Omaha, Neb. — Nebraska lawmakers will return to their session Monday for the first time in almost four months with most of the same challenges they faced back in March, plus new questions about how the coronavirus will affect the state budget.
Most lawmakers still want to lower property taxes and pass a new tax incentive program for businesses, although it doesn’t appear that either measure can pass by itself because of the potential cost to the state.
Rural lawmakers are pushing for the property tax measure to ease pressure on farmers and ranchers, while the business incentives are mostly of interest to Omaha and Lincoln senators.
Property taxes and the incentives bill are arguably the most high-profile issues senators will confront, along with the potential impact of the coronavirus on the state. Lawmakers are also expected to consider legislation to further clamp down on abortion rights and impose anti-bias training requirements for police.
The training bill was on their radar before several high-profile police killings of Black citizens, but it’s likely to gain new significance in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests.
Lawmakers were forced to suspend their session on March 25 after passing an emergency coronavirus funding bill. It was the 43rd day of their 60-day session, and lawmakers are now bracing for long days and late nights until their new scheduled adjournment on Aug. 13.