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 We’re losing a very important part of our community when we force them to leave with outdated tax laws.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.
This past 30 days has been a whirlwind of activity. The 105th Legislature convened on Wednesday, January 4th. A lot has happened. The Lincoln paper referred to the 4th of January as a “political earthquake.” I have been appointed to be the Vice-Chairman of the Government, Military and Veteran Affairs Committee. I am also serving on the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee. I have also been appointed to serve as Chairman of the State-Tribal Relations Committee. The legislature is in session all morning and I’m in committees all afternoon every day of the week.
My office is in Room 1202, which is located in the hallway to the right of the South entrance of the Capitol. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org and the office phone number is: (402) 471-2628 / 2606. My office staff consists of my Administrative Assistant, Julie Condon, and my Legislative Aide, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Tony Baker. Please contact Julie for scheduling appointments and Tony for legislative issues. Their email addresses are: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a Legislative page on the State of Nebraska Legislative’s website and will be posting regular updates. You may find my website by going to www.nebraskalegislature.gov. This website is a great place to follow the Legislature and find information on the bills you are interested in.
I’ve introduced twelve bills during this session. I’ve introduced three different bills related to Veterans. I’ve also introduced three bills related to gun rights, and four other bills concerning a variety of topics. Thus far I’ve also co-sponsored another eighteen bills. Let me know if there is something you would like to discuss.
I made sure I was able to introduce two very important bills that address serious problems I have heard from one end of the district to the other. LB 576 is a very simple bill that cap’s 2017 and 2018 property taxes at the 2016 level to give the people the promise their property taxes will not go up while the legislature works on finally solving this difficult problem. I also introduced LB 504 which puts a two-year moratorium on the construction of commercial wind energy projects in the Sand Hills while a Task Force studies the impact this has on this important region in our State.
If you follow the legislature, you’ll see that there is considerable gridlock going on right now. The last election brought significant change to the political ideology of the body. Though we are technically a non-partisan body, there are those who now find themselves in the minority of political opinion and they are not happy about it. Sadly, this results in not much else getting done. I’m confident the will of the Nebraska voters will ultimately break this gridlock and we will be able to move forward on the State’s business.
Thank you for all of your calls, emails and letters we’ve received from the 43rd District. I really appreciate how eager people in my district are to get involved in our State Government. Please stop by the office to say hi if you are in town. I am working on a couple of opportunities to have some Town Hall meetings in the 43rd District in the near future. Please watch for more information concerning this.
Senator Tom Brewer
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 43rd 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 me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.
Sen. Tom Brewer