Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Center for Rural Affairs May 16, 2005 Nebraska Legislative Update

-- from the desk of Jon Bailey, Director Rural Research and Analysis Program
Center for Rural Affairs

Legislative Update

May 16, 2005

LB 90: Rural Economic Development Package

The Unicameral completed first round debate on LB 90, the amended bill that now represents a package of rural economic development initiatives. Again, the package includes 1) increased funding for ethanol production credits; 2) value-added agriculture grants (originally LB 71); 3) increasing loan and qualifying amounts for the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority beginning farmer program (originally LB 688); and grants to communities for entrepreneurial development (originally LB 273).

During General File debate, two major amendments were adopted. An amendment offered by Sen. Chambers would require communities to provide dollar-for-dollar match (rather than in-kind) for the entrepreneurial grants, and an amendment offered by Sen. Beutler would sunset the value-added and entrepreneurial grants on October 1, 2010 (the same date as the ethanol production credits sunset).

The bill was advanced to Select File debate, likely early this week.

LB 312: Business Tax Incentive Reform

LB 312, the proposed revision of the state’s business tax incentive programs, also received General File debate last week. The bill advanced to Select File. There are numerous amendments pending.

Budget Update

LB 425, the main budget bill, was advanced to Final Reading. With few relatively minor changes, the Appropriations Committee budget recommendation was advanