NFIB Testifies on Four Bills—More Testimony Coming Up

Date: February 02, 2021

Small business gives its input on bills ranging from fair employment practices to property taxes

State Director Bob Hallstrom reports from Lincoln on the legislative and political week ending January 29

The first 17 days of the 2021 Legislative Session have gone relatively smoothly as legislative committees began conducting public hearings during the past week. The initial bills advanced to the floor for consideration by the full Legislature will not be debated until February 16. Until that time, committees will be holding “two-a-days,” with committee hearings being conducted in both the mornings and the afternoons.

NFIB State Director Bob Hallstrom presented testimony on the following bills which received public hearings and during the past week:

  • Legislative Bill 249 – Fair Employment Practices Act – Wage History: LB 249 was heard before the Business and Labor Committee on Monday, January 25. Introduced by Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks (Lincoln), LB 249, would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to:
    • inquire about or seek from a job applicant or from the applicant’s current or former employer the wage rate history of the applicant, except to confirm any wage rate history voluntarily provided by the applicant as part of compensation negotiations
    • require disclosure of a job applicant’s wage rate history or condition employment or consideration for an interview or employment on disclosure of wage rate history
    • retaliate against a job applicant for failing to comply with any wage rate history inquiry
    • rely on the wage rate history of a job applicant from any current or former employer of the applicant in determining the wages for such applicant at any stage in the employment process, including the negotiation or drafting of any employment contract, unless such applicant knowingly and willingly disclosed his or her wage rate history to the employer. (NFIB Position – Oppose)
  • Legislative Bill 408 – Property Tax Request Act: Sen. Tom Briese (Albion) has introduced a measure (LB 408) which would prohibit a political subdivision from making a property tax request for any year in excess of 3 percent more than its property tax request in the prior year, except with approval of the majority of registered voters in a Primary, General or Special Election and would exclude that portion of a political subdivisions property tax request that is needed to pay the principal and interest on approved bonds or which is derived from the real growth value for the political subdivision. (NFIB Position – Support)
  • Legislative Bill 213 – State Agencies Efficiency Review: Senator Briese has also introduced LB 213 which would require the Department of Administrative Services to contract for an efficiency review of state agencies to make the delivery of services more cost-effective, identify outdated delivery practices that can be eliminated, identify increased efficiencies in service delivery, identify potential new sources of funding for services other than taxation, and make government more accountable to residents of the state. (NFIB Position – Support)
  • Legislative Bill 387 – Military Retirement: Sen. Tom Brewer (Gordon) is the sponsor of LB 387, which would, for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, exclude 100 percent (was 50 percent) of military retirement benefit income to the extent included in federal adjusted gross income. (NFIB Position – Support)

Upcoming Hearings

NFIB will be appearing before multiple committees next week to present testimony on each of the following bills:

Business and Labor on Monday, February 1

  • Legislative Bill 122 – Minimum Wage – Tipped Employees: Sen. Megan Hunt (Omaha) has introduced LB 122, which would increase the minimum wage for tipped employees from $2.13 per hour plus all gratuities to $9 per hour. (NFIB Position – Oppose)
  • Legislative Bill 256 – Workers’ Compensation – Approval of Lump Sum Settlements: Sen. Matt Hansen is the sponsor of legislation (LB 256) that 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 and Medicare has not paid medical, surgical, or hospital expenses or if Medicare has paid medical, surgical, or hospital expenses for which it claims it is entitled to reimbursement and Medicare has been reimbursed for such expenses at the time the settlement is executed. (NFIB Position – Support)
  • Legislative Bill 463 – Workers’ Compensation – Remote Participation in Evaluations: Sen. John Arch (La Vista) has introduced LB 463, which would authorize physical examinations of an employee by the employer’s physician to be attended by the employee’s physician either in person or remotely by electronic means. (NFIB Position – Oppose)

Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee on Tuesday, February 2:

  • Legislative Bill 234 – Corporate Reports and Occupation Taxes: Sen. Mike Flood (Norfolk) has introduced a measure (LB 234) which would change corporate reports and occupation taxes from being satisfied every two years to every five years, commencing on March 1, 2025. (NFIB Position – Support)

Revenue Committee on Wednesday, February 3

  • Legislative Bill 422 – Sales Tax on Services: Sen. Tom Briese (Albion) has introduced LB 442, which would, commencing October 1, 2022, reduce the state sales tax rate from 5.5 percent to 5 percent with adjustments in each of the next four calendar quarters to provide approximately the same amount of sales and use tax revenue for the state as would have been generated without the expansion of sales tax on services provided under the bill. The measure would apply the state sales tax to all services (all activities engaged in for other persons for a consideration and that involve predominantly the performance of a service as distinguished from selling or leasing tangible personal property, excluding services rendered by an employee to his or her employer) which shall be presumed taxable unless a specific sales tax exemption applies. (NFIB Position – Oppose)
  • Legislative Bill 133 – The Nebraska Consumption Tax Act: Senator Erdman (Bayard) is the sponsor of LB 133, which would eliminate all property, income and corporate taxes and replace it with a tax on the use or consumption in the state of Nebraska of taxable property or services (excludes intangible property and services, including financial intermediation services) at a rate of 10.64 percent Senator Erdman has also introduced a companion proposed constitutional amendment (LR 11CA) to accomplish the same objective. (NFIB Position – Oppose)

Previous Reports and Related News Releases

Photo of Sen. Tom Brise courtesy of Unicameral Update, the Nebraska Legislature’s official news source since 1977

 

 

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