LINCOLN – Since the legislature reunited in Nebraska on Jan. 6, the state’s senators have introduced new laws ranging from reducing tax obligations for military retirees to providing scholarships to private schools to improving youth rights in state care. Here you will find a brief overview of the bills introduced in the last two weeks of the legislative period.
Private school scholarships
Elkhorn Senator Lou Ann Linehan introduced LB364 to allow taxpayers to apply for a non-refundable tax credit of up to 50% of their contributions to grant providers.
The bill is intended to cover private school tuition and fees for low-income students. Grant recipients must be a Nebraska resident and from a household whose gross income does not exceed the National School Lunch Program eligibility guidelines for discounted meals.
Opponents of the bill said the bill would redirect tax money and priority from Nebraska public schools to the private school system.
The Justice Committee is considering LB357, sponsored by Senator Megan Hunt of Omaha, to protect the rights of foster youth in Nebraska.
The law would give young people special rights in government institutions and rehabilitation centers. It ensures that caseworkers repeatedly inform young people of their rights and use age-appropriate language, and protects a young person’s family ties.
Linehan also introduced LR22CA to allow Nebraskans to vote on capping local property tax growth to 3%.
If passed, Nebraska voters would see that change in the November 2022 general election. This bill was also proposed at the request of the governor. Previously, he spoke out in favor of limiting the property tax of Nebraskans.
A bill proposed by Senator Adam Morfeld of Lincoln would give student journalists full first-time adjustment rights.
While student journalists would get more press rights, they would be expected to abide by journalistic ethical standards set out in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. Student media advisors would also be instructed to use the resources and advice of professional media organizations on mass media law and ethics.
Several students and advisors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communication testified before the Judiciary Committee in support of the bill.
A previous proposal, LB206, extended full freedom of expression and press freedom to media professionals for high school and upper secondary journalists. This new bill extends those rights and further protects student journalists and school-sponsored press.
Prison-related invoices include:
LB525, introduced by Senator Anna Wishart of Lincoln, who would establish a full-time program to investigate and review the Nebraska Correctional System to improve operations, policies and procedures. The bill would also change the ability of the Inspector General of the Nebraska Penitentiary System to conduct investigations and file reports.
– LB519, introduced by Lincoln Senator Adam Morfeld, would provide immunity from arrest and prosecution for drug and alcohol offenses for witnessing or being the victim of sexual assault.
LB621, introduced by Senator Curt Friesen of Henderson, would pass the Social Media Fairness Act. As part of the proposal, the owner of a dominant social media site must electronically notify the person or company who owns the account and tell them that their account will be disabled, suspended, or censored.
LB623, introduced by Omaha Senator Tony Vargas, would pass the Distance Learning Act to provide guidelines for school authorities’ distance learning plans.
LB590, introduced by North Platte Senator Mike Groene, would reduce the amount of time available for early voting before an election.