NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Tom Briese

Sen. Tom Briese

District 41

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at tbriese@leg.ne.gov

Welcome

January 9th, 2019

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 41st legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact my staff and me about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.

Sincerely,
Sen. Tom Briese

Last week, the 106th Legislature convened on Wednesday and elected chairs and made committee assignments. I was fortunate enough to have earned the trust and confidence of my colleagues to serve as the chair of the General Affairs Committee. The General Affairs Committee has a wide mandate which covers a number of topics including the regulation of alcohol and gambling, libraries, music licensing, cemeteries, the Nebraska Electrical Act, and the Nebraska Arts Council.

On Wednesday, the Committee on Committees was selected and, caucusing by congressional district, assigned senators to serve on committees for the next two years. Again I was very fortunate to be placed on the Urban Affairs Committee and on the Revenue Committee. That second one is something I’m particularly excited by. Almost all of the bills I have introduced over the past two years which targeted property tax relief were heard in the Revenue Committee. While I will be only one of eight senators sitting on the committee, I am very hopeful that we will be able to work together to craft legislation which will give Nebraskans the property tax relief they are demanding. I say I am hopeful because Senator Lou Ann Linehan, who was elected chair of the committee, has stated her commitment to property tax relief, as have a majority of our fellow committee members. The tricky part, as always, will be finding a consensus: first among committee members, and then among the Legislature as a whole.

Over a hundred bills were introduced on the first day of session, and bill introduction will continue until Wednesday the 23rd. Only time will tell which bills draw the most attention from the public, and which bills even make it to the floor of the legislature for debate. But I always take the input of my constituents seriously, and my staff maintains a file for each bill we get your feedback on, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. For feedback on bills, email is the best option as it allows us to organize a folder for all the folks who weighed in on that bill.

On the topic of staff, there are a couple of changes to my office this session. Elizabeth Todsen, who served as my Administrative Assistant since day one, was offered the opportunity to move up in the world and serve as the Legislative Aide to Senator Dave Murman of Glenvil, who represents a rural district in south-central Nebraska. She will do an excellent job, and I congratulate Sen. Murman on a great hire. I have hired Alexander DeGarmo to replace her, who will also serve as the General Affairs Committee Clerk. Additionally, I have hired Loguen Blazek to fill the vacancy as the Legal Counsel to the committee. Edward Boone remains my Legislative Aide.

When you come to Lincoln, feel free to stop by the office and say hi. I always have time for constituents if I am in town – although calling ahead is always appreciated. Our new office is room 1019, on the west side of the Capitol, but our phone number remains (402)471-2631 and my email is still tbriese@leg.ne.gov.

2018 District 41 Survey

December 21st, 2018

Dear Neighbor, I always want to know where the people I represent stand on the issues.
As your state senator, it is my job to represent you in the Nebraska Legislature. This time of year, I always ask for your help with that. I’m sending out my survey again this year to find out where you stand on the issues. I hope that you will be able to take the time (about 2 minutes) to let me hear your voice. My staff and I have compiled a list of nine issues which we believe the Legislature may hear about in 2019. There are no guarantees until all the bills are actually introduced, but in case any of these issues come up, I hope to have a decent pulse taken on the folks I represent.

Take The Survey Now at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VMWRBYJ
Please share this post!
Please take the time to give me your views, and SHARE this post with anyone you know who lives in District 41 (Antelope, Boone, Garfield, Greeley, Howard, Pierce, Sherman, Valley, and Wheeler Counties). And go to http://eepurl.com/dlRS6n to add your name to my mailing list if someone forwarded you this post.

Look for my regular newsletter to come out the second week of the legislative session (session starts January 9, 2019).

This survey was not paid for with taxpayer dollars.

Apply to be a Legislative Page

September 7th, 2018

I invite students from the 41st District who are enrolled in a college or trade school to apply to be a page for the Nebraska Legislature. Pages respond to senators’ lights on the legislative floor, answer incoming calls to the chamber, prepare for committee hearings, and most importantly experience the Nebraska Legislature first-hand.

Pages are required to have a GPA between 2.5 and 4.0 and must be able to work 20 hours a week in Lincoln at the State Capitol. Applicants need to complete and submit an application to the Clerk’s Office, Room 2018, at the State Capitol. I would encourage you to also call my office and ask me to prepare a recommendation letter on your behalf.

