LINCOLN–Lawmakers last week debated bills dealing with income tax credit, unemployment benefits, slavery as punishment and scholarships for students, among others.
A proposed amendment to allow Nebraskans to receive a state income tax credit to offset part of their property tax bill was discussed Feb. 7. LR 3CA, introduced by Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard, would provide a refundable state income tax credit. Erdman said this amendment would produce about $1.3 billion in income tax credit each year. There was no immediate action taken on the proposal.
On Feb. 7, a Business and Labor Committee amendment that would expand eligibility for unemployment benefits was advanced from general file. LB 306, introduced by Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue, would increase the list of people eligible for unemployment benefits by including those leaving employment to care for a family member with a serious health condition. The bill received a 29-11 vote and advanced to select file.
A constitutional amendment to no longer allow slavery as punishment for people convicted of crime was considered Feb. 7. LR 1CA, introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, would prohibit slavery and indentured servitude to all people. The constitution currently prohibits slavery and indentured servitude except as a punishment for individuals convicted of a crime. The amendment was advanced to select file by a 44-0 vote.
The Education Committee heard a bill on Feb. 5 that would provide state scholarships to students studying computer science, nursing or engineering at Nebraska’s public university and state colleges. LB 639, introduced by Sen. John Stinner of Gering, would assist eligible students who have declared majors in these select fields. No one testified in opposition to this bill and no action was taken.
The Revenue Committee heard a bill on Feb. 8 that would ensure homeowners receive sufficient notice in advance of losing their property due to unpaid taxes. LB 463, introduced by Sen. Matt Williams of Gothenburg, would require that property owners must be notified at least three months before the property is acquired. The committee did not take any action on the bill.
The Judiciary Committee heard a proposal on Feb. 7 that would allow adoption by two people regardless of their marital status. LB 426, introduced by Sen. Wendy DeBoer of Bennington, would also not require the child’s first parent to relinquish their parental rights. The committee did not take action on the proposal.
A bill that would expand a person’s eligibility for unemployment benefits advanced from general file Feb. 7. LB 306, introduced by Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue, adds caring for a family member with a serious health condition to the list of reasons which are considered good cause for voluntarily leaving employment under the law. The senators advanced the bill to select file on a 29-11 vote.