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Tim Gragert

Sen. Tim Gragert

District 40

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The Legislature has passed the midway mark in this 60-day legislative session. The priority bill designation process is also complete. From this point on, generally only bills with priority status will be debated by the Legislature.

Every senator gets to select one bill as their priority bill, every committee can pick two, and the speaker is authorized to designate 25 bills as speaker priority bills. I selected LB 925 as my priority bill and it received first-round approval this past week on a 34-7 vote. LB 925 creates the Resilient Soils and Water Quality Act. To carry out the provisions of the Act, a Producer Learning Community would be formed. The PLC would focus on peer-to-peer, hands-on learning, through regional demonstration farms. Healthy soil directly relates to water quality. In an effort to prevent more communities from needing to purchase expensive water treatment systems to address the high nitrate levels, this proactive measure attempts to address the root of the problem by encouraging the use of comprehensive healthy soil practices.

The following is a few of the bills that were designated as senator priority bills:

LB 1023 would adopt the Lake Development Act and the Water Recreation Enhancement Act. This legislation is the result of the work by the STAR WARS Committee and includes projects at Niobrara State Park and the Lewis & Clark Lake State Recreation Area.

LB 933 proposes to adopt the Nebraska Human Life Protection Act. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, this bill would prohibit the performance of an abortion in Nebraska. LB 1086 would adopt the Chemical Abortion Safety Protocol Act and prohibit the sending of abortion-inducing drugs through the mail. The public hearing on both of these priority bills was held this past week before the Judiciary Committee, along with legislation to prohibit an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detectable on an ultrasound (LB 781).

LB 1015, the Perkins County Canal Project Act, was introduced by the Speaker of the Legislature, at the request of the Governor. The governor included $500 million in his budget recommendations for this canal project on the South Platte River in an effort to secure Nebraska’s water supply from being diverted for projects initiated in Colorado. The canal was authorized in the South Platte River Compact, signed by Nebraska and Colorado in 1923 and ratified by Congress in 1926.

LR 264 is a proposed constitutional amendment to repeal the state income tax, the state sales tax, the property tax, and the inheritance tax. These taxes would be replaced with a consumption tax on services and new goods purchased for personal consumption. Business expenses would not be taxed. A pre-bate payment would be sent to citizens for basic necessities such as food.

LB 773, referred to as the constitutional carry legislation, would authorize concealed carry without a permit in Nebraska. Gun owners would no longer need to obtain a state permit, pay a fee, conduct a background check, or take a training course.

One of the bills that I introduced was selected as a committee priority bill by the Business and Labor Committee. LB 780 makes common sense changes in provisions of two programs administered by the Nebraska Department of Labor – child labor and Nebraska’s short-time compensation program. One of my bills was also selected as a speaker priority. LB 864 would expand the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan to allow education loan payments for a beneficiary or a sibling to qualify as a higher education expense.

Following a filibuster, LB 939 received first-round approval on a 40-1 vote after senators received assurance that its fiscal impact will be re-evaluated at the second stage of debate to determine how it fits in with the revenue outlook. As amended, LB 939 would lower the top rate of both the individual and corporate income tax to 5.84%. There was discussion on whether the thresholds should instead be lowered, which would provide greater tax relief for the middle income.

As the Legislature debates bills that have been designated as priorities, I encourage you to inform me of your opinions. I can be reached at tgragert@leg.ne.gov. My address is District #40, P.O. Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509 and my office telephone number (402) 471-2801.

Sen. Tim Gragert

District 40
Room 11th Floor
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2801
Email: tgragert@leg.ne.gov
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