Legislature Enters Final 30 Days of Session

By Senator Lydia Brasch

With the end of the week, Friday, April 10, the legislature entered our final thirty days of session. This week also marked the third full week of all-day floor debate and, when not stalled, things are beginning to move in full force. We discussed a number of key concerns in debate this week such as tax relief, foster parenting, economic development, and Medicaid expansion.


The Medicaid Redesign Act (LB472) was debated on Wednesday afternoon. While the intention of LB472 to “increase economic efficiencies and better serve all Nebraskans in the medical assistance program” seems ideal, the floor debate exposed crucial bill flaws. LB472 would have added approximately 54,000 additional Nebraskans to Medicaid at a cost to the state of nearly half a billion dollars beyond the limited Federal funding. While I support the need to provide effective medical services at lower costs, LB472 is simply economically unsustainable. After it was clear LB472 had insufficient support, the bill was bracketed which means the issue can no longer be debated during this session.


LB414 also received significant attention. LB414 exempts fraternal benefit societies from property taxes. Discussion on this bill revolved around two issues. First, LB414 was criticized as special interest legislation to satisfy a fraternal benefit organization from Omaha, Woodmen of the World. Second, there was considerable conversation regarding the Legislature’s priority efforts on property tax relief. Many Senators, including myself, expressed the need to address property tax relief for our farmers and ranchers.


LB449 was also discussed and easily advanced to second round of debate. LB449 changes provisions of the Business Innovation Act and the Nebraska Visitors Development Act. LB449 was prioritized by the Appropriations Committee. It was also amended to include LB569 which is a bill I introduced. LB569 modifies certain provisions of the Business Innovation Act and gives the Department of Economic Development greater flexibility to fund several programs supporting development of Nebraska-based technology and innovation in both rural and urban communities.


Finally, LB623 was considered by the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee in an executive session. I serve as vice-chair of the committee. LB623 addresses granting a drivers license to those brought here by illegal immigrant parents as a child. These children are now teenagers and young adults and have been granted deferred action by an executive agency. LB623 would grant them ‘lawful status’ for the purposes of operators licenses and ID cards. Every other state has already extended some form of drivers license or state ID benefit. LB623 received the five votes necessary to advance to the whole legislature. I was present but did not vote because of my strong belief and support of legal immigration. However, due to sincere compassion for those in this situation I withheld strict opposition to the bill. I cannot fully support LB623 because I believe we have an obligation to pass state laws that uphold legal paths of immigration which many others lawfully and patiently follow.


As always, please contact me, administrative aide, Katie Wattermann, or legislative aide, Tom Venzor, with questions or thoughts at (402)471-2728 or e-mail at lbrasch@leg.ne.gov.


Keeping the Good Life Growing in Nebraska,

Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16

Senator Lydia Brasch

Senator Lydia Brasch

About katcountryhub
I am a graduate of Northeast Community College with a degree in journalism. I am married to Jeff Gilliland. We have two grown children, Justin and Whitney and four grandchildren, Grayce, Grayhm, Charli and Penelope. I will be covering Lyons, Decatur, Bancroft and Rosalie and am hoping to expand my horizons as time progresses!

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