Bills introduced in the Nebraska Legislature on opening day Wednesday -
Published Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 1:00 am / Updated at 10:42 pm
Bills introduced in the Nebraska Legislature on opening day Wednesday

Among other bills introduced Wednesday:

Taxes, taxes, taxes

Four state senators introduced the first of what are expected to be several tax-cut proposals this year.

Omaha Sen. Beau McCoy, a gubernatorial candidate, offered LB 669 to put $85 million more into the state's property tax credit fund and LB 670 to reduce the assessed value of agricultural land to 65 percent of market value.

Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, another gubernatorial candidate, offered LB 721 to cut income tax rates 20 percent, reduce ag land valuations to 65 percent of market value, exempt Social Security and military retirement benefits from income taxes, and add $45 million to the property tax credit fund.

Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion offered LB 708 to exempt Social Security and LB 709 to exempt military retirement payments from state income tax. Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln would increase the child care tax credit with LB 691.

Voting matters

Nebraskans could register to vote or update their registrations online under LB 661, introduced by Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha on behalf of Secretary of State John Gale. The registrations would incorporate copies of signatures provided to the Department of Motor Vehicles for driver's licenses or state identification cards.

All-mail elections could be held in any size county under LB 663, also introduced by Krist for the secretary of state. Current law limits elections by mail to small population counties or, in larger counties, to special elections involving ballot issues.

LB 662, the third Krist/Gale bill, would tighten up existing voter identification laws. It would not require all voters to show identification but would limit the documents that would be accepted from first-time voters and from people who have moved since voting last.

Schools synch up:

LB 682, introduced by Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk, aims to make it easier for small school districts to expand their course offerings by sharing teachers and classes. It would require districts with fewer than 650 students to ally themselves with other districts, all of which would adopt the same daily and yearly calendars.

Rules is rules

Three bills introduced by Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue seek to shine a light on the state government's rule-making process. LB 718 would require state agencies to post fiscal impact statements for rules changes and to disclose upcoming rules reviews.

LB 719 would make public comments on proposed rules changes and the agency's response to comments part of the public record. LB 720 would allow people to petition for reconsideration and revision of rules.

Law for lawyers

LB 672, introduced by Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, would make it a legal duty for attorneys not to drive after drinking or using drugs. Chambers had filed a complaint with the Nebraska Supreme Court against Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha after Lautenbaugh was arrested for drunk driving. The complaint was dismissed.

BPA be gone

LB 696, introduced by Sen. Ken Haar of Malcolm, would ban bisphenol A, commonly called BPA, from food containers and packaging intended for children and require other packaging to carry a warning label. The federal government now bans the chemical from baby bottles, sippy cups and baby food containers because of concerns it may harm development. — Martha Stoddard

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