The legislature is fully operational and moving out smartly. Of the 23 bills I introduced this session, I presented seven of them in hearings this week.

 

Military pensions

LB 153 is a bill that exempts 50% of a military retiree’s pension from Nebraska state income tax. It was heard in Revenue Committee. This is very similar bill I introduced two years ago. This time, the bill was “introduced on behalf of the Governor” who has made it a priority in his budget. I was honored to have the governor be the first to testify in support of this bill.

I am very grateful for and would like to recognize the huge turn-out from the many veteran groups across Nebraska who came out in support of the bill.

After an hours-long hearing, and scores of people who came to testify, there was no opposition. I am optimistic the Revenue Committee will advance this bill to General File.

 

Brand director

LB 660 updates the Brand Committee system in Nebraska. It removes the requirement for the Executive Director to be “law-enforcement certified” and creates a new chief investigator position to perform that role. I believe the Executive Director of the Brand Committee should be someone who has spent a lifetime in the cattle business. Whether or not they can manage to graduate from the rigorous 16-week course at Nebraska Law Enforcement Academy isn’t the best measure of the knowledge and experience the person really needs for this job.

We’re waiting for the Agriculture Committee to hold an executive session and vote on LB 660.

 

Eminent domain

LB 155 is my priority bill this session. It repeals one sentence out of the existing law. Currently, the law allows private citizens to use the government power of eminent domain against their neighbors so they can run feeder lines across their neighbors land to connect their wind energy facility to the power grid.

A private citizen should not be able to use the government power of eminent domain against their neighbors so they can make money. At the end of the day, that is what wind energy in Nebraska is about – making private people and corporations money. We certainly have no public need for the electricity wind farms occasionally make.

There are over 400 megawatts of excess electrical generation in Nebraska.

I don’t object to anyone making money. Lord knows our farmers and ranchers can use every penny. Doing so at the expense of their neighbors, however, is just wrong. The bill was heard in the Natural Resources Committee this week, and I am waiting for Sen. Hughes to hold an executive session and vote on LB 155.

Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at; tbrewer@leg.ne.gov. Mail a letter to; Sen. Tom Brewer, Room #1423, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509 or call us at (402) 471-2628.