Bill introduction came to an end last week with 812 bills and over two dozen constitutional amendments..

We also adopted permanent rules for how the Legislature will operate this biennium. Although there were many proposed changes, those advanced from the Rules Committee were fairly non-controversial; however, there may be two more rule changes in the coming weeks which will be highly contested. Until then, we are moving on to committee hearings.

Unlike many states, all bills get a public hearing in the Nebraska Legislature. On Monday, Jan. 23, committees will begin taking comments on the bills in their jurisdiction. Committees must complete all hearings by March 24. Hearings must be scheduled a week in advance and the public may participate by testifying in person or submitting comments through the Legislature’s website.

The Urban Affairs Committee has scheduled two of my bills for hearing on Jan. 31.

Extending mayor’s tie-break authority

The first bill is LB 33, a clean-up bill that clarifies when the mayor of a city of the first class (population of 5,001-100,000) can vote to break a tie. This issue came to my attention when the city of North Platte was voting to place the recreation center bond issue on the November ballot. LB 33 would clarify that a mayor may break a tie when one or more of the council members are absent, but does not allow the mayor to vote to create a super-majority.

Micro-TIF

The second bill is LB 98. This bill makes three changes to the Micro-TIF statutes.

First, the bill would permit cities other than Lincoln and Omaha to conduct a large “blight and substandard” study but then only declare certain individual lots as blighted and substandard to allow the TIF funds to be more targeted.

Second, LB 98 allows a city to limit the number of redevelopment plans approved in any one year.

Third, and most importantly, the bill directs TIF proceeds to the holder of the note instead of the owner of the home. This is a necessary change so the developers who remodel a home under this program can retain the TIF proceeds if they subsequently sell the home.

If the proceeds go to the note holder, the developer can then pledge the note to a lender just as they can with the other TIF programs and have those funds available to use to complete the project.

In the past, updates to the Micro-TIF program have gotten strong support in the Legislature. With a large group of incoming senators, it will be important that everyone understands how the program works now and the many benefits of my proposed changes.

I am pleased to have early hearing dates for both LB 33 and LB 98 and do not expect either bill to be controversial.

I am hopeful that these bills will either be eligible for the consent calendar or be included in a committee omnibus bill, so I can use my priority bill designation on another proposal.

I will keep you informed each week regarding upcoming bill hearings of interest. I also invite you to join my weekly call with the North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corporation. Please contact the chamber directly at 308-532-4966 to get the updated times and call-in information.

Although things are somewhat slow at this point, that will soon change. From Jan. 30 to Feb. 10, we will hold bill hearings in the morning and afternoon, after which we will begin floor debate in earnest.

I remain focused on delivering results for District 42 and look forward to a busy session. As legislation and other issues arise, please feel free to reach out to me at mjacobson@leg.ne.gov or 402-471-2729. My door is always open.

© 2023 The North Platte Bulletin. All rights reserved.