Senators returned for the 2020 session on January 8.  This is called the short session, but even before the April 23 target adjournment date it is bound to feel very long.  On just the opening day, 120 new bills were introduced, and by noon today the total surpassed 300.  

On Monday, floor consideration began on the numerous measures held over from 2019.  Debate has alternated between filibustering some bills and relatively quick approval of others. 

Among those advanced is LB 153, which would exempt 50 percent of military retirement pay from taxation.  The Chamber has long supported this policy.  It will make Nebraska an even more military friendly state, and it will also act as a workforce development measure, as Nebraska competes against states that exempt all or a portion of this income. 

Committee hearings commence on January 21.  New proposals to receive consideration include data privacy protection (LB 746); subjecting all services to sales taxes (including business to business transactions) and lowering the tax rate (LB 946); exempting Social Security from taxation (LB 819); exempting all retirement income from taxation (LB 806); taxing candy, soft drinks, and bottled water (LB 810); increasing the minimum wage for tipped employees (LB 915); and not necessarily competing proposals to prohibit local regulation of plastic grocery bags and other containers (LB 861), and to impose a five cent tax on plastic bags, with a portion of the revenues used to provide the public with reusable bags (LB 905).  There are many more, and there are still many new bills to be unveiled.  New bill introductions run through January 23. 

ImagiNE Nebraska (LB 720) remains the Chamber’s highest priority.  The bill remains on second round of consideration.  An amendment is expected that will be both technical and substantive.  Advancement of 720 is tied to property tax legislation.  That will hold up further floor debate until the property tax bill receives a committee hearing and advances through the process to catch up with 720.  It is expected that this will be expedited. 

The Revenue Committee introduced the new property tax proposal on Monday.  LB 974 would, in essence, provide more funding for school districts and lower the taxable value of real property for school tax purposes.  The Revenue Committee hearing on the bill is set for January 22.  

We are studying all of these proposals closely and will keep you informed. 

Jennifer Creager
Senior Director, Public Policy
808 Conagra Dr., Ste. 400, Omaha, NE 68102
Lincoln Office: 402-474-4960

Refer to the Public Policy page on the Greater Omaha Chamber’s website or contact Jennifer Creager or Tim Stuart at 402.474.4960 if you have questions. 

Also, click here if you are interested in reading the Legislature’s Update of the happenings in Lincoln.