill must have a public hearing. The citizens of Nebraska and individuals representing groups of citizens are welcome to testify for, against, or neutral on every bill. Four persons representing groups and six individuals testified in support of the bill. The only group to testify against repeal was the County Attorney Association. There were no other groups or individuals testifying against the bill.
I examined each of these questions and decided it is time to abolish capital punishment. We have had six votes and 14 hours of debate on repealing capital punishment this year alone. I have received numerous emails and phone calls on both sides of the issue and they were very evenly distributed between abolishment and retaining the death penalty. Ultimately, each person has to decide whether they are in favor of retaining or abolishing the death penalty.
Below I have listed the bills that I have introduced this year along with a brief description of each. These measures deal with concerns involving economic development, taxation and revenue, the allocation of school aid to K-12 education, and other matters of concern to the 37th District and Nebraska as a whole.
Please feel free to call my office at 402.471.2726 or email me at email@example.com, Your input, opposition, support, and suggestions on any given proposal are greatly appreciated.
Sincerely, Senator Galen Hadley
LB22 was introduced to change and further clarify provisions of the Parenting Act relating to those instances where the parties can not agree upon a parenting plan.
LB23 would redefine statutory language and change allocations of the money held within the ICF/MR Reimbursement Protection Fund.
LB24 changes Nebraska statutory references to the Internal Revenue Code to insure that Nebraska code makes reference to current Federal Law. Signed into Law on March 7, 2013.
LB25 change provisions of Nebraska law relating to the timing of the payment of the cigarette tax and the tobacco products tax by the wholesalers of those products.
LB26 would provide for an increase in the commission allowed to wholesalers and stamping agents for their efforts on behalf of the State in the collection of the cigarette tax and the payment of that tax to the State of Nebraska.
LB27 updates the experience requirements as outlined in the Public Accountancy Act in order for a person to be allowed to engage in the practice Public Accountancy within Nebraska.
Signed into Law on March 20, 2013.
LB28 changes the date for the imposition of increased penalties when required personal property tax filings have not been filing on a timely basis. Signed into Law on March 7, 2013.
LB29 changes the provisions relating to tax lists and provides a duty for county treasurers for recording tax assessments and collections. Signed into Law on March 7, 2013.
LB30 corrects the distribution of motor vehicle certificate of title fees. Signed into Law on February 15, 2013.
LB31 changes provisions of statutes with regard to parking permits for temporarily handicapped or disabled persons.
Signed into Law on March 20, 2013.
LB32 changes and clarifies provisions of law relating to historical vehicle license plates. Signed into Law on March 7, 2013.
LB33 eliminates certain provisions of the revenue laws and set requirements for authorized agreements relating to tax collection.
LB34 changes and clarifies various provisions of the Nebraska Advantage Act.
LB35 Adopt and update references to certain federal provisions related to motor vehicles. Signed into Law on February 15, 2013.
LB53 would change statutory provisions relating to to unpaid sales and use tax with respect to the sale of a business or stock of goods.
LB133 Provides for a definitive priority of insurance coverage relating to motor vehicle dealer loaner vehicles.
Passed Final Reading on March 28, 2013.
LB296 change provisions of the educational savings plan to increase contribution limits relating to income tax reductions and clarifies ownership of the participation agreements.
LB419 was introduce in the event a court decision would require the alteration of provisions of the wind energy nameplate capacity tax.
LB501 redefines and adds language to the Nebraska Advantage Act to include projects for the generation of electricity for sale by means of renewable energy.
LB502 was introduce in the event of the adoption of a regulation would require clarification of statutes concerning an existing sales tax exemption for certain non-profit health clinics.
LB640 would change certain statutory provisions of the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act, dealing with the allocation and distribution of funds for educational purposes.
The following are bills that I have introduced this session. Many of them deal with concerns in school aid to K-12 education, agriculture, economic development, higher education and other areas of concern to the 37th District.
