Small Business Day at the Capitol coming up March 13
State Director Bob Hallstrom reports from Lincoln on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending February 16
Lawmakers adjourned for a long, four-day holiday weekend February 15. The deadline for submitting Speaker priority bill requests was February 14, with the Speaker Jim Scheer having received 72 requests for his 25 priority measures.
Individual senators and committees have until February 20 to designate their priority bills with the Speaker’s priority bills to follow February 21. When lawmakers return to work on February 20, they will continue to process priority bills, starting with legislation to adopt the Occupational Board Reform Act (Legislative Bill 299).
Workers’ Compensation First Injury Reports
The Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee held a public hearing on Legislative Bill 1015 February 14. LB 1015, introduced by Sen. Tom Briese (Albion), would prohibit access to first reports of injury which reveal the identity of the employee who is the subject of the report.
NFIB State Director Bob Hallstrom informed the committee that employees frequently express anger and frustration with their employers upon discovering that information regarding their workplace injuries is made public and leads to a multitude of solicitations for legal representation. The Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee is expected to meet in Executive Session early next week to consider advancing the bill to General File.
Hallstrom also presented testimony before other committees during the past week on the following measures:
Legislative Bill 725 – Prompt Payment Act: A measure sponsored by Sen. Justin Wayne (Omaha) would require state agencies to make payment in full for all goods delivered or services rendered by a small business creditor on or before the 15th calendar day (45 calendar days for all other creditors) after a) the date of receipt by the agency of the goods or services; or b) the date of receipt by the agency of the bill for goods or services, whichever is later. (NFIB Position – Support)
Legislative Bill 911 – School District Local Option Income Surtax Act: Sen. Kate Bolz (Lincoln) has introduced LB 911 that would authorize school districts to adopt a local option income surtax for property tax reduction, or building construction, remodeling and site acquisition. (Local option income surtax would be equal to the individual’s state income tax liability, less any amount of nonrefundable credits allowed to such individual under state law, multiplied by a rate determined by the school board, not to exceed 20 percent.) The legislation would require the approval of a local option income surtax by a majority of the registered voters in the school district and would limit the duration of the local option income surtax to a period not to exceed five years. (NFIB Position – Oppose)
Legislative Bill 978 – Garnishments: Sen. Burke Harr (Omaha) has introduced LB 978 which would:
- establish a standard notice of garnishment form for wage garnishments
- provide for electronic payment of garnishment amounts
- reduce the aggregate disposable earnings of an employee for any workweek which are subject to garnishment to the lesser of 20 percent (was 25 percent) of disposable earnings for the week or the amount by which disposable earnings for the week exceed 40 (was 30) times the federal minimum hourly wage.
The bill would also allow an employer withholding earnings for more than one employee to transfer garnishment payments to the court by electronic payment and combine the amounts in one electronic payment, provided that it specifies the name, case number, and amount for each employee. (Payments made by check, draft, or other similar paper instruments may not be combined in one payment and must be issued separately.) (NFIB Position – Support)
Legislative Resolution 277 – Rescission Of Calls For Constitutional Convention: Introduced by Sen. Paul Schumacher (Columbus), this legislation would rescind all resolutions previously adopted by the Legislature calling for a constitutional convention under Article V of the Constitution of United States, including the call relating to the Balanced Budget Amendment. (NFIB Position – Oppose)
Other Bills of Interest
Legislative Bill 757 – Data Security Breach Act/Credit Report Protection Act: The Legislature has advanced LB 757 to File Reading. Introduced by Sen. Adam Morfeld (Lincoln), LB 757 would eliminate the ability of a consumer reporting agency to charge a fee for placing or removing a security freeze or for placing, temporarily lifting, or removing a security freeze for a protected consumer.
The bill would also require any individual or commercial entity that conducts business in Nebraska and owns, licenses, or maintains data, including personal information about a resident in Nebraska, to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices to protect the personal information when the individual or commercial entity disposes of the personal information.
The bill would also require an individual or commercial entity disclosing personal information about a Nebraska resident to a non-affiliated third party service provider to require, by contract, that the third party implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices that a) are appropriate to the nature of the personal information disclosed to the non-affiliated third party; and b) are reasonably designed to help protect the personal information from unauthorized access, acquisition, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.
On Select File, the Legislature adopted an amendment submitted by Senator Morfeld, and supported by NFIB, which clarifies that the “reasonable security practices and procedures” to be maintained by a small business for the protection of personal information, takes into consideration the nature and size of, and resources available to the business and its operations.
Priority Bills of Interest
- Legislative Bill 1084 – Senator Briese: Adopt the Property Tax Request Limitation Act, provide sunset dates for certain tax exemptions and incentives, and change other revenue and taxation provisions
- Legislative Bill 829 – Senator Erdman: Adopt the Property Tax Relief Act
- Legislative Bill 738 – Senator Lindstrom: Change revenue and taxation provisions relating to an adjustment to income for Social Security benefits
- Legislative Bill 757 – Senator Morfeld: Change provisions of the Credit Report Protection Act and the Financial Data Protection and Consumer Notification of Data Security Breach Act of 2006
- Legislative Bill 496 – Senator Williams: Define and redefine terms under the Community Development Law
- Legislative Bill 1058 – Senator Halloran: Adopt the Faithful Delegate to Federal Article V Convention Act
Small Business Day at the Capitol
NFIB/Nebraska will co-sponsor a Small Business Day at the Capitol March 13, in Lincoln.
NFIB’s co-sponsors are the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, the Lincoln Independent Business Association and 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
[Tile photo courtesy of Unicameral Update, “The Nebraska Legislature’s official news source since 1977.”]