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Throughout the past week, my office worked with many interested parties and Senators to reach compromise on LB227. Senator Lathrop, who initially opposed changing the existing Right to Farm Act, filed amendment 1485. AM1485 was the compromise amendment and is intended to appease most parties. It then appeared on select file last Thursday, at which time the amendment was discussed on the floor. It was received well and the negotiation process was praised by other Senators. The bill quickly passed on to final reading. I anticipate it being signed into law. This legislation expands protection for agriculturalists interested in growing or changing their operation.
In other news, Senator Chambers’ annual bill to repeal the death penalty was discussed on the floor last Thursday as well. Friday was a short day of session – we passed multiple bills through final reading to the Governor’s desk. Senator Dorn’s bill, LB472, to allow Gage County to levy a sales tax to pay for their Federal judgment, was indeed vetoed by the Governor on Wednesday. Senator Dorn’s motion to override the veto on LB 472 is scheduled on the agenda for April 30th. At present, I do believe Senator Dorn has enough votes to override the veto, but time will tell. In general, I disagree with allowing counties to levy a sales tax, but doing so seems to be a more equitable way of satisfying the federal judgement than placing it all on Gage County property taxpayers.
On a personal note, I’m heartened by the start of planting season across Nebraska. Long nights are scheduled to begin next week, and it’s days and nights like those when I long to be in the tractor more than just weekends. But when engaged on the farm, I remember why it’s imperative I am here at the Capitol. Our district needs a voice here in the budget discussion so we can continue our livelihood and operate our businesses. That means solving the issues related to property taxes. We’re finally to the point when we can make that happen. We will begin the budget process May 2nd. For the following ten days, we’ll debate our state budget and how taxes will be spread out among Nebraskans. My goal is to rebalance our revenue streams within the State of Nebraska. Not everyone agrees on how our state should get there, but I am open to all ideas, keeping the final goal of long-term property tax reform in mind.
If you would like to speak directly to me about legislative issues, join the Great Plains conference call Tuesday at 8 AM CST and McCook Chamber Conference call Thursday at 8 AM CST. 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.