Applications are due Friday, September 28th at 5:00 p.m. If you have any questions or wish to request a recommendation letter please call (402) 471-2631.

Click here to download the application.

 

My Office Has Moved

August 27th, 2018

Due to the HVAC renovation project happening in the Nebraska State Capitol, our office has been moved to the 8th floor. As always, if you are in Lincoln we would love to have residents of District 41 come visit! The 8th floor has restricted access so if my constituents would like to visit they’ll need to contact our office. They can do so by by calling (402)471-2631 and my staff will get you upstairs.

Town Halls Near You!

June 1st, 2018

I will be holding several town halls across the 41st district in the coming weeks. This will be a great opportunity for you to let me know what your concerns are with state government are, and for me to answer your questions about the 2018 legislative session. I hope to see many of you there!

Thursday, June 7th:
Loup City – 9:30 AM at the Frederick Hotel
St. Paul – 5:30 AM at Miletta Vista Winery

Wednesday, June 13th:
Neligh – 9:00 AM at the Neligh Senior Center
Pierce – 12:00 PM at the Pierce Senior Center
Burwell – 2:30 PM at The Spot (Formerly Barb’s Diner)
Ord – 6:30 PM at Scratchtown

By the time you read this, the legislature will have debated the governor’s tax relief proposal, LB 947. And hopefully, we will have debated a version of my LB 1084 as an amendment to another bill.

The approaches of 947 and 1084 are drastically different. LB 947 provides corporate income tax relief phased in over five years. It also provides for a refundable income tax credit based on the 2% of property taxes paid on ag land, and 1% paid on residential property, although many versions and amendments have been proposed. These amounts increase annually, with the ag refund growing by another 2% each year, to reach 20% in 10 years. The residential portion increases another 1% per year for five years, then grows at 2% per year until reaching 20% in thirteen years. However, residential credits are subject to a maximum of $25 dollars per home the first year, and growing to a maximum of $500 after thirteen years.

The amended version of LB 1084 raises the sales tax rate and cigarette taxes, reinstates the alternative minimum tax, repeals the personal property tax exemption, and places a surtax on high incomes. The revenue raised is then used to restore the remaining one year of cuts to K-12 education contained in last year’s LB 409, to fund a 30% allocated income tax similar to that found in the original TEEOSA formula, to fund $500 per student aid to all school districts, to fund an additional $80 million to special education reimbursement, and to further fund the property tax credit fund.

LB 1084 will also place a two year property tax asking cap on local school districts, and will call for a comprehensive study of how K-12 funding in Nebraska is structured.

As the legislature compares the proposals, I have asked my colleagues several questions. First, which proposal provides immediate and substantial property tax relief, and which proposal defers relief to many years down the road? Second, which proposal identifies how it is to be funded, and which proposal leaves it up to future leaders and future generations of Nebraskans to ensure it is paid for? Third, which proposal places limits on local taxing authorities to help ensure long term property tax relief, and which proposal does nothing to control property tax growth across the state?

For me, the answers to the above questions point in favor of LB 1084.

If you need to get in touch, the best way is to call my office and speak with my staff (or leave a message if you call over the lunch hour) at (402) 471-2631. My legislative website is news.legislature.ne.gov/dist41/ and my facebook page is at facebook.com/SenatorTomBriese. Lastly, be sure to sign up to my office’s mailing list to receive updates over the summer about town halls and events I will be holding near you. Sign up at: http://eepurl.com/dlRS6n

Dear neighbor,

While the road to property tax is still a narrow one, much will happen in the legislature in the week between the deadline for this column and its publication. But there is more going on in the body which is worth addressing.

My legislative bill 256 passed the legislature last week, and is currently headed to the Governor for his signature. That bill will allow our towns, cities, and villages to address vacant properties with ordinances to encourage making those properties available for new workforce housing. The bill is permissive legislation, which means that no community has to enact anything, only that they may, if necessary for their constituents. Lincoln and Omaha both already have similar ordinances they enacted years ago under their respective home rule charters. This bill will offer another valuable tool in the toolbox of economic developers in rural Nebraska.

