NFIB Joins Forces in Opposition to Extending Sales Tax to Services

Date: February 28, 2020

Testimony also given against three workers’ compensation bills

State Director Bob Hallstrom reports from Lincoln on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending February 28

Lawmakers adjourned on Thursday for a long, four–day weekend. The final committee hearings were conducted on Thursday afternoon. Upon returning next Tuesday, the Legislature will commence full days of floor debate. With the significant number of priority bills yet to receive consideration, evening sessions are likely to begin earlier than usual this session.

NFIB Opposes a Series of Workers’ Compensation Bills

NFIB presented testimony on Monday, February 24, before the Business and Labor Committee in opposition to each of the following bills:

Legislative Bill 1126 – Workers’ Compensation – Attorney Fees Penalties and Interests

LB 1126 would provide that no attorney’s fee, penalty, or interest shall be awarded or assessed if a reasonable controversy existed at the time of a delinquent payment (after 30 days’ notice of disability or 30 days from entry of final order) or a refusal to pay compensation or medical payments subject to Neb.Rev.Stat. § 48-120. The bill would allow an award of attorney fees for a failure to authorize or provide assurance of payment for treatment pursuant to Neb.Rev.Stat. § 48-120 if there is no reasonable controversy regarding treatment within 30 days of the request for authorization or assurance of payment. The bill would also authorize, in the court’s discretion, assessment of a penalty not to exceed $500 per day for each day that authorization is delayed without reasonable controversy. (NFIB Position – Oppose)

Legislative Bill 1128 – Workers’ Compensation

LB 1128 would exempt from the provisions regarding release of claims, any claim against a workers’ compensation insurer or its agents for bad faith denial of workers’ compensation benefits. The bill would deem bad faith denial of workers’ compensation benefits to occur if the insurer or its agent denied benefits or authorization of benefits without a reasonable basis at the time of the denial, and the insurer or its agent knew or should have known that there was no reasonable basis for denial, or if the insurer engages in any acts or practices described in Neb.Rev.Stat. §48-146.02 (2) (failure to comply with an obligation under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act). The legislation would also create a five-year statute of limitations for any claim of bad faith denial of workers’ compensation benefits. (NFIB Position – Oppose)

Legislative Bill 1129 – Workers’ Compensation

Under LB 1129, contractors or subcontractors would be included as employees under the Workers’ Compensation Act in cases in which a contract is let to a contractor or subcontractor for work ordinarily done by employees without requiring the contractor or subcontractor to procure workers’ compensation coverage. (NFIB Position – Oppose)

On the ‘Watch’ list

Legislative Bill 963 – Workers’ Compensation – Mental/Mental Injuries

The Legislature gave first-round approval on Wednesday to LB 963, introduced by Sen. Tom Brewer (Gordon), and designated as a priority bill by Sen. Mike McDonnell (Omaha). LB 963 would modify the standards for recovery of workers’ compensation benefits for “mental–mental” injuries to first responders and front-line state employees.

The bill would allow a first responder to establish prima facie evidence of a mental injury or mental illness if:

  • the first responder has undergone a mental health examination upon entry into service as a first responder or subsequent to such entry and before the onset of the mental injury or mental illness and the examination did not reveal the mental injury or mental illness for which the first responder seeks compensation
  • testimony or an affidavit from a mental health professional is presented stating the first responder suffers from a mental injury or mental illness
  • prior to the employment conditions which cause the mental injury or mental illness, the first responder had participated in resilience training and updated the training at least annually thereafter.

The legislation would require the Department of Health and Human Services to reimburse a first responder for the cost of annual resilience training not reimbursed by the first responder’s employer. (NFIB Position – Watch)

Sales Tax on Services Bill Heard

Legislative Bill 946 – Taxation – Sales Tax on Services

NFIB joined forces with many other business organizations before the Revenue Committee on Wednesday afternoon in opposing legislation that would significantly expand the services subject to the state sales tax. LB 946, introduced by Sen. Tom Briese (Albion) would reduce the state sales tax rate from 5.5 cents to 4 cents and subject all services, including business-to-business services, to the state sales tax.

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.

Invitations to the Small Business Day at the Capitol have been sent to NFIB members. For more information please visit or contact Jake Braunger at 515-243-4723 or by email at [email protected].

Previous Reports and News Releases

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



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