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10 Bills to Watch in the 2014 Session

January 24, 2014

Bill drop is done and the session moves on. We’ve reviewed the bills and these are 10 pieces of legislation you should be aware of (bills listed numerically):

LB 704 – Avery – Oppose

This bill would set aside $2 million in taxpayer funding to establish the state Sesquicentennial fund. Essentially, it’s $2 million in taxpayer funding to throw a big party to honor the celebrate Nebraska’s 150th birthday. While we have no problem honoring our state’s sesquicentennial, we are going to be hard pressed to understand why it costs $2 million to do it.

LB 747 – Avery – Oppose

Sen. Avery is simply rehashing legislation that has been introduced in previous sessions. The bill, by Sen. Avery’s admission to local media, is intended solely to place restrictions on the ability of AFP to inform citizens on public policy matters central to our mission and where public figures stand on those issues. We see it as a constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech and petitioning of government. However, Sen. Avery wants further restrictions on the ability of all advocacy groups to be active in the public sphere and to impose new monitoring of our activities.

This legislation is meant to intimidate AFP, our activists and our supporters and is singling our organization out because we disagree with the liberal world-view of Sen. Avery. Please, stand with us against this outrageous piece of legislation.

LB 797 – Sen. Nelson – Oppose

This bill would appropriate $1.25 million in General Fund dollars to construct fountains at the state capitol. While we support projects like the recently completed renovation project that repaired or replaced tons of limestone that threatened the long-term structural integrity of the building, we cannot support over $1 million in new spending to add frivolous features to the building. Not when the state must focus on providing meaningful tax relief to over-taxed Nebraskans.

LB 812 – Sen. Hansen – Support

Sen. Hansen has introduced a bill to eliminate the inheritance tax. Nebraska is one of the few states that still has a death tax. Nebraskans pay taxes their whole lives and again after they pass on. This tax threatens family farms, businesses, and gifts people choose to leave to their loved ones. It’s time to put this tax out to pasture.

LB 882 – Sen. Haar – Oppose

Sen. Ken Haar’s bill is duplicative, based on an ideological agenda, and ought to be opposed by the Legislature. The University of Nebraska has already agreed, in 2013, to conduct a climate study, because the researchers were intent on producing a study that delved into manmade climate change. Due to NU pursuing its own climate change study, Governor Heineman in 2013 demanded the state eliminate its own planned study, saving tens of thousands in taxpayer dollars. This would re-introduce the concept, advance his ideological agenda and for what purpose? The study is already being commissioned. There’s no need to spend more legislative time, or perhaps taxpayer dollars, on a duplicative study.

LB 887 – Sen. Campbell – Oppose

One of the more controversial items of the 2013 session, ObamaCare Medicaid expansion, was highlighted when a new version of the expansion program was introduced in the form of LB 887. Sen. Kathy Campbell’s Wellness in Nebraska (WIN) Act is simply the extension of the same efforts by some members of the Unicameral from last year to implements President’s Obama’s health care law through its Medicaid Expansion provision.

The Omaha World-Herald reported on the fact that LB 887 is the same concept as last year’s failed expansion effort, but with a new name: “Nebraskans will not be fooled by the political gimmick” of naming the bill the Wellness in Nebraska Act, said AFP-Nebraska state director Matt Litt.

AFP-Nebraska opposes Medicaid expansion for the same reasons as Gov. Dave Heineman and the majority of Nebraskans do: we oppose using state dollars to implement ObamaCare. And that’s exactly what LB 887 and Medicaid Expansion is. Using state resources to implement a law the majority in our state would rather see repealed.

LB 909 – Sen. Kintner – Support

This bill would require state agencies to list governmental rules and regulations that are on the books. These cause great stress to private sector entrepreneurs who struggle to remain compliant with the growing number of rules and regulations impacting their business. The law is intended to show the size and scope of regulation, with the goal of reducing the state regulatory burden.

LB 972 – Sen. Lautenbaugh – Support

Our organization is excited about the Independent Public Schools Act. This legislation would authorize charter schools in Nebraska, a much needed alternative education option that would benefit many Nebraska students; especially students in the Omaha metro area.

Nebraskans deserve greater choice in how their children are educated. Sen. Lautenbaugh’s proposal will give families, students, and teachers greater flexibility and opportunities to provide every Nebraskan with a quality education.

LB 992 – Sen. Howard – Oppose

This bill would create the Early Childhood Data Governing Body. If the name weren’t threatening enough, the Big Brother components of this bill are staggering in the amount of data Sen. Howard proposes the government collect on our children. AFP-Nebraska has concerns about the cost of compiling, storing and analyzing such data on thousands of children across the state, but we are even more concerned with the privacy concerns LB 992 raise. This bill would require state government to compile comprehensive data records that include but not limited to: age, ethnicity, family environment, socio-economic conditions, program participating, intervention services, etc. This bill is terrifying in the amount of data government wants to collect on individual Nebraskans.

LB 1056 – Sen. Davis – Oppose

After the Tax Modernization Committee traveled around the state and heard that people want lower taxes, Sen. Davis wants to increase the state income tax burden for thousands of Nebraskans by creating a new tax bracket at 7.84%. As straightforward as possible: AFP-Nebraska opposes tax increases.

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