WAYNE – With the first week of March being the final week of committee hearings, District 17 Senator Joni Albrecht provided her weekly update ahead of a full swing of floor debate during the second session of the 107th Nebraska Legislature.
According to a release from the office of Senator Albrecht, short sessions create a very intense dynamic for the legislature, demanding focus on priority bills, which means the most important legislation rises to the forefront.
During the weekly report closing out the month of February last week, Senator Albrecht highlighted three major pro-life bills, the tax reform bill that advanced to select recently, ethanol stakeholders asking Albrecht to carry LB596 along with an elective soil education that also advanced to select.
Of the pro-life bills heard by the Legislative Judiciary Committee, Senator Albrecht introduced LB933 (the Human Life Protection Act) which provides that if or when Roe v. Wade is overturned, the performance of an abortion in Nebraska will be an illegal act.
Senator Albrecht said, “there is an exception for a medical emergency to preserve the life of the mother. No woman who obtains or seeks an abortion may be prosecuted.”
Senator Julie Slama introduced LB781, the Heartbeat Act which prohibits an abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected while Senator Suzanne Geist introduced LB1086, Chemical Abortion Safety Protocol Act which improves safety and reporting requirements for chemical abortion and prohibits chemical abortion after seven weeks gestation.
The Tax Reform Bill is a Revenue Committee Bill, LB939 introduced by Senator Lou Ann Linehan and is an income and corporate tax reduction plan that would attract businesses and talent to Nebraska, helping meet the challenge posed by Nebraska’s current workforce shortage and opening the door to growth in the state.
Senator Albrecht added, “the bill will reduce the top individual income tax rate from 6.84% to 5.58% as follows: TY 2023 6.34% TY 2024 6.14% TY 2025 5.84% bringing consistency between the top rate for both individual and corporate income taxes. This bill could be historical in the efforts to bring tax reform to help grow and keep people in our great state. I foresee amendments coming and will keep you posted to what happens with LB939.”
LB596 became a Speaker Priority Bill and will create the Nebraska Higher Blend Tax Credit Act for Nebraska retail dealers that sell and dispense E-15 or higher blends. The Act would become effective January 1, 2022. The ethanol industry in Nebraska supports jobs for more than 1,400 Nebraskans and directly impacts Nebraska’s economy by $5 billion. There are 25 ethanol plants who have the capacity to produce more than 2.5 billion gallons of ethanol– making Nebraska the No. 2 ethanol-producing state in the country. Ethanol production increases demand for field corn, which helps Nebraska’s agriculture thrive.
Another bill that Senator Albrecht is keeping an eye on is LB925 (Elective Soil Education) which would require the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to provide technical and legal assistance to a producer learning community — a nonprofit, voluntary membership organization led by agricultural producers — to foster skills and share knowledge related to healthy soils management. The proposal also would require the DNR to divide the state into different regions representative of each area’s diversity of soils, topography, rainfall, cropping systems and other factors.
Senator Albrecht mentioned, “I voted in favor of the bill because it does not require producers to take part, but rather simply encourages producers to weigh in on best practices. It is my perspective that, if passed, I would like to see the DNR cover the cost. I foresee some amendments coming on this bill. Stay tuned.”
Nebraska Governor, Pete Ricketts also proclaimed February 19 – 26 as FFA Week in Nebraska in late February. Designated as a national week in 1947, selected to celebrate the impact George Washington had on agriculture, FFA chapters across the country were using this week to help others in their school and community learn about FFA and agriculture education. In 2020-2021 there were 200 FFA Chapters in Nebraska, involving 229 FFA teachers and advisors as well as over 10,000 members strong.
If you have any comments or concerns, contact Senator Albrecht at 402-471-2716 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senator Albrecht would like for her constituents to understand that with over 1,200 bills being heard over a 60-days period she is not able to personally respond to all of the emails and calls.