The 2020 session of the Legislature is in its fourth week, and days are split between morning floor debate and afternoon hearings. In each case, proceedings swing between the quick and decisive and the stalemate.
With a total of over 490 substantive new bills and resolutions introduced—each requiring a committee hearing—senators, staff, and testifiers are busy.
Committees are looking at proposals aimed at business regulation, business deregulation, workforce development, public assistance cliffs, local government processes, income tax reductions, sales tax base expansion, and myriad other matters.
Last week, the Revenue Committee held a hearing on LB 974, the main property tax relief proposal. There was support for the bill from agricultural organizations and some business representatives. There was opposition testimony from a number of school districts, which centered in large part on the overall funding loss various schools could suffer, as well as the growth limitations. The Revenue Committee has met subsequently to see if those concerns can be addressed.
Next week (Thursday the 6th), the Revenue Committee will hold a hearing on matters related to LB 720 (ImagiNE Nebraska.) This will include both technical and substantive amendments. It will also consider LB 1084, the Nebraska Transformational Projects Act. This would provide funding for a major facility at the University of Nebraska Medical Center that in cooperation with the US Department of Defense would be available to respond to infectious disease outbreaks and nuclear/chemical/biological attacks. Another big day for us in Revenue.
In the meantime, senators have designated only three session priority bills so far (one of which is ImagiNE). But this will pick up. There are no “minor” bills when it comes to a legislative priority; every measure introduced has a story and supporters. It is a one-time choice. Senators can pick just one, committees may designate two, and there is no guarantee that a priority bill will even receive floor consideration much less approval.
The Revenue hearing on February 6, the emergence of the property tax proposal, and the priority bill selection will set the map as all of this moves forward.
We will keep you informed as all of this develops.
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.