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This year’s Legislative Session is now a week underway. As of last week, I have introduced ten new bills and a legislative resolution. Some of these bills will have a direct impact on the people of the 44th district. A couple of the important bills are: LB 758, and LB 761. The Legislative Resolution, LR 266, will also directly impact Southwestern Nebraska.
Legislative Resolution 266 asks Congress to require the Bureau of Reclamation to allow transferability of permits for lots around Hugh Butler Lake, Harry Strunk Lake and Swanson Lake all located in Southwestern Nebraska. The Bureau of Reclamation has mandated that trailer home owners at these lakes vacate by 2020. Many of you have had conversations with me about your concerns with how the Bureau of Reclamation and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is handling this issue.
LB 758 would authorize the four NRD’s that own the N-CORPE project and the Upper Republican NRD that owns the Rock Creek Project to make payments to the county to make up for lost property taxes on the land they own. They currently have been paying these property taxes, but under protest, because the state constitution says a government entity cannot pay property taxes on property being used for a public purpose. The matter went to the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) which ruled in favor of the NRDs. The counties are currently appealing this ruling.
LB 758 will make it clear that the NRDs will be allowed to make up those property taxes. The counties and school districts have been getting the money and have been spending that money. This just assures the NRDs that they are legally allowed to pay the taxes and will not be sued for doing just that. One aspect that we may look at while in committee would be allowing the money that has been paid to the counties for property taxes to not be required to be paid back. This is one option that may be looked at for this bill.
LB 761 would allow an increase in the per diem for the individuals who serve on the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Currently, Hitchcock County is the largest oil producing county in Nebraska. We are fortunate to have an individual from Trenton who is on the commission. Currently, the maximum per diem per day is $50. This has not been raised since 1959. LB 761 would raise that per diem to $300. This money comes from the fees that are collected from oil producers. So no state tax dollars would be used for this purpose.
I always enjoy hearing from the Nebraskans I represent. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you might have. My email address is email@example.com and my phone number is (402) 471-2805.You can read more about bills and other work of the Legislature at www.nebraskalegislature.gov, and you can click on the Live Video Streaming NET logo to watch sessions, hearings, and other Capitol events.