Photo by George Lauby
Public hearings for all committees began last week and they started out with several issues that may be of interest to you. They include:
• LB 5 exempts social security benefits and military retirement income from income taxation.
• LB 13 requires radon resistant construction for new residential construction.
• LB 15 updates portions of the Nebraska Pesticide Act by adding statutory definitions for both aerial pesticide applicators and businesses and allowing alleged violations against aerial pesticide applicators to be referred to the Department of Aeronautics.
• LB 17 and LB 74 exempts social security benefits from state income taxation.
• LB 58 adopts the Workplace Privacy Act which will restrict employers from requesting or requiring that employees or applicants provide an employer with account information so that the employer can access their private social networking site profile or account.
• LB 60 removes Knox County from the brand inspection area.
• LB 65 authorizes counties to set sheriff's fees and commissions.
• LB 75 and LB 176 exempts military retirement benefits from taxation as prescribed.
• LB 116 provides requirements for dual-enrollment courses.
• LB 128 creates the offense of disarming a police officer.
• LB 132 adopts the Skin Cancer Prevention Act which will reduce the risk of preventable skin cancers by making it unlawful for an owner or a lessee of a tanning facility to allow a person less than 18 years old to use tanning equipment at a tanning facility.
• LB 173 will allow for state ID's from all states to be used to establish proof of age for the purpose of purchasing or consuming alcoholic liquor.
• LB 180 provides for a waiver of education-related fees for dependents of veterans.
Water farm funds
• LB 185 authorizes state assistance in the form of a loan of $40 million for streamflow enhancement projects undertaken by natural resources districts (NRDs). This bill directly affects the natural resources district in Lincoln County. It is a bill similar to LB 1094 (2008), which loaned $9 million to NRDs to pay water right holders who agreed to lease and forgo water use to assist in meeting state compliance with the Republican River Compact, because the NRDs were unable to use their bonding authority to pay the water right holders, due to a lawsuit. LB 185 requires that the loan be repaid by June 30, 2018.
• LB 216 provides financial and other assistance for young people transitioning from state foster care to independent adulthood.
• LB 227 excludes retirement benefits from state income taxation.
• LB 238 exempts social security and certain retirement benefits from state income taxation.
• LB 249 adds an exemption to hours of service requirements for transport of agricultural commodities or farm supplies within 150 miles of the source, wholesale or retail distribution point, during planting and harvesting season.
• LB 265 allows foster children to access kinship and relative foster care more easily.
• LB 297 adds benefits for mental injury for coroners acting as first responders.
• This session I have introduced five bills. They are:
• LB 251 increases a fee that rental companies charge for renting private motor vehicles for less than 30 days.
• LB 435 authorizes a one-time use of a brand registered with a state other than Nebraska to brand cattle imminently being exported out of Nebraska.
• LB 436 clarifies that franchisees are not employees but independent contractors based on the Federal Trade Commission's definition of a franchise relationship.
• LB 437 transfers safety inspection programs from the Department of Labor to the State Fire Marshall's office.
• LB 544 provides for waivers of privilege to veterinarians who release information about the risk to adjacent livestock for exposure to bovine trichomoniasis.
I will provide additional information on each of them as the session progresses.
The Legislature's Committee on Revenue (of which I am a member) will hold hearings on LB 405 and LB 406, both introduced by Sens. Beau McCoy and Brad Ashford on behalf of Gov. Heineman.
LB 405 eliminates approximately $2.4 billion in sales tax exemptions and the result is the total elimination of both the individual income tax and the corporate income tax.
LB 406 eliminates approximately $395 million in sales tax exemptions, eliminates the corporate income tax and exempts the first $12,000 of retirement income for married couples and $6,000 for single individuals.
Both bills exempt food from taxation. I expect there will be a number of people coming to testify on those bills.
Lincoln County rancher and state senator Tom Hansen writes every two weeks while the Legislature is in session.
You can email him at email@example.com or call him at 402-471-2729.
For more about the Legislature, including reports, committee hearings, floor debates and other senators, click HERE.