LB 746, a bill to change the Motor Vehicle Operators License Act that relate to the issuance of school permits. If enacted into law, a person living a distance of one and one-half miles or more from the school he or she attends and resides in a city of the first class could be issued a school permit.
LB 747, a bill relating to railroads, specifically to withdraw the State of Nebraska from the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact and to repeal those sections of the Nebraska Statutes authorizing Nebraska’s participation in the Compact.
LB 830, a bill to clarify that biochips used for the genetic and/or protein analysis production livestock, commercially produced plants, companion and research animals are not subject to state or local sales and use tax.
LB 844, a bill to change provisions relating to the use of child support and medical support and to parenting time, and to repeal the original sections.
LB 850, a bill to create an income tax credit to encourage eligible persons, as defined, to take up residence in Nebraska counties that have experienced a loss in population between 2000 and 2010 of at least 5 per cent. The bill specifies the requirements of eligibility for a person to receive the refundable income tax credit.
LB 872, a bill to change the apportionment of business revenue generated from the sales or use of intangibles. The bill will prevent the State of Nebraska from levying tax on business revenue generated from sales and use of intangibles that would be in the form of double taxation. The treatment business revenue from the sales or use of tangibles and intangibles would be apportioned in a similar fashion.
LB 947, a bill with the purpose of maintaining the biennial budget allocation of state funds established for state aid to education by the 2011 legislature. In order to preserve the allocation of funds, as set forth in the biennial budget passed last year, the language of bill provides the necessary adjustments to the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act formula.
LB 1055, a bill requesting an appropriation for the construction of a new Kearney Division facility and related improvements for the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing and University of Nebraska Medical Center School of Allied Health Professions.
LB 1093, a bill to change the statutes relating to the foreclosure proceedings for delinquent real estate taxes. The county containing the property with delinquent real estate taxes would be allowed new remedies, if a property has been offered for sale, but not sold on two occasions for want of bidders.
LB 40, a bill to amend section 77-2704.12, Reissue Revised Statutes of Nebraska, to clarify the sales and use tax exemption from sales or use taxes for non-profit health clinics owned by a non-profit hospital and to provide sales and use tax exemption for the health facilities, as defined.
LB 972, a bill I cosponsored with Senator Ashford to move the YRTC facility from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Corrections.
Please do not hesitate to contact my office either by email, firstname.lastname@example.org .or phone, 402 471-2726 with any questions or concerns.
Last night I listened to a television commercial that stated “the only acceptable solution to the Keystone XL pipeline route is legislation to force it to move from the Sandhills”. Anyone listening to this ad would be left with the inaccurate impression that the Nebraska Legislature could force TransCanada Pipeline Company to move the Keystone XL pipeline from the Sandhills by legislation. The Nebraska Legislature is constrained by existing Federal and State laws. In light of this ad and information provided by all interests I would like to present accurate information to my constituents about what the Nebraska Legislature is facing during the current session.
First, the Legislature CANNOT enact legislation that would only apply to the present TransCanada XL pipeline and that would cause that particular pipeline to be moved from the proposed route across the Sandhills, over the Ogallala aquifer to another site within Nebraska. The vast majority of the legal experts that have written opinions addressing this subject, including the Nebraska Attorney General all agree with this analysis. Any such legislation could be ruled “Special Legislation” and be determined unconstitutional by the Nebraska Supreme Court. Special legislation is a legislative act that (1) creates a totally arbitrary and unreasonable method of classification, or (2) creates a permanently closed class.
The Legislature CAN try to enact siting legislation that sets up a process for using a governmental body to determine what would be the appropriate route for an interstate pipeline through the State of Nebraska. We are meeting at the present time, to determine what is legally possible and appropriate. The Governor called the special session to deal only with oil pipelines. The Governor stated “”I’m not certain there’s a solution, but I know it’s important that we try.”
The Legislature has received no less than five expert legal opinions on the legal issues with siting legislation in this special session. Three have stated any siting legislation would likely be unconstitutional and two have said we can enact siting legislation that is constitutional if done carefully.
