The status of the Legislature’s 2020 session is . . . uncertain, unsettled, fluid,

This morning, Speaker Scheer announced that proceedings have been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 situation.

Senators might reconvene next week if emergency appropriations are necessary. 

We are in a sixty-day session, and 20 meeting days remain.  There is no constitutional or statutory deadline for completing that other than the beginning of a new session in 2021, so this will be day by day. 

At adjournment last Thursday, the mid-biennium deficit appropriations bills saw first round approval.  Further action had been scheduled for Tuesday, with a target final approval set for Friday.  Though technically not necessary since we are in the middle of a two-year budget, the measures do provide funding for flood damage repair, prison salary increases, and other pressing matters.  Whether the anticipated emergency appropriations will be included in these bills or moved separately remains to be determined.

In the meantime, a lot of progress has been made on myriad bills covering myriad issues.  The outlook for these is now unclear.  Three major issues unresolved are ImagiNE (LB 720), the UNMC project, and property taxes.  ImagiNE is ready, set, go.  The same can be said for the very timely UNMC bill.  But the property tax issue is stalemated, and for the moment these are intertwined. 

The Revenue Committee announced a revised version of the school funding/property tax bill.  Instead of LB 974, they are now using LB 1106, a shell bill introduced and prioritized by Speaker Scheer apparently for such a contingency.  It has not been officially reported; we have not seen the text.  Apparently, though, there is still resistance from the schools.  Using 1106 means that General File debate starts from scratch.  It can go three hours and then have the support of at least 33 senators or suffer the fate of the previous bill.  Or perhaps the Speaker waives that, as he did with the budget.  

With COVID response affecting so much if this, we are also involved on the federal front and will pass along any information on congressional or administration actions that could affect businesses. Check the Chamber’s COVID-19 resource page for updates on this and related matters.

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.