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We are over halfway finished with the 2018 legislative session. Last Tuesday was the last day for senators to pick which bill they want to designate as their priority bill. I made Senator Murante of Gretna’s LB 1009 my priority bill. Last week my bill LB 761 was heard in the Natural Resources committee and early this week LB 759 was heard in Revenue. I would like to update everyone on each of these bills, and go into more depth on my priority bill, LB 1009.
LB 761 is a simple bill that would increase the per diem for the three Oil and Gas Commissioners to $300 per day. The per diem has not been increased since 1979. The per diem would be paid out of the Oil and Gas Commission cash fund. The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s operation cost is paid primarily by the conservation tax proceeds collected by the Nebraska Department of Revenue from a tax assessed on the value of all oil and gas produced in the state.
LB 759 would reinstate a sales tax on the sale of memberships, admissions, and the purchases of any national accredited zoo or aquarium that is operated by a public agency or nonprofit corporation primarily for educational, scientific, or tourism purposes. This was the last sales tax exemption that the legislature granted, it only makes it fair that it is the first to be reinstated. We are in a budget shortfall and every penny counts.
LB 1009 would add language that would classify a super-two rural highway which currently isn’t in statute, this is important to district 44 since the first super-two highway in the state will run from McCook to North Platte. This bill also gives the authority to the Department of Transportation to increase the speed limit by five miles per hour on some state highways if they deem it appropriate. It would also allow the Department of Transportation to raise the maximum speed on segments of I-80 from 75 mph to 80 mph, after engineering and traffic investigations. This bill would put our roads and highways in compliance with federal recommended standards. I am confident that this bill will make it out of committee and will be heard by the full body of the legislature.
I would like to give an early reminder to any high school students that would be interested in participating in the Unicameral Youth Legislature program that is held every summer. This is a wonderful opportunity for young students to get to see the behind the scenes of how the nations only unicameral works. They participate in all the activities of a state senator and discuss issues important to the state. To learn more visit: nebraskalegislature.gov/education/unicamyouth.php