2019 Nebraska Legislative Accomplishments

Although Nebraskans may feel the 2019 Legislature underdelivered when it comes to property tax reform, that doesn’t mean nothing got done. Here are a number of bills that have become law, or will become law in the coming months, that expand economic opportunity and improve the tax structure.

LB12 (Sen. Carol Blood) — Military service members and their spouses, who relocate often, can qualify for a waiver from state real estate licensing fees in Nebraska under certain circumstances.

LB57 (Sen. Adam Morfeld) — Nebraska state law will now prevent local governments from imposing a blanket ban on the use of short-term residential rental services like Airbnb. Basic regulations for health and safety, and other nuisance issues, can still be enforced.
 

LB77 (Sen. Matt Williams) — Real property appraisers will no longer need a post-secondary degree to fulfill the requirements for state licensing.
 

LB103 (Sen. Lou Ann Linehan) — Local property tax rates will now be adjusted along with increases or decreases in property valuations. Property taxing subdivisions will have to hold a public hearing and board vote in order to adopt an increase in revenue resulting from a valuation increase.

LB112 (Sen. Sara Howard) — Low-income Nebraskans, military families, and young people applying for first-time licensing in professions regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services will be eligible for a waiver of their first licensing fee.

LB244 (Sen. Steve Erdman) — Licensed massage therapists will be able to open mobile massage therapy establishments operating from an appropriately equipped vehicle, such as an RV or trailer.  
 

LB284 (Sen. John McCollister) — The State of Nebraska now fully complies with the South Dakota v. Wayfair online sales tax ruling and can require collection of sales tax from online, out of state retailers.
 

LB304 (Sen. Sue Crawford) — Makers of many non-perishable homemade foods will be allowed to legally sell their products from home or online, in addition to farmers markets and other venues allowed under previous law.

LB445 (Sen. Mike McDonnell) — Cities must issue annual reports on their collection and use of local occupation taxes, which are added taxes for the privilege of selling goods and services like hotel rooms, cell phone service, rental cars, tobacco products, prepared foods and beverages, along with special district taxes.
 

LB454 (Sen. Robert Clements) — Homeschool graduates applying for a real estate license will be recognized as holding the same educational credentials as gradates of other school settings.

Interim Studies

The Legislature may be done voting on bills for the year, but work continues throughout the summer and fall, as legislative committees consider policy issues for upcoming legislation in interim studies. These studies often give a glimpse of what bills may emerge next year.

The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee will look at two reforms to government processes with regulations and local government accounting.

LR92 (Sen. John Lowe) — will explore ways to adopt, scrutinize, and limit state regulations. We have a new report coming out with one suggestion at PlatteInstitute.org/Policy.

LR143 (Sen. Joni Albrecht) — will investigate if local governments could improve their financial transparency by adhering to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, a method of accounting more commonly used in the private sector and by local governments in most states.

LB299 — The Legislature will begin the first of five years of interim reviews of Nebraska’s job licensing laws. 20% of the state’s job licensing laws will be scrutinized by committees to identify less restrictive forms of regulation.

For Next Year

These bills advanced from committee this session but have not yet had full legislative debate. Next year, senators will finish working on bills that didn’t get on the schedule in 2019.

LB337 (Sen. John Stinner) — State agencies receiving a large amount of funds from federal grants would have to issue regular reports on their use of the funds, the strings attached for the participation in the federal agreement, and their contingency plans in the event of a reduction of available federal funds.

LB347 (Sen. Dave Murman) — Practitioners of reflexology, which is a personal care service that involves touching the feet and hands, would be exempt from the current requirement that they receive a state massage therapy license. Most states do not require licensure to practice this profession.

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