These 2018 Bills Are Laws, Effective Today

When the Nebraska Legislature passes non-emergency legislation that is approved, or at least not vetoed by the governor, the new law takes effect three months after the end of the legislative session if no other date is specified in the bill.

That’s today, so here are a few bills the Platte Institute supported that are now law.
 
Legislative Bill 345


Abstracters, or Title Examiners, are professionals who research and compile property records to assure a property can be lawfully bought and sold. Working in this position does not typically require a college degree, and the average annual salary for an abstracter in Nebraska is over $39,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Only a handful of states require a job license to be an abstracter, and Nebraska is one of them. Unlike other states with licensing, before today, abstracters in Nebraska also needed a year of experience in the title industry to sit for the licensing exam. Thanks to the passage of LB345, any adult who can pass the licensing exam and pay a fee can now earn an abstracter license.

Legislative Bill 596

Horses are a big part of leisure and athletic activities in communities across Nebraska, and the state is host to major equestrian competitions and rodeo events. But before today, if a horse owner wanted to have a professional loosen up their horse with a massage, their options in Nebraska were limited.

That’s because state job licensing laws impacting the horse massage profession had multiplied over the years. Essentially, nobody was eligible to be licensed to practice equine massage except veterinarians—who typically don’t massage horses—and licensed human massage therapists, none of whom sought out the state’s previous animal massage license.

Under the new law adopted with LB596, anyone in Nebraska can run a business offering massage services for horses, dogs, or cats, without the need for a job license. Of course, even without extensive regulations, private training programs and certifications for practitioners will help point horse owners in the right direction.

Legislative Bill 1090
 

Federal tax reform cut income taxes for the vast majority of Nebraskans, but when the tax code changed in Washington, states had to make their own updates. That’s because many state tax provisions are tied to the federal tax code.

For example, federal reforms eliminating the personal exemption impacted Nebraska, since our state personal exemption was designed to mirror federal law. The result of doing nothing in response would have meant state income taxes filed in 2019 would increase, taking away a significant share of the federal income tax savings taxpayers received.

LB1090 creates a new personal exemption in Nebraska and increases the state’s standard income tax deduction, preventing a state-level tax increase.


Parts of Legislative Bill 731

This bill contained a large number of amendments that made changes to job licensing in many fields, so some portions of the law will not be implemented until January 2019, while others take effect today.

One notable provision is a helpful reduction in the training time needed to earn a job license as a cosmetologist or barber. Previously, Nebraska cosmetology and barbering licenses required 2,100 hours of coursework before a licensing exam could be taken, which is one of the most time-consuming requirements nationally.

Under LB731, training schools will now be allowed to graduate students to take their licensing exam in 1,800 hours. This represents a 14 percent reduction in time out of the workforce for students and a significant step toward the national average for these fields, which is around 1,500 hours.

One interesting note about each of these bills is that they earned overwhelming support in the Unicameral. Each bill received more than 40 votes from the 49 senators, and LB731 received a unanimous 49-0 vote.

This goes to show that even in a difficult legislative session, where time is short and debates are tough, there are still plenty of issues on which state policymakers can work together to remove barriers for Nebraskans.

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