Sen. Beau McCoy
District 39

Welcome

January 8th, 2014

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 39th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

Please feel free to contact me with any issues or concerns you may have regarding public policy or your state government, and let me know how I may assist you. If you live in the 39th legislative district, I would like to have your contact information and email address in order to communicate with you.

My staff in my State Capitol office in Lincoln look forward to hearing from you and assisting you. Please feel free to contact me using the contact information on the right.

Sincerely,
Sen. Beau McCoy

Read the Unicameral Update’s feature article on Senator McCoy.

STATEMENT BY SENATOR BEAU McCOY RELATED TO HEARINGS ON EXPANDING MEDICAID IN NEBRASKA UNDER LB887

January 29th, 2014

“I remain steadfastly opposed to the expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska under Obamacare. Nothing that I’ve heard or read so far about LB887 convinces me that this is good for the overall health of our citizens or our economy. This bill would grow the state government by adding yet another entitlement program and a new layer of bureaucracy to our current healthcare system. I’m also concerned this legislation would expand the administrative authority of the Department of Health and Human Services with the oversight of a few, hand-chosen senators. This bill does nothing to protect hard-working Nebraska taxpayers from the tens-of-millions of dollars the state will be stuck paying under the best of scenarios. Where will that money come from? Higher taxes and/or cuts to essential programs, like education; that’s where.

LB 887 would result in a bigger and more bloated government bureaucracy. This bill is nothing but an attempt to dig Nebraska deeper into the Obamacare hole. I’m committed to doing anything I can to defeat this bill.”

Sen. Beau McCoy Announces Support for Legislation Meant to Move Nebraska Forward

January 22nd, 2014

LINCOLN, NE – “I’m pleased to have introduced legislation that addresses the need for real, common-sense and aggressive tax relief for all Nebraskans,” said State Senator Beau McCoy on the final day of bill introduction for the current legislative session. “I have said all along that tax relief is my number one priority this year. With my bills, LB669 and LB670, Nebraskans from every part of the state will see property tax relief.”

LB669 moves additional funding from the record-setting cash reserve to the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund. The bill would bring the fund to $200 million. It is used to reduce the property tax bills of any Nebraskan who pays property tax.

LB670 lowers the valuations for tax purposes on agricultural land from its current 75 percent to 65 percent. The bill calls for the changes to be phased-in over a three year period.

McCoy also announced today his support for LB1097, brought by fellow Revenue Committee member, Senator Burke Harr. The bill will phase-in relief in personal income taxes, benefitting all Nebraskans. McCoy said, “I am very pleased to co-sign LB1097. Senator Harr’s approach of a three year phase-in, merging some of the tax brackets, reducing the rates, and allowing for inflation adjustments in the future, is really the kind of legislation we need. I look forward to working on this bill’s behalf.”

McCoy is also committed to supporting LB96, which would exempt repairs and parts for agricultural machinery from sales tax. He also co-signed LB812, which eliminates the state inheritance tax. McCoy said, “All of these measures are part of an overall tax relief program that I announced earlier this month. If Nebraska’s economy is going to continue to grow, we must shed the mantle of being a high tax state.”

In the area of education and job creation, McCoy introduced LB826, which would put into motion a new emphasis on career technical education in our public high schools. “There are great, high-paying technical trade jobs available in Nebraska,” McCoy said. “We must equip our young workforce with the knowledge and skills they need to fill those jobs. This will be a big step forward in growing our economy and keeping our young adults in Nebraska.”

McCoy also co-signed and supports LB832, brought by Senator Scott Lautenbaugh, which addresses major concerns about the state’s “Good Time Law.” McCoy said, “I was preparing a bill of my own that would have made violent offenders earn an early release through good time, rather than automatically receiving it, as they do now. LB832, a cooperative effort by Governor Heineman, Attorney General Bruning, and Senator Lautenbaugh, addresses the problems well. I’m pleased and proud to throw my whole support behind it.”

The 60 day legislative session continues through April 17, 2014.

