New bills include climate change, paid family leave, income tax cuts in Nebraska

January 17, 2019

» Climate change. The University of Nebraska would be allocated up to $250,000 to develop an “evidence-based, data-driven, strategic action plan” to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change under LB 283, introduced Tuesday by Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing-Brooks.

» Income tax reductions. Gov. Pete Ricketts, for the first time, didn’t discuss reducing state income taxes in his annual State of the State address, drawing disappointment from the State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which has advocated for that. The governor is making property tax relief a higher priority this session.

But Elkhorn Sen. Lou Ann Linehan introduced LB 288, which would allow the Legislature to at least discuss income tax cuts.

» Paid family and medical leave. Employees could earn a minimum of one hour of paid “sick and safe time” for every 30 hours worked under a bill introduced by Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford and Omaha Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh.

A second bill, also introduced by the two senators and 12 co-sponsors, would provide workers who qualify for unemployment insurance partial reimbursement for lost wages from the state to care for others or themselves.

It would allow six weeks to care for a family member, and up to 12 weeks after the birth of a new child or for one’s own serious health problems. It has special provisions for family members in the military. The bills were promoted as helping to retain and attract workers.

[ Read more: Fischer’s paid family leave program gets off the ground; a state senator has a plan, too ]

» Historic horse racing. The State Racing Commission will meet Wednesday in Grand Island to reconsider its controversial vote in October to allow betting via terminals that display previously run Thoroughbred races.

The Attorney General’s Office said not only had the commission violated public meeting laws in October (and needed to reschedule a vote) but that it didn’t have the power to expand gambling.

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