Senator Tom Carlson-District 38
February 17, 2012
The short 60 day session is half over. Last week was a very busy legislative week for me. My Priority Bill, LR358CA, was voted out of the Executive Board Committee. It will now be discussed by the entire legislature on. If it passes, it will appear on the November, 2012, General Election ballot, where you will have the opportunity to vote on the resolution.
As I’ve said before, I am for term limits in the Nebraska Legislature. With all there is to learn, eight years goes by very quickly. After this session we lose nine senators who have served the two terms. Most are now performing at a high level. I strongly believe if they could be re-elected by their constituents to a third term, the extra four years would be their most productive.
We would still retain term limits with new energy, new ideas, and new enthusiasm coming to the body every four, eight, or 12 years. I strongly believe you, the citizens of Nebraska, would be better served by the passage of LR358CA.
There have been many calls and emails to my office concerning the Governor’s proposed tax package. Counties are worried about financing local services if the inheritance tax is eliminated as part of LB 970. The state repealed the estate tax in 2007. However, counties are able to collect an inheritance tax, which pays for such things as roads and bridges, economic development, senior centers, and veterans assistance.
Last year the legislature repealed state assistance for cities and counties. All of the aforesaid services will have to be cut, eliminated, or shifted to an increased property tax if the inheritance tax is no longer available. The Revenue Committee will make a decision on how to advance this important bill.
A bill that I introduced in the Natural Resources Committee last year, LB 526, to allow changes to water transfers, was debated on General File and advanced on a vote of 33-0. Proper management of our water resources, both ground and surface, is so critical to continued production of agriculture.
This bill would allow the use of a surface water irrigation transfer for a non-consumptive use. Normally a transfer is for a consumptive use by a crop. This bill is important in multi-state compacts and other agreements concerning water.
The Ag Committee heard three bills last week. LB 927, introduced by Senator Louden, would authorize cattle brands as official identification. LB 907, which I introduced, would change provisions relating to agricultural tractor permitting and a sales tax exemption. I believe the passage of LB 907 would be helpful to the tractor testing lab at UNL, as well as for our equipment dealers and citizens of the state.
LB 1123 would adopt the Nebraska Healthy Food Financing Initiative Act. That bill, to enable people to have access to healthy foods, was passed last year but vetoed by the governor. Senator Council reintroduced the bill.