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October 16th, 2013

October 15, 2013

 

Scott Swisher, Ed.D., Deputy Commissioner of Education
Nebraska Department of Education
301 Centennial Mall South P.O. Box 94987 Lincoln, NE 68509-4987

Dear Deputy Commissioner:

I request this letter be submitted into the public record as a part of the proposed revisions to Title 92, Nebraska Administrative Code, Chapter 12 (Rule 12), Regulations and Procedures for Exempting Schools for Which Parents Elect Not to Meet Legal Requirements for School Approval and Accreditation for Other than Religious Reasons and to Title 92, Nebraska Administrative Code, Chapter 13 (Rule 13), Regulations and Procedures for Exempting Schools for Which Parents Elect Not to Meet Legal Requirements for School Approval and Accreditation for Religious Reasons.

Nebraska has long respected the rights of the parent to decide how their child should be educated. The proposed rules changes not only ignore parental control and parental choice, but current law.

Statute § 79-201(3)(e)(ii) states a child is exempt from compulsory school attendance if

“Such child’s parent or guardian has signed an affidavit stating that the parent or guardian intends for the child to participate in a school which has elected or will elect pursuant to section 79-1601 not to meet accreditation or approval requirements and the parent or guardian intends to provide the Commissioner of Education with a statement pursuant to subsection.”

The law is clear: a parent may move a child to an alternative school setting at any time by signing and submitting an affidavit to the Commissioner of Education. The rule change under consideration is obviously in conflict with that law. Therefore I submit that any such change can only be accomplished by the Nebraska Legislature.

I am also very troubled by Section 006 of the proposed changes. In that section, parents face prosecution for failure to submit documents under a vague and arbitrary deadline that reads, “as soon as practicable”. The long standing 30-day time period for parents to file the necessary paperwork still seems both fair and appropriate. Please keep in mind that this rule applies to all parents, including those coming into our state as new residents, who deserve an opportunity to get settled. If the state is going to prosecute a parent, then the parent deserves a clear, concise and fair deadline.

Nebraska is a state filled with wonderful public school districts, private and parochial schools, and a vast and growing collection of homeschool families. We take great pride in the way our parents and our communities keep and maintain control of the education of our children. Our state government should in no way take any steps to seize any control or choice from parents or our local communities. Any such effort will face strong opposition from me and the vast majority of Nebraskans, regardless of their educational backgrounds.

I ask that you not support the proposed revisions to Rule 12 and Rule 13.

Sincerely,

Beau R. McCoy
State Senator, District 39

cc: Governor Dave Heineman
Senator Kate Sullivan
Nebraska State Board of Education
Home School Legal Defense Association
Nebraska Christian Home Educators Association
News Media

Senator McCoy to Reform Nebraska’s “Good Time” Law

October 10th, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 CONTACT
October 9, 2013                                             Trinity Chappelear: 402-471-2885, Cell: 402-681-7053

Senator McCoy to Reform Nebraska’s “Good Time” Law

OMAHA, NE – “We cannot let four lives be lost in vain,” said State Senator Beau McCoy as he announced his intention today to introduce legislation that will reform Nebraska’s “Good Time” law and other corrections issues. McCoy is referring to four homicides in Omaha believed by authorities to have been committed by Nikko Jenkins shortly after he was released from prison under the good time provisions of state law. “We cannot allow even one more person to come into harms-way like this again. The law must protect society from monsters like this,” McCoy said.

Several provisions will be included in the Legislative Bill currently under development by Senator McCoy:

• Early releases based on good time must be earned by violent offenders, not automatically granted.
• Good time credits for violent offenders can be taken away for violations of law or prison rules and regulations.

Senator McCoy also wants to examine the possibility of adding requirements by which a violent offender can earn good time. Those requirements could include, but not be limited to, no violent or potentially violent offenses or rules violations while incarcerated, and successfully complete any and all rehabilitation or training programs ordered by a judge or required by prison management.

Senator McCoy also said, “The reforms we need to make to our penal codes need to be truly comprehensive. That must include legislation that will fix the problems in our death penalty process once and for all. Nebraska’s death penalty must serve as a deterrent for violent offenders and right now, because it’s so broken, it does not.”

