NEBRASKA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

LB 111

The Government Committee has advanced LB 111 out of committee and it has been placed on the legislative agenda. Debate on the bill has begun. Read more HERE.

LB 111 would require all persons to show a current, valid, photographic ID at the polls in order to cast a ballot. The Nebraska constitution clearly states “there shall be no hindrance or impediment to the right of qualified voters to exercise the elective franchise.” LB 111 does just that.

As we have seen in other states that have implemented such voter suppression laws, they clearly do impact elderly, disabled, low-income and minority voters and college students. Supporters of the bill claim it is necessary to combat voter fraud. Voter fraud or voter impersonation is so very rare in this state that the need to enact a piece of legislation to stop it is completely unnecessary. Such bills are merely designed to place a “hindrance or impediment” on our citizens who wish to engage in their constitutionally guaranteed right to participate in the governmental process

Please call or email your state senator today and ask them to vote NO on LB 111.

Committee Hearings

Wednesday, February 18th

The Revenue Committee will hold a hearing on LB 357, introduced by Senator Smith. This bill would make significant income tax rate cuts for both personal and corporate taxes over the next several years. These cuts would overwhelmingly benefit only the wealthiest Nebraska tax payers and do very little for the rest of us. When fully implemented, the bill would decrease the state’s income from taxes by $419 million dollars. The bill also would transfer $160 million dollars out the Cash Reserve or “Rainy Day” Fund to help offset the cost of the income tax cut. Such drastic cuts in income taxes will leave our state short of funds for social programs and school funding. We also believe the Rainy Day fund should be used when Nebraska faces a true fiscal crisis – not to provide a tax break for the wealthy. NFP opposes this bill.

The Revenue Committee will also hold a hearing on Wednesday on LB 280, introduced by Senator Davis. This bill would reform our school funding formula in a fair and equitable manner. This proposal would lower property taxes for all Nebraskans, lower overall taxes for many in the state, benefit farmers and ranchers, and protect our schools. The bill would also create a local school-funding surtax as an equitable way to shift the tax burden in school funding. Currently, our reliance on property taxes to fund our schools puts a heavy burden on lower and middle income families who pay more of their income in taxes than do higher income families. By introducing an income tax into the equation for school funding, a more progressive tax system would be created which is more equitable to lower income Nebraskans. NFP supports this bill.

Friday, February 20th

The Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on LB 598, introduced by Senator Schumacher and LB 592 introduced by Senator Bolz.

LB 598 has a number of components but primarily attempts to limit the use of segregation/solitary confinement, especially concerning inmates with mental illness. It would also require the Department of Corrections to report to the legislature quarterly on the use of solitary confinement. NFP supports this bill.

LB 592 also contains several parts, but it primarily addresses mental health care of inmates. It would "ensure that all persons who are incarcerated receive a full mental health screening within the firsts two weeks of intake to determine if mentally ill" and that any committed offender would receive appropriate mental health treatment. It also requires that anyone deemed to be mentally ill be fully evaluated before release to ensure that adequate monitoring and programming will take place upon release. NFP supports this bill.

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