Introductions embrace property tax aid, schooling, broadband


LINCOLN–Nebraska state senators introduced various bills in the first eight days of the 2021 legislative session.

Property tax relief was at the top of the list for many senators during last year’s session, and that focus will continue into the 2021 session. Bills related to property tax relief included the following:

  •  LB292, introduced by Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson, would allow the county treasurer to accept partial payments for the discharge of current or delinquent real property taxes, personal property taxes, or both.
  • LR22CA, introduced by Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn, would amend the state constitution to limit the total amount of property tax revenue raised by political subdivisions.
  • LB454, introduced by Friesen, would adopt the School Property Tax Stabilization Act for stabilization payments to each eligible school district. This bill would also change agricultural land valuation to 75% of its actual value except for school district taxing.
  • LR13CA, introduced by Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, would amend the Nebraska Constitution to limit funding for schools that come from property taxes.

Several of the bills introduced related to education.

  • LB281, introduced by Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston, would require instructional programs about child sexual abuse prevention for students and staff.
  • LB322, introduced by Sen. Matt Williams of Gothenburg, would adopt an act to establish a statewide, anonymous reporting system called the Safe2HelpNE report line to support threat assessment teams. It would also reduce the risk and incidents of violence resulting in harm to someone, others or school property.
  • LR21CA, introduced by Sen. Tom Briese of Albion, would amend the state constitution to require the state to pay classroom expenses related to public elementary and secondary schools.
  • LB396, introduced by Sen. Tom Brandt of Plymouth, would adopt the Nebraska Farm-to-School Program Act. The program would connect elementary and secondary schools with local farmers to provide schools with minimally processed foods. Brandt’s proposal includes encouraging students to develop healthy eating habits while improving the income of Nebraska farmers.

Bill related to health care included:

  • LB52, introduced by Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha, would mean no one could be liable in a civil action for injury or death resulting from COVID-19 exposure.
  • LB314, introduced by Sen. Rich Pahls of Omaha, would change provisions related to telehealth insurance coverage, making the reimbursement rate for a telehealth consultation, at a minimum, be the same as for a comparable in-person consultation.

Additional bill introductions included the following:

  • LB241, introduced by Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha, would adopt the Meatpacking Employees COVID-19 Protection Act. The Act would mandate 6 feet of workspace, personal protective equipment and paid sick leave for all meatpacking workers.
  • LB388, introduced by Friesen, would adopt the Nebraska Broadband Bridge Act to facilitate and fund the development of broadband networks in unserved and underserved areas of the state.
  • LR2CA, introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, would amend the Nebraska Constitution to legalize cannabis for persons 21 and older and require legislation.
  • LB481, introduced by Sen. Terrell McKinney of Omaha, would adopt the Marijuana Conviction Clean Slate Act, decriminalizing the possession of marijuana and synthetic cannabinoid offenses and drug paraphernalia offenses.
  • LB472, introduced by Sen. Wendy DeBoer of Bennington, would require law enforcement officers to intervene to prevent or stop another officer from using excessive force against a person.
  • LB230, introduced by Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha, would prohibit discrimination in public accommodations, employment and under the Nebraska Fair Housing Act based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • LB266, introduced by Sen. John McCollister of Omaha, would adopt the Renewable Energy Standards Act to encourage the development of renewable electric power generation and encourage the use of renewable electric power to meet consumers’ needs.
  • LB349, introduced by McKinney, would create El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Malcolm X Day scheduled for May 19 to recognize his contribution to society.