Senator McCoy’s legislation is still under development. Part of that process includes working with various groups and individuals to seek input and guidance. McCoy said, “I intend to listen to law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, victims and other stakeholders before finalizing the draft legislation. We’ve even heard from inmates that the good time process needs to be changed because some violent offenders are getting out of prison too soon. It’s important that we get this right.”

The Nebraska Legislature convenes January 8, 2014.

Elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2008 and 2012, Senator McCoy represents Legislative District 39 and currently serves as Chairman of the Committee on Committees and is a member of the Revenue Committee and the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. He will also serve as the 2014 Chair of The Council of State Governments Midwestern Legislative Conference and has been chosen to become a national leader of the Council.

McCoy and his wife, Shauna, have been married for over 11 years and have four young children.

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Senator Beau McCoy’s Testimony on LB 405

February 6th, 2013

Thank you, Chairman Hadley, and good afternoon fellow members of the Revenue Committee. I am Beau McCoy, for the record that is B-e-a-u- M-c-C-o-y and I represent the 39th district here in the Unicameral.

I am here before you this afternoon to introduce LB405 on behalf of the Governor.

Or, as we otherwise refer to it in our office, the Lobbyist Full Employment Act of 2013….

Now with all seriousness, I want to thank all of the Nebraskans here at the Capitol today along with all of those across our state watching the hearing on television and online.

Thanks to the many citizens who have contacted me by letter, email and phone and for those who have taken time out of their busy lives to participate.

Governor Heineman, Senator Ashford and myself asked for a serious and robust discussion on tax reform and today is the first public forum of the many conversations that have already begun.

Today marks the first time in nearly fifty years that our Legislature has taken up the issue of fundamental tax reform to simplify our tax system, make it more fair, and modernize it for our sons and daughters.

The last few weeks I’ve had a number of folks ask me why it’s been so long since we have had a conversation.

My answer is that in many ways it’s ironic that an issue as fundamental to our daily lives as taxes can also be so incredibly complex and difficult to address.

I came to the Legislature, as we all do, determined to make a difference and vowing not to shy away from the most important and substantive issues that affect the lives of Nebraskans.

The four most important reasons why I am enthusiastically engaged on the issue of tax reform sat across from my wife and I at breakfast this morning.

I want our four kids, and all children across Nebraska, to have more and better opportunities than we have had to live, start a business and raise a family in our state.

I want our retirees, like my parents, and retired veterans to stay in Nebraska and continue to contribute to our communities.

Can anyone tell me with a straight face that our current system of keeping our young people and retirees here in Nebraska is working as well as it could and should?

It is time to get serious about this, and this is an important part of the solution.

Tax and business rankings are important, but tax reform really is about the next generation of Nebraska’s leaders; our sons, daughters and grandchildren.

They’re only going to be the leaders of tomorrow if we have the great jobs and lower taxes to keep them here.

We are making significant progress in Nebraska, but we can, and we must do better. If better is possible, good is not enough.

There is a reason why Nebraska is “The Good Life.”  We have the ability, opportunity and responsibility to create positive change and make Nebraska, “The Best Life.”

This tax reform discussion can help our state turn the corner and propel our economy well into the 21st century.

Today is about our future, it’s about our young people, our retirees and our hard-working families and small business owners and workers.

I have full faith and confidence in the citizens of our state. They care about our future, and they will engage in this statewide conversation about tax reform.

We need those speaking today to not only share what they may be for or against in the tax reform plan, but also to share suggestions to make our state more competitive and to thrive.

A problem clearly stated is often a problem already half solved.

If you oppose or have concerns about our plan to totally eliminate the individual and corporate income taxes by lifting the sales tax exemptions on $2.4 billion, what list of exemptions would you use?

What does fundamental tax reform look like to you?

I’ve said many times the list we’re using isn’t graven in stone, it’s not the Ten Exemptions.

We will be listening intently this afternoon and we respect and value the varying opinions that will be outlined here today.

But we need to insure the 1.8 million hard working Nebraskans that deserve tax reform are not forgotten.

