The Nebraska Department of Transportation announced a new website dedicated to the 2019 flood on April 4th. Nebraskan’s will be able to view updates on the progress on repairs to State highways and bridges as connectivity is restored by going online at: https://dot.nebraska.gov/news-media/nebraska-flood-2019/.
Governor Ricketts signed LB 399, introduced by Senator Slama (LD1), into law last week. LB 399 passed the Legislature on a 44-2-1 vote and updates Nebraska’s law on American civics in public schools. The Governor also signed LB 302, introduced by Senator Hughes (LD44), which merges the Department of Environmental Quality and the Nebraska Energy Office into a single agency. Starting July 1, 2019, the new Department of Environment and Energy will be under the direction of current Department of Environmental Quality Director Jim Macy.
On Tuesday, April 2nd, we began full-day debate at the Legislature and advanced multiple priority bills from General File. This week we advanced LB 268 (Friesen, LD34) which would expand broadband access by making it easier for customers to switch telecommunications companies. Under LB 268, customers would only be required to show that he or she is not receiving high-speed broadband service at the time of application to be eligible switch service providers. In passing LB 268 we hope to encourage larger telecommunications companies to invest in new rural broadband service or maintain current infrastructure. Increasing access to rural broadband is extremely important as we grow the communities in our state. I supported LB 268 and the bill advanced to Select File on a 37-0 vote.
We also debated LB 483 (Erdman, LD47) which would change farmland value for property tax purposes based on the income it can produce. Beginning in the 2020 tax year, the newly created Agricultural Land Valuation Board would create an agricultural land valuation manual that county assessors would determine capitalized net earning capacity. Agricultural productivity value would be determined by: dividing agricultural and horticultural land into major use categories described in the bill and then dividing those categories into subclasses based on soil productivity classifications; computing a net revenue based on an eight-year Olympic average of annual net incomes, in which the highest and lowest one-year values are discarded; and dividing the net revenue by a discount rate determined by each county’s eight-year Olympic average of annual precipitation. LB 483 stalled on General File but may come back for a second round of debate.
Live coverage of the full session of the Unicameral is available at www.netnebraska.org/capitol.
It is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage my constituents to reach out to me and I look forward to hearing from you.