Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 at 8:55am

Senator Lydia Brasch Legislative Update!

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Weekly Session Update – February 2

Monday, Jan. 26th, marked the 13th day of the Legislature which started off great as District 16 Pastor Russ Faust of Kennard led us in prayer. We were also blessed to have Pastor Gregg Gaham from Oakland lead us in prayer on Friday. Thank you to both who travelled to Lincoln to grace us in prayer.

By Monday, a total of 16 bills advanced out of committee and were sent to General File for first round of floor debate. Of those bills, all but LB 177 were immediately heard. LB 177 was the first bill debated on Tuesday. LB 177 changes a few provisions related to board members of public power districts. The main component of the bill prohibits an employee of a public power district from serving as a member of the board of directors of any other public power district. Essentially, the bill attempts to manage conflict of interest situations. Concerns were expressed by two District 16 public power districts in Cuming and Burt Counties.

The rest of the week’s floor debate was consumed by LB 88. This bill increases the marriage license fee from $15 to $50. Senator Chambers objected to the fee increase, arguing it was a tax and not a fee and criticized the increase being over 300% on those seeking marriage. I am also opposed. As a state, we should value ease of access for those desiring to enter into the serious commitment of marriage.

The Nebraska Association of School Boards also held a luncheon. Several District 16 school superintendents and board members attended. This offered an important opportunity to discuss two of my bills. LB 350 reduces agricultural and horticultural land valuations from 75% to 65%. This bill offers needed relief to our farmers who make up less than 3% of the state’s population but carry 30% of the tax burden for education. LB 351 provides an increase of income tax directed to local school districts from the current 2% to 20%. This helps schools receive important sources of local revenue and provides equitable distribution of the tax burden for education. The bills strike a crucial balance between two vital interests.

The Legislature was honored to have Chief Justice Michael Heavican deliver the State of the Judiciary address Thursday. Chief Justice Heavican outlined some problems addressing the justice system such as prison reform and shortage of rural attorneys, as well as advancements such as improvements in the juvenile justice system.

Finally, I was pleased to be visited by a number of wonderful folks of the District, ranging from individuals visiting from the FFA and FBLA to those interested in issues related to gambling and motorcycle helmet laws. As always, I encourage you to visit Room 1016 if you are at the Capitol.

Please contact me, my administrative aide, Katie Wattermann, or my legislative aide, Tom Venzor, with questions or thoughts at (402)471-2728 or by e-mail at lbrasch@leg.ne.gov. If you would like to follow the Legislature online visit http://www.netnebraska.org/basic-page/television/live-demand-state-government or watch live broadcasting on NET2.

Keeping the Good Life Growing in Nebraska,
Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16

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