The 2nd Session of the 106th Legislature begins Jan. 8. I have three “carry-over” bills from last session that have been voted out of committee.

They will hopefully be among the first bills we debate after the session starts.

LB 153 is a bill that exempts 50% of a military retiree’s pension from Nebraska income tax. All of the states around us either do not tax military retirement at all, or give this income much friendlier treatment than we do. Consequently, most military retirees don’t settle in Nebraska.

Addressing this problem is long overdue. (I should disclose the fact that I and my legislative aide are both retired Army colonels and will personally benefit from this bill if it passes.) I am glad I have the opportunity to be a strong voice for the military and our veterans. I am sincerely grateful to Sen. John Lowe from Kearney for making this his priority bill.

 

LB 582 is a bill that would help take stolen guns off the street. It will be particularly useful to the prosecutors and the brave police officers working the “Gang Unit” in our large cities where stolen firearms pose the greatest threat to public safety.

Instead of taking guns from citizens without due process of law, which so-called “Red Flag” laws do, this bill takes guns out of the hands of criminals who shouldn’t have them to begin with. According to a study by the Heritage Foundation, “as much as 80% (of) gun-related crimes are carried out with illegally owned firearms.”

 

LB 157 is another carry-over bill that helps protect Nebraska’s beekeepers.

Each year, hundreds of truckloads of bee hives from out of state are brought into Nebraska. They often site these hives right on top of a Nebraska beekeeper. This is no different than me grazing my cattle on my neighbors pasture and stealing his forage.

Two-thirds of everything you see in the produce aisle at the grocery store is there because of a honey bee, and they are having a real tough time right now.

I want to close with a thought about Thanksgiving. It was President Abraham Lincoln who made Thanksgiving a federal holiday. It amazes me that he could think of a reason to give thanks in the fall of 1863. I can’t think of a darker year in American history.

Lincoln didn’t use the proclamation to score political points or bash the Confederacy. He used it to give thanks for the entire country, even though it was bitterly divided. I think we all can realize that despite all our differences, it’s not 1863 in America. We really do have a lot to be thankful for. On behalf of all of us here so honored to represent the good people of western Nebraska, I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving.

 

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.