This week things were moving right along for a while, but we’ve become bogged-down with a filibuster on LB 46 which would create a “Choose Life” license plate. There was a tragedy on Thursday at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution. The legislature is now looking into this situation. I believe this will take priority on the floor in the week ahead, as we look into what happened. I would urge folks to wait for the State Patrol to finish its investigation. The report will no doubt contain recommendations for all to consider.
I introduced three bills this week. Two of these bills were controversial. LB 504 will establish a two-year moratorium on commercial wind energy development in the Sandhills, and LB 505 will require State agencies to report certain information about refugee re-settlement in Nebraska. These bills drew considerable attention from the public and testimony ran late into the evening. I was humbled by the people supporting these measures who came from far and wide in the middle of calving season to testify. Thank you!
March 8th I will introduce LB 501 which cleans up some language in the law governing the concealed carry of handguns on private property, and on March 9th I will introduce LB 576. This bill would put a four-year cap on property taxes beginning in 2019. I want people to know I understand the incredible importance of reducing property taxes in the district and Nebraska. This is a very old problem. The people of Nebraska have been very patient for decades as the legislature has tried and failed to solve this problem. At the very least, Nebraskans should not have to suffer future increases in property taxes while waiting for the legislature to fix this extremely complex problem. If we can pass LB 576 into law, hopefully a “cap” on property taxes looming in the future may generate the kind of political will necessary to solve this problem once and for all. I see my bill as a great “companion” to one or more of the other property tax bills being considered. I think it makes any other idea to fix this problem easier. The bottom line is kicking this can down the road again is not an option. Property taxes, especially on agricultural ground in the district, aren’t just “too high.” I believe they have reached the point where they are immoral.
The two committees I sit on (Government, Veterans and Military Affairs; and Banking, Commerce and Insurance) continue to hear bills every day. I chaired the Government committee this week when LR1CA was heard. This measure would put a question on the ballot in the next election that would amend Nebraska’s constitution requiring an ID to vote. There was a lot of public interest in this measure. Testimony for this hearing ran late into the evening.
I have four bills left to introduce:
LB 501. Clarifies laws concerning signage prohibiting concealed-carry.
Judiciary Committee, 8 March at 1:30pm
LB 576. Puts a cap on Property Taxes.
Revenue Committee, 9 March at 1:30pm
LB 503. Stops the State from collecting union dues from employees.
Business & Labor Committee, 20 March at 1:30pm
LB 502. Implements “Constitutional Carry” for guns.
Judiciary Committee, 23 March at 1:30pm.
I want to thank everyone who contacts my office letting us know where you stand on bills before the legislature. Please keep your calls and letters coming. The last day of committee hearings is the 23rd of March. After that, the legislature is in session all day (and probably into the night on some days!) Please contact the office if you would like to set up a time to visit with me, or you have any concerns about what is happening in YOUR legislature.
Senator Tom Brewer
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509