On the Move
Several bills of interest have moved out of Committee and to the full Legislature making them eligible for full floor debate. Among them are LB 974, Nebraska’s priority bill for property tax relief. LB 974 advanced with an amendment and could be up for debate as early as next Wednesday (Feb.19). Also, the Revenue Committee advanced LB 1070. The bill which would clarify header trailers and head haulers qualify for the Nebraska ag machinery sales tax exemption. A committee amendment to the bill would also incorporate seed tenders. Lastly, the Transportation & Telecom Committee advanced LB 996 which deals with broadband mapping. NEFB had a few recommendations in committee to improve 996 which we’ll continue to pursue as the bill advances.

LB 1073 (Property Tax Relief & School Funding)

Nebraska Farm Bureau testified before the Education Committee this week to offer support for LB 1073. Introduced by Sen. Wendy DeBoer of Bennington, the bill would seek to provide property tax relief and modify school funding. The measure would implement basic funding aid for schools, drop ag land to 52% of value for purposes of school funding, and lower the local effort rate (i.e. the amount of resources schools are required to come up with locally in the state aid to school formula) to help urban residents and larger school districts. NEFB supported parts of the measure but indicated LB 974 is the primary vehicle Farm Bureau is supporting as it relates to property tax relief.

LB 1193 (Eliminating Special Elections)

Nebraska Farm Bureau offered support this week for a bill that would end special elections for issuing bonds, imposing or increasing a property tax levy, or exceeding property tax levy limitations. LB 1193 would require votes of that nature to only occur on statewide primary or general elections.

LB 1173 (Transferable Hunting Permits)

A bill to would allow landowners and lessees to apply for limited transferable permits to hunt antelope, deer, or elk when there’s evidence the animals are doing damage to a landowner’s property has the backing of the Nebraska Farm Bureau. Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard introduced LB 1173. A hearing on the bill was heard before the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee this week.

LB 1205 (Renewable Energy Standard)

Nebraska Farm Bureau offered opposition this week to LB 1205. Introduced by Sen. John McCollister, the bill would phase in a statewide renewable energy mandate. Under the bill Nebraska public power entities would be required to have renewable power generation equal to 35% of annual power generation by the end of 2022, 50% renewable by the end of 2026, and 75% renewable by the end of 2030.

LR300CA (Consumption Tax)

The Revenue Committee heard testimony this week on LR300CA, a Constitutional Amendment brought forward by Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard which would replace property, income, and sales taxes with a single-rate consumption tax. NEFB is monitoring the proposal. NEFB policy recommends exploration of a “Fair Tax”.

Beginning Farmers Board
Nebraska Farm Bureau shared support for Nebraska Farm Bureau State Board Member Dave Nielsen and Dawson County Farm Bureau Member Britt Anderson as both had hearings in front of the Agriculture Committee this week regarding their appointments to the Nebraska Beginning Farmer Board. The Ag Committee will be tasked with advancing the appointment recommendations to the full legislature for final approval.

Moving forward
This month brings and end to legislative hearings and the deadline for senators and committees to designate their priority bills. Bills that receive priority designations have a greater chance of being debated during the session. Once those are made, it provides a better idea of how the rest of the session will play out.

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