Let me address a couple of important points regarding what we are discussing today.

LB405 today and LB406 that will be discussed tomorrow represent a one-of-a-kind approach to tax reform that is unique to Nebraska and fundamentally different from the plans being discussed currently in a number of state capitals around America.

I want to be clear, we are not proposing to raise the sales tax rate, and we are not proposing to place sales tax on services.

The fact is that the data specific to Nebraska proves that the sales tax in our state has been a more stable source of revenue than the income tax.

If you look at the graph on the handout distributed to you earlier titled “Growth of General Fund Revenue by Sources” you will see that the blue line representing sales tax has fewer dips and valleys than the red line representing income tax.

The second chart on the reverse side of the handout shows the actual revenue numbers from FY 2002-2003 to FY 2011-2012.

Please direct your attention to FY 2008-2009 when the individual income tax swing was negative by 17.6%, the sales and use tax swing was only negative by 6%.

To determine where we want our state to be revenue wise and economically in the future requires us to closely examine what our state revenue picture looks like now.

Agriculture and manufacturing are huge components of our economy and I know this discussion isn’t easy or maybe even welcome for these industries.

I have a unique perspective on how vital agriculture is to our state as a senator that represents the western suburbs of Omaha and also the small communities and rural areas of Douglas County.

I’m a small business owner in the construction field now, but I was born and raised as a fourth generation ranch kid on our family’s cattle ranch near the Nebraska/Colorado border.

I grew up in the same sod house in which my great-grandparents raised their eight children.

Fixing fence, putting up hay and calving heifers were part of my daily life just like they are today for many Nebraskans.

They say you can take the country boy out of the country, but you can never take the country out of the boy.

It’s true. Agriculture is in my blood, it’s part of who I am.

My family came to America like many of yours, driven to make a better life through hard work and limitless opportunities.

Growing up in agriculture, I learned a good work ethic and the value of working hard until the job is done.

When I was sixteen, I didn’t buy a car, I bought a tractor. I did this so that my brothers and I could start our own haying business and put ourselves through college.

Farming and ranching are not just industries in our state, they are a proud way of life and the bedrock of Nebraska.

We should do everything we can to protect and promote agriculture and manufacturing through this tax reform discussion, and we will.

It is vital that agriculture and manufacturing are at the table as we continue these discussions.

Our citizens are not afraid of tackling tough issues.

We’ve weathered a great number of challenges in our state’s history because we have smart people who will keep working to make Nebraska even better.

Recently, we have faced a few issues in the Legislature when a solution seemed impossible, but people stayed at the table and didn’t give up until the job was done.

I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work together with you, my fellow committee members, our colleagues and citizens across Nebraska to better our state.

Thank you for your time and attention, Chairman Hadley, and I would be happy to entertain any questions.

The best way to contact your elected official

August 27th, 2012

One of the most common questions I am asked is, “What is the best way to contact my state senator,” followed by, “Will it make a difference.”

In short, the best way to contact your senator is any form of communication that is directly from you and in your own words. A letter or email allows a senator to refer back to your comments, but the important factor is that you took the time to contact them.

Will it make a difference? Yes!

As your state senator, we may not agree on every issue all the time, but I value and appreciate hearing your thoughts and concerns.

There is a lobby full of people who are more than happy to speak with me, trying to convince me to vote a certain way or support a specific issue. I want to hear from you, the constituents of Legislative District 39. I represent you, and your voice is the one I want to hear most clearly.

In the four short years I have been your state senator, the volume of emails I receive has increased dramatically. My first year in office I received a few letters, a fair number of phone calls and emails that were sent by concerned citizens who shared their thoughts on a particular issue.

Since the special session in 2011, things have changed.

Most of my emails come from special interest groups where a person can go to a website, sign onto a form email that is then automatically sent to me. It may or may not have their name and address, possibly be sent to the wrong elected official and in the case of one group, will only allow me to respond to the sender through their website.

The carefully worded form email uses catch words that have been carefully vetted, but a short, simple email directly from a constituent to an elected official is much more powerful.

