2020 Session of Nebraska Legislature a Third Complete

Date: February 07, 2020

NFIB to testify on income tax, workers’ compensation proposals in the week ahead

State Director Bob Hallstrom reports from Lincoln on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending February 7

The Legislature has completed one–third of the 2020 session and individual senator and committee priority bills are starting to trickle in. Lawmakers debated a proposed Constitutional Amendment (Legislative Resolution 279 CA) that would authorize an increase in the number of members of the Legislature from 49 to 55, without taking action prior to the measure being pulled from the agenda.

Workers’ Compensation Hearings

NFIB will be testifying on February 10 before the Business and Labor Committee in support of the following workers’ compensation bills of interest to NFIB:

Legislative Bill 1101 – Workers’ Compensation – Multiple Member Injuries:

Sen. Steve Halloran (Hastings) has introduced LB 1101, which would clarify existing law regarding the ability of an employee to receive benefits for loss or loss of use of more than one hand, arm, foot, leg, eye, or ear, or any combination thereof, based upon the employee’s loss of earning capacity, if the loss or loss of use results in at least a 30% loss of earning capacity (loss or loss of use of multiple parts of the same hand, arm, foot, or leg would not be eligible for a determination of benefits based upon the employee’s loss of earning capacity and loss of use means permanent loss of function).

Legislative Bill 1103 – Workers’ Compensation – Lump-Sum Settlement Approval or Release

Sen. Matt Hansen (Lincoln) is the sponsor of LB 1103, which would clarify that a release of a lump-sum settlement for indemnity benefits only, that is not required to be submitted for approval by the Compensation Court, need not contain allegations regarding eligibility for Medicare if the employee’s right to receive future medical, surgical, and hospital services is specifically excluded from the settlement.

Upcoming Hearings

NFIB will be presenting testimony next week in support of the following measure:

Legislative Bill 892 – Taxation – Income Tax

Sen. Mike Hilgers (Lincoln) has introduced LB 892, which would increase individual income tax brackets so that the top rate of 6.84% would not apply until income for a single individual reaches $50,000 (married file jointly $100,000 – was $29,000 and $58,000) for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, with the tax brackets to be adjusted for inflation each year thereafter.

Committee Activity

NFIB presented testimony during the past week before the Business and Labor Committee on each of the following bills.

Legislative Bill 915 – Minimum Wage Tipped Employees

Sen. Megan Hunt (Omaha) has introduced legislation that would increase the state minimum wage for “tipped” employees from the current rate $2.13 per hour to $3.60 on January 1, 2021, and to $4.50 on January 1, 2022. The bill would also require the summary of the Wage and Hour Act posted by employers to include a summary of the minimum wage amounts in effect under the Act. (NFIB Position – Oppose)

Legislative Bill 1016 – Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act

Sen. Matt Hansen (Lincoln) has introduced LB 1016 which would prohibit retaliation and discrimination for employees who file suit or participate in a proceeding under the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act. As introduced, the bill would have expanded damages provisions under the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act; allowed citations issued under the Act to be admissible in court and available to the public upon request; and allow for names of businesses with more than one citation to be posted on the Department of Labor website.

Senator Hansen introduced an amendment at the committee hearing, supported by NFIB, that would retain the current measure of damages (unpaid wages only) in proceedings under the Wage Payment and Collection Act; only allow citations “directly related” to the action to be admissible in court and limit the publication of names of businesses on the Department of Labor website to those who have “unpaid” citations. Adoption of the proposed amendment will serve to remove NFIB’s opposition to the bill.

Small Business Day at the Capitol

NFIB/Nebraska will co-sponsor a Small Business Day at the Capitol on March 10, in Lincoln.

NFIB’s co-sponsors are the:

  • Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce
  • Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
  • Lincoln Independent Business Association
  • Nebraskans For Workers’ Compensation Equity and Fairness.

Small Business Day gives NFIB members an opportunity to network with other small business owners. Gov. Pete Ricketts is expected to speak, and there will be a legislative briefing by state senators.

Details on the time and location of Small Business Day at the Capitol will be released soon. Check www.NFIB.com/NE for the latest information.

Previous Reports and News Releases

Photo courtesy of Unicameral Update, The Nebraska Legislature’s official news source since 1977

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