We had a short week this week with a recess day on Friday. Floor debate on priority bills continues, although we are way behind compared to previous years. I worry we will not be able to hear all the priority bills. The bottom line on bills is if it has not been designated a priority bill by a senator, a committee, or the speaker, I seriously doubt it will make it to the calendar and be heard on the floor.
I introduced two bills this week. LB 501 clarifies language in the law about the requirement to post signs that govern the concealed carry of handguns on private property. Since it was a “gun related” bill it faced a spirited debate from Sen. Chambers (LD11) and a lot of questioning from the other members of the Judiciary Committee.
LB 576 would put a four-year cap on property taxes beginning in 2019. This bill drew a lot of attention in the Revenue Committee. I was very impressed by the number of folks from the district who came to testify. As I have said before, Nebraskans should not have to suffer future increases in property taxes while waiting for the legislature to fix this extremely complex problem. That said, I am not hopeful this bill will make it out of the Revenue Committee, and even if it did, it wouldn’t be heard on the floor because of how little time is left in the session. I suspect a number of other Property Tax measures will face the same fate. During my testimony for this bill, I publicly stated I would make it my priority bill next session if the measure fails to make it to the floor this year.
The Natural Resources Committee met in Executive Session this week. A motion was made to kill LB 504, which is the bill I introduced to put a two-year moratorium on commercial wind energy in the Sandhills. The motion was defeated so the bill remains “held in committee.” The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Dan Hughes (LD44) did go on record opposing the bill. When the committee report is published I will name how the Senators voted on the kill motion. At present, the committee has not voted to advance the bill. Even though a motion to advance the bill would likely fail, I want that vote anyway. At the very least, the people of Nebraska, and in particular those in the Sandhills, deserve to know how the Senators of this committee would vote on a motion to advance this important issue. I would urge my constituents to contact Chairman Hughes and members of Natural Resources Committee and ask them to vote on a motion to advance LB 504.
The two committees I sit on (Government, Veterans and Military Affairs; and Banking, Commerce and Insurance) continue to hear bills every day. We are meeting in executive session and voting on a large number of bills.
I have two bills left to introduce:
LB 503. Stops the State from collecting union dues from employees.
Business & Labor Committee, 20 March at 1:30pm, room 2102.
LB 502. Implements “Constitutional Carry” for guns.
Judiciary Committee, 23 March at 1:30pm, Room 1113.
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