I choose to reply to my constituents by letter with my signature at the bottom; not an autopen or electronic signature; assuring that the response is from me. This is why it is helpful to include your address along with your name in emails and letters.

Another recent tool employed by special interest groups are robocalls or solicitation calls that ask where you stand on a particular issue. If you agree with them, they patch you through to our office.

The majority of people who receive these calls are confused on how they ended up talking with a senator’s office, or think we called them.

I can not stress enough, you do not need to go through a group or website to share your thoughts or concerns with your elected officials. You don’t need to be concerned with making it sound important or official.

Sharing your thoughts in your own words is the most powerful and valued message you can send your elected officials.

If you have any questions or if I can be of assistance, you can email me personally at bmccoy@leg.ne.gov or call my office at the State Capitol at 402-471-2885. I assure you, I read every letter and email sent to me and receive all messages.

“The Salvation of the State is Watchfulness in the Citizen.”

Nebraska and the Affordable Care Act

July 24th, 2012

Since the passage of the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I and fellow members of the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee have been receiving periodic briefings by the Nebraska Department of Insurance.

To date, the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee has held two interim studies and two legislative hearings where stakeholders and the public testified, plus four public briefings by the Department of Insurance. Several more briefings are in the planning stages and a third interim study will be scheduled for a hearing soon.

The most recent briefing that took place on July 19th was an important mile marker for our state. It was the first time we were able to hear from our Department of Insurance since the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The Court ruled the individual mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, but it is a tax, not a penalty, as promoted by President Obama. The mandate has been called the largest middle class tax increase in history.

One portion struck down by the court is the required Medicaid expansion. States are now allowed to opt out of expanding Medicaid without fear of losing all Medicaid funding.

One thing that has not changed is the amount of questions that remain to be answered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Rules and regulations continue to be developed, with estimates of 1300 pages for every page of the 906 page Affordable Care Act.

We learned the National Governors Association along with the National Association of Medicaid Directors have formally submitted questions that are essential to answer and all of the states are in the same boat.

Everyone is needing answers.

Setting up a health care exchange is no small undertaking. In fact it is the largest non-defense IT project in the history of our country. Officials estimate it will cost Nebraska between $50 – $90 million to set up the system and $17 – $18 million to operate it on a yearly basis.

One criticism I have heard bantered about is how Nebraska is lagging behind other states in implementing an exchange. When a state announces they will run a state exchange, it does not mean they are more prepared than Nebraska. It means they chose to make a decision with less input from their citizens and fewer answers from the federal government.

It goes without saying that everyone wants as many Nebraskans as possible to have access to qualified health care and insurance coverage. The question is, how do we get to that point and make it affordable for our state and our citizens?

Nebraskans rightfully demand their elected officials make sound decisions on how they spend tax-payer’s hard earned money. Waiting for fundamental questions to be answered before our state makes this final decision is the “Nebraska way.”

There are a lot of questions yet to be answered, but I am confident that we are on the right path towards finding a solution that is in the best interest of our state and our citizens.

You can watch the briefings and hearings live at nebraskalegislature.gov by clicking the live streaming video link. If you need assistance, please contact my office at 402-471-2885. We would be happy to guide you through the state website.

“The Salvation of the State is Watchfulness in the Citizen.”

Priority Bills

February 20th, 2012

The legislative session is almost at the half way point. Senators have chosen their priority bills and all day debate will soon begin.

Each senator is allowed to choose one bill as their priority to be debated by the full legislature. In 2009, I choose LB 675, a bill that ensures anyone seeking an abortion be provided with necessary information regarding certain additional medical procedures; particularly the availability of a free ultrasound and the ability to view the ultrasound image.

In 2010, my priority bill was LB 742, requiring local government to open up the settlement process. I believe Nebraskans deserve to know how government spends their hard-earned tax dollars, and a closed settlement process when tax dollars are involved made no sense to me. With LB 742 now law in Nebraska, we have taken a large step towards a more accountable government.

Last year I prioritized my bill, LB 22, the“Mandate Opt Out and Insurance Coverage Clarification Act.” LB22 accomplishes two things. First, it affirmatively opts out Nebraska from allowing health insurance plans that cover abortions from participating in our potential health insurance exchanges.