The legal issues are as follows:
We cannot enact legislation to force the XL pipeline to be moved from the Sandhills. The legal experts offering opinions on the present subject are in general agreement that specific legislation applying only to the XL pipeline would be “special legislation” and therefore unconstitutional .
*Safety Issues and Federal Law Preemption
Much has been said about the fear of an oil leak in the pipeline that would enter the Ogallala aquifer. Any state legislation that is enacted cannot deal with pipeline safety including environmental safety issues. That is specifically covered by the Federal Pipeline Safety Act. If Nebraska were to enact a law dealing with safety it would be an attempt to preempt the federal law and would likely be ruled unconstitutional. It is the federal government that determines if the pipeline is safe.
*Dormant Commerce Clause
The “Dormant” Commerce Clause, also known as the “Negative” Commerce Clause, is a legal doctrine that courts in the United States have inferred from the Commerce Clause in Article I of the United States Constitution. The Commerce Clause expressly grants Congress the power to regulate commerce “among the several states. The idea behind the Dormant Commerce Clause is that this grant of power implies a negative converse — a restriction prohibiting a state from passing legislation that improperly burdens or discriminates against interstate commerce. So a Nebraska law could not improperly burden or discriminate against interstate commerce. The Keystone XL pipeline crosses many state borders and an international border. Would a Nebraska law violate the Dormant Commerce Clause?
Any legislation passed could be the subject of a lawsuit. TransCanada Pipeline Company as well as other states in which the pipeline crosses possibly may sue Nebraska for what they feel are damages. Siting laws in Montana and South Dakota have not been tested in a federal court so there is no basis to believe they are constitutional or unconstitutional. A Federal or State court would have to determine the constitutionality of any act passed by the Nebraska Legislature if a lawsuit is brought against the State of Nebraska.
Three bills have been put forward in this special session that deal with these issues. One bill would place the siting authority with the Nebraska Public Service Commission. Another bill would eliminate the Sandhills as a site for any oil pipeline. The third bill would set up a commission that would report to the Governor for his final determination on the siting of an oil pipeline. These are to be heard in the Natural Resources Committee and if passed out of the Committee heard by the entire legislature.
This is the new map for Legislative District 37. If you have questions please feel free to call my office at 402-471-2726 or email me at email@example.com
Senator Galen Hadley
Legislative District 37
We have a projected budget shortfall of approximately $986 million over the next two-year budget cycle. Anticipated expenditures will exceed anticipated revenues, according to the Revenue Forecasting Board, a nonpartisan body appointed by the governor. The Legislature is required to use this revenue forecast in its budgeting. Because of this forecasted shortfall, the Legislative body is working hard to make cuts where appropriate in order to keep the state of Nebraska functioning smoothly. This session will be difficult for all Nebraskans and I know that many of you will have thoughts and concerns. Please feel free to call my office at (402) 471-2726 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org your opposition, support, and suggestions on given proposals are greatly appreciated.
Below I have listed the bills that I have introduced this year along with a brief description of each. I have introduced each of these bills because I feel as though they will be beneficial to Legislative District 37 and Nebraska as a whole.
LB 40- Change a sales tax exemption for health clinics.
LB 41- Change fee, permit and stamp issuance, and possession of game provisions under the Game Law.
LB 42- Update references to the 2009 Uniform Plumbing Code.
LB 147- Change family law provisions relating to court orders, forum, child support, and visitation.
LB 241- Redefine parts vehicle and require a bill of sale for transfer of a parts vehicle.
LB 242- Change provisions relating to assault, assault on an officer, and offenses by a confined person.
LB 387- Adopt the Business Innovation Act and eliminate economic development programs.
LB 431- Adopt the Health Care Quality Improvement Act.
LB 432- Create sale and use tax credits for certified renewable export facilities.
LB 483- Change provisions relating to deductions for net operating losses and capital losses.
LB 484- Exclude certain activities from the definition of excavation under the One-Call Notification System Act.