The legislature also began last week to discuss the mid-biennium budget adjustments, as recommended by the Governor and amended by the Appropriations committee. There was lengthy and contentious discussion regarding LB 944, one of the three budget bills that prohibits Title X funds from going to an organization that performs or suggests abortion services. This bill was discussed for six hours and then was voted to advance to select file. This was the latest night that I have experienced on the floor of the legislature, as we adjourned around 11:30 PM.

I want to let you know that the registration for the Unicameral Youth Legislature is now available. This is a four day program for students who are interested in the legislative process. Each student is considered a senator who brings bills, listens to committee hearings, and practices debate in the historic Warner Chamber. There are scholarships available to cover costs. Please visit https://nebraskalegislature.gov/education/unicamyouth.php for more information.

Lastly, I’d like to remind you that my office is accepting applications for a temporary administrative assistant over the summer. If you know someone who would be interested in this, please pass the word along to them! Inquiries can be sent directly to me at tbriese@leg.ne.gov, using the subject line “Assistant.” If you have questions on this, or any other issues pertaining to your Legislature and state government, please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office at (402)471-2631.

Sen. Tom Briese invites students to youth legislature

High school students are invited to take on the role of state senators at the Unicameral Youth Legislature June 10-13. At the State Capitol, student senators will sponsor bills, conduct committee hearings, debate legislation and discover the unique process of the nation’s only unicameral.

The Unicameral Youth Legislature gives behind-the-scenes access to students who have an interest in public office, government, politics, law, public policy, debate or public speaking. Students will learn about the inner workings of the Legislature directly from senators and staff.

Registrants are encouraged to apply for a Greg Adams Civic Scholarship award, which covers the full cost of admission. Applicants must submit a short essay. Other scholarships are also available.

The Office of the Clerk of the Nebraska Legislature coordinates the Unicameral Youth Legislature. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Extension 4-H Youth Development Office coordinates housing and recreational activities as part of the Big Red Summer Camps program.

To learn more about the program, go to www.NebraskaLegislature.gov/uyl or call (402) 471-2788. The deadline for registration is May 15.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Heidi Uhing
Nebraska Legislature
Unicameral Information Office
(402) 471-2788
huhing@leg.ne.gov

The last two weeks in the legislature saw a flurry of activity. The deadline passed for designating priority bills, and three of my bills were designated as priorities. But first, let me explain what that means.

In a short 60-day session like the one we are in this year, four to six hundred bills can be introduced. Even accounting for the number of bills which are never advanced out of committee, there can be upwards of three hundred bills placed on general file, eligible for debate by the whole body. Obviously, between procedural motions, long debates, and filibusters, the requirement to hold three separate rounds of debate and voting in order to pass a bill is not possible to meet for every bill. This makes prioritization, especially in a short session, almost the only way a bill has a chance.

Each senator may designate one bill as his or her personal priority, which I did for my own LB 1084. The senator need not prioritize one of his or her own bills, and in fact this year Speaker Scheer designated my LB 845 as his personal priority bill. Each of the 14 standing committees, plus the Executive Board and Performance Audit Committee may designate two priority bills, and the State-Tribal Relations Committee gets one. The Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee designated my LB 1015 as one of their priority bills. Finally, the speaker may designate up to 25 bills as Speaker Priority bills.

For those of you keeping track at home, we’re now up to 107 priority bills, and during some years, not even all priority bills get the chance to be heard. However, I am deeply grateful to Speaker Scheer and the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee for giving a fighting chance to two pieces of common-sense legislation designed to protect Nebraskans.

LB 845 would protect parents with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of their disability in circumstances in which they would face losing custody of their children. My staff and I spent much of the last year working with many good people in the disability rights community in Nebraska, and I hope to see that work pay off.

LB 1015 would prevent the unauthorized disclosure of a person’s private medical information when he or she has been involved in a workplace accident.

I have several other bills which still have a chance at passage, and I will explain the circumstances surrounding those bills in a future column.

Lastly, I’d like to remind you that my office is accepting applications for a temporary administrative assistant over the summer. If you know someone who would be interested in this, please pass the word along to them! Inquiries can be sent directly to me at tbriese@leg.ne.gov, using the subject line “Assistant.” If you have questions on this, or any other issues pertaining to your Legislature and state government, please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office at (402)471-2631.

Sen. Tom Briese

District 41
Room #1019
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2631
Email: tbriese@leg.ne.gov
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