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On Friday, February 10th, I introduced my very first bill, LB 121, in front of the Revenue Committee. Implemented over the next five years, this bill ultimately exempts $50,000 in military retired pay from Nebraska individual income tax. We had the support of various military groups. Eight people testified in support of the bill including a retired general officer. Over fifty veterans filled the room. I was so honored by this experience. All Nebraskan’s need a tax cut, and there are a lot of bills that will do that this session. I have my eye on several and will keep you posted on their progress as they move through the committees, but we need to fix this. All of our neighboring states have reduced or no state income tax on military retirement pay. We make it hard for Veterans to retire in Nebraska. We’re losing a very important part of our community when we force them to leave with outdated tax laws. I think LB 121 is a good first step.
On Tuesday, February 14th, I will testify in front of the Agriculture Committee for LB 499. I introduced this bill to require out-of-state bee keepers to site their hives temporarily transported to Nebraska at least three miles away from a registered Nebraska bee keepers hive. The intent is to help prevent Nebraska bee keepers from being forced to compete with out of state hives and seriously impacting their honey crop. Our neighboring states all have laws that do this, so the problem has moved to Nebraska because we do not. Out of state bee hives are welcome in Nebraska, but they need to be respectful of our bee keepers when they come.
Wednesday, February 15th, I will testify in front of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee for LB 497. I introduced this bill to update and harmonize current law in order to make the necessary provisions for Nebraska to utilize a new Department of Defense program that allows the official record Department of Defense Form 214 (DD Form 214) to be accessed and shared by veterans electronically. As it is, the official artifact veterans currently use is the paper form with a raised seal and original ink signature. This bill brings the law up to date in order to give veterans the opportunity to leverage new information technology. Nebraska will be the third state to use this new capability if this passes.
On the floor of the Legislature this past week, we continued to debate and amend the permanent rules. The last election changed the political ideology of the legislature, so it’s no surprise this has been a very contentious issue that has taken up the majority of the time on the floor with little or no progress. This controversy has forced the temporary rules to be extended twice, which is unprecedented. They expire Tuesday. Hopefully after that, we will adopt permanent rules and be able to move past this phase and move forward with the work that the people sent us here to do.
This Saturday, February 18th, I will be having my first townhall meeting since the election. Please join me at the American Legion in Gordon, NE from 3:00-5:00 p.m. I’ve been keeping abreast of the amount of snowfall we’ve received in the district, and the affect it has had on the cattle and calving. I’ve checked in with the Governor’s office and they are also monitoring the situation. I want to hear from you about this and other important issues, and fill you in on what’s been happening here at the Capitol. Thanks to all for your help in keeping me updated, and I look forward to seeing you this Saturday. As always, please feel free to contact my office with your concerns.