Victories From The 104th Nebraska Legislature (2015-2016)

Date: July 02, 2015 Last Edit: July 04, 2016

Related Content: Victories State Nebraska

The 104th Nebraska Legislature ended April 20, 2016, with some very important victories for small business.

From the 2016 half

Won Change in Health-Care Coverage
NFIB lobbied for the successful passage of Legislative Bill 817, which now allows small businesses to contract with a primary care physician and pay a manageable monthly fee to provide primary care services to employees. Supplemented with a wrap-around insurance policy for catastrophic coverage, these contacts are estimated to result in cost savings of 12 percent to 15 percent for small businesses.

Defeated Three Costly Proposals

  • Minimum Wage Increase/Tipped Employees–Legislative Bill 1089 would have increased the state minimum wage rate for tipped employees from the current rate of $2.13 per hour to $3.60 per hour on August 1, 2016, and to $4.50 per hour on January 1, 2017.
  • Paid Sick Leave–Legislative Bill 493 would have required employers to provide paid sick leave to full-time employees on the basis of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours annually. 
  • Paid Family Medical Leave Insurance Act–Legislative Bill 850 would have required employers to pay employees all other benefits during the leave of absence and to allow employees to return to their jobs after exercising their right to family medical leave.

From the 2015 half

Won $19.6 Million in Personal Property Tax Relief
NFIB lobbying efforts helped with the passage of Legislative Bill 259, which Gov. Pete Ricketts signed into law. Now, the first $10,000 of personal property is exempt from taxation. This is estimated to provide an annual savings of $162 per business taxpayer and aggregate tax relief of $19.6 million. Complete elimination of the personal property tax remains a priority for NFIB/Nebraska, but until such a time comes, we will work to chip away at it as much as possible.
Obtained Reduction in Workers’ Compensation Premiums
NFIB pushed for passage of Legislative Bill 480. Signed by the governor, the law will:
  • reduce the interest rate currently applicable to awards of WC benefits on appeal from 14 percent to approximately 8 percent
  • reinstate the defense of employee misrepresentation to allow employers to avoid having to pay benefits resulting from an injury or condition relating to misrepresentations given by the employee when applying for a position with the employer
  • clarify that the prohibition against “balance billing” an employee for medical expenses in excess of the workers’ compensation fee schedule extends to finance charges and late penalties
  • authorize trust funds required to be established under the Workers’ Compensation Act to be invested in the same manner authorized for corporate trustees holding retirement or pension plans for the benefit of current or former employees of political subdivisions. 
Secured New Avenues for Start-Up Capital
NFIB worked for passage of Legislative Bill 226 that will allow small businesses to seek start-up capital through new avenues. Signed by the governor, the legislation allows all projects attempting to raise money to proceed without registration under state and federal securities laws and would require approval from the state Department of Banking and Finance.  
Boosted Angel Investment Tax Credit
NFIB succeeded in boosting from $3 million to $4 million the amount of tax credits allowed annually under the Angel Investment Tax Credit Act by working for passage of Legislative Bill 156, which was signed by the governor.
Defeated Minimum Wage Increase for 2015
Legislative Bill 494 would have increased the minimum wage for tipped workers. Because the minimum wage is earned mainly by teens and young adults starting out on their work lives, increases in the rate have resulted in loss of job opportunities as employers are forced to cut back on hiring in order to meet the additional costs. NFIB succeeded in getting that measure deferred, but it may return in the 2016 session.

Related Content: Victories | State | Nebraska

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