NFIB/Nebraska State Director Bob Hallstrom reports from the State Capitol on the legislative week ending April 15, 2016
The Legislature has completed all formal activities associated with the passage of legislation and will return for the final day of the session on April 20 to consider potential overrides of any vetoes that may be issued by Gov. Pete Ricketts. Despite having gotten off to a slow start, the Legislature passed more than 220 bills this session.
The Legislature gave final approval this week to a series of measures of interest to the NFIB.
Legislative Bill 821 – Workplace Privacy Act: LB 821 prohibits employers from requiring employees or job applicants to share their social network passwords with their employer. The measure also prevents public or private employers from forcing employees to display their Facebook or Twitter pages for inspection by the employer and would deny an employer access to an employee’s social networking account through any third party. Finally, the bill establishes a cause of action in favor of the employee against the employer for violations of the Act.
The bill also contains provisions to allow employers to monitor or retain employee communications for purposes of complying with requirements of state or federal law or a self-regulatory organization with regard to broker/dealer activities and securities transactions.
Legislative Bill 958 – Property Tax Relief: LB 958 will add $20 million to the state’s Property Tax Credit Cash Fund beginning in 2017. The additional tax relief will be provided only to owners of agricultural land, while the amount for residential and commercial owners will remain at their current levels.
Legislative Bill 959 – Property Tax Relief: LB 959 changes portions of the public school funding formula that are projected to shift approximately $13.4 million from property taxes to the state’s General Fund.
Legislative Bill 960 – Transportation Infrastructure Bank: LB 960, introduced by Sen. Jim Smith (Papillion), and prioritized by Sen. Lydia Brasch (Bancroft), provides up-front money for major highway projects and provides funding for local roads and bridge repairs.
The measure also provides $50 million in funding from the state’s Cash Reserve Fund. The remainder of the funding for the Infrastructure Bank would come from the state’s 2-cent portion of the gas tax increased by legislation adopted last year, with that money going to the Infrastructure Bank for 17 years, through 2033.
(Tile photo: Sen. Jim Smith, courtesy of the Nebraska Unicameral Information Office)