Sen. Tom Hansen
There had been a lot of speculation as to who the Governor might appoint as the new Lieutenant Governor – well, he surprised all of us this week with his announcement of former Sen. Lavon Heidemann, who was just elected to the University's Board of Regents. I think Sen. Heidemann is an excellent choice and will do a great job as Lieutenant Governor.
Last week the Revenue Committee held public hearings on Governor Heineman's tax reform plan.
The hearing on LB 405 lasted late into the evening and testimony was accepted by anyone who wished to testify. Many people from across Nebraska had the opportunity to express their views on the proposals.
LB 405 eliminates individual and corporate incomes taxes and pays for it by reinstating $2.4 billion in existing sales tax exemptions; and 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.
(The Committee later killed both bills.)
This week's list of public hearings included:
• LB 10 and LB 189 both deal with seat belts. LB 10, introduced by Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha, requires all occupants in the motor vehicle to use a seatbelt. LB 189, introduced by Sen. John Harms of Scottbluff, makes not using a seatbelt a primary offense and increases penalties.
• LB 118 makes texting while operating a motor vehicle a primary offense instead of what is currently a secondary offense.
• LB 351 establishes that a cognitive test be used at the Department of Motor Vehicles as a screening tool for persons 80 and above.
• LB 437 (my bill) proposes to transfer safety inspection programs for boilers, elevators and amusement rides from the Department of Labor to the State Fire Marshall's office.
• LB 530 adopts the Foster Care Reimbursement Rate Committee's recommended rates for foster care reimbursement. As written, the bill has a fiscal note of $2.1 million.
• LB 556 requires the provision of telehealth medical and behavioral health services for children in public schools.
• LB 590 allows betting machines for historic horse races at Nebraska's thoroughbred race tracks.
• LR41CA is a constitutional amendment that places allowing betting machines for historic horse races on the ballot for voter approval.
• LB 605 requires the Department of Health and Human Services to create a Telehealth Behavioral Health Services Program.
The Education Committee held public hearings on several measures dealing with the state aid formula. LB 505 changes the elementary class size allowance. LB 604 changes computation of the cost growth factor relating to state aid to schools. LB 357 changes a budget limitation exemption under the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act.
The Agriculture Committee will have public hearings on bills related to the Livestock Brand Act.
LB 654 provides that the brand inspection area encompasses the entire state; LB 647 changes cattle identification provisions of the Animal Importation Act; LB 435 (my bill) provides for out-of-state brand permits; and LB 587 changes the Livestock Brand Act by listing what a brand inspector can accept as evidence of ownership.