On Monday, March 4th, I had the honor of presenting one of the History Nebraska’s 2018 Historic Preservation Award to Scott and Katie Darling and Candice Gardea from Pender. The Historic Preservation award is the State’s premier recognition for significant achievement or exemplary accomplishment in the preservation of Nebraska’s historic places. Scott, Katie and their daughter Candice, were selected for the restoration of the Palace Hotel/Palace Lofts in Pender which is an excellent example of the influence that rehabilitation projects can have in historic buildings in some of our smaller communities.
Tuesday, March 5th, the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association hosted a lunch for Senators here in Lincoln. I visited with school officials from Wakefield, Pender, and Wayne about the importance of fairly funding our rural school districts. I am thankful to have such active school officials that participate with me in the legislative process and look forward to working with them as we implement fair school funding and property tax relief.
The week, the Legislature began debate on LB 284, (McCollister) Change sales and use tax provisions relating to out-of-state retailers and multivendor marketplace platforms. LB 284 would require internet retailers without a physical presence in Nebraska to collect and remit state sales tax on purchases made by Nebraska residents. This bill follows a recent change in federal law that allows the collection of such sales tax. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June in South Dakota v. Wayfair that states may require online retailers without a physical presence in the state to collect and remit state sales tax if they pass legislation to do so. LB 284 includes an exception for small retailers with sales of $100,000 or less or 200 or fewer annual transactions. Following some amendments, the bill passed with overwhelming support through General File and Select File, and should easily pass Final Reading. The Legislative Fiscal Office has estimated that it would generate an additional $30 million to $40 million in revenue each year which I would like to see be used for property tax relief. LB 284 will go into effect April 1st.
On Wednesday, March 6th, I presented LB 595 to the Judiciary Committee to be considered. LB 595, Change Office of Dispute Resolution to Office of Restorative Justice and Dispute Resolution and change powers and duties of the office, amends the Dispute Resolution Act to incorporate Restorative Justice into the Office of Dispute Resolution’s mission and purpose. This approach would provide long term sustainability to both the practice and the implementation of restorative justice in the statewide court system, primarily in the juvenile justice arena as well as into the adult criminal arena. Over the last few years, the Office of Dispute Resolution has implemented a pilot program has seen significant success in improving communities and reducing recidivism of youth in the juvenile justice system through Victim Youth Conferencing and other restorative justice practices. We are working with the Office of Dispute Resolution, the Judiciary Committee, and other interested parties to craft an amendment that will make a few changes to make this bill the best it can be. I look forward to bringing LB 595 to the floor of the Legislature and increasing accessibility to restorative justice across the state.
Live coverage of committee hearings and the full session of the Unicameral is available at www.netnebraska.org/capitol
It is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage my constituents to reach out to me and I look forward to hearing from you.