Second, LB22 prohibits private health insurance sold in Nebraska from providing elective abortion coverage, except through an optional rider where the premium is paid solely by the insured. The only exceptions allowed in LB22 are to prevent the death of the mother or treat medical complications arising from an abortion.

This year I have chosen LB 970, introduced by Senator Abbie Cornett from Bellevue, at the request of the Governor. LB 970 lowers the individual state income tax, the corporate income tax and the inheritance tax.

The last few years have been financially challenging for the state and for Nebraskans. I am proud that the legislature chose to respond by cutting spending instead of increasing the tax burden on our citizens.

As Nebraskans, we responded to the economic downturn just as we have in the past. We worked together, lived within our means, and cared for our neighbors.

Now that revenue has stabilized, we need to lower the tax burden instead of increasing government spending. Nebraska is one of only eight states that has the inheritance tax and Forbes recently named Nebraska as a state “Where Not to Die in 2012.”

People joke that Nebraska is the “tax me” state. I want to change that perception.

We need to change the way we think in government. Instead of assuming that adding more money to an agency or program will produce improvements, we must be innovative and results oriented. Instead of the status quo, we must focus on outcomes and never forget that it is the tax-payers money.

Permanent tax relief was a strong component of my campaign to represent District 39 in the Legislature and I remain committed to this goal. I have and will continue to support legislation that brings tax relief to the citizens of Nebraska.

I encourage you to be an active participant as Nebraska’s “second house.” You can watch proceedings in person from the balcony in the chamber, or watch live video streaming at www.nebraskalegislature.com.

If you have any questions or I can be of assistance, you can email me personally at bmccoy@leg.ne.gov or call my office at the State Capitol at 402-471-2885.

“The Salvation of the State is Watchfulness in the Citizen”.

Update on the beginning of the 2012 session

January 18th, 2012

Dear Neighbors,

With the beginning of the legislative session, the Nebraska State Capitol is full of activity and senators are busy reviewing proposed legislation. One of my bills has gathered the attention from some of my fellow senators.

LB 944 prohibits campaigns from paying elected officials for personal services; personal services can include campaign managers, consultants or fundraisers. LB944 is needed to close a current loophole in law that allows an elected official to financially profit through another candidate’s campaign.

The potential for abuse is enormous.

An elected official who is looking to make money off of their position can sign on to be a consultant or employee of a campaign, then approach lobbyists and interest groups to donate to the campaign. This money could then be funneled back to the elected official.

It is important to remember this same elected official decides the fate of legislation supported or opposed by the same lobbyists and interest groups who they solicited for a donation.

I found myself asking, what if the elected official tries to sell their vote to the lobbyists and interest groups? What if the elected officials says they will do everything in their power to go against the lobbyist or interest group if they do not donate to the campaign?

The above scenario must not be allowed to happen.

Nebraskans expect and demand their elected officials to conduct themselves with integrity; including their actions outside their official duties.

As your state senator, I swore an oath of office to “faithfully and impartially perform the duties of the office.” I take this oath very seriously and is the reason why I introduced LB 944.

I have also introduced a bill that will hopefully lower the amount of paper we receive in the senator’s offices. LB 782 will require every report that is submitted to the legislature to be submitted electronically.

In preparing this bill, we found 256 statutes that need to be changed which makes LB 782 382 pages long. The irony that it takes a large number of pages to reduce the amount of paper used is not lost. In fact, it gives a small taste of how much paper, ink, and man hours can potentially be saved by requiring reports to be submitted electronically.
Even though LB 782 is long, it is a common sense, simple bill that is need in our legislature.

I encourage you to be an active participant as Nebraska’s “second house.” You can watch proceedings in person from the balcony in the chamber, take part in committee hearings, or watch live video streaming at www.nebraskalegislature.com.

If you have any questions or I can be of assistance, you can email me personally at bmccoy@leg.ne.gov or call my office at the State Capitol at 402-471-2885.

“The Salvation of the State is Watchfulness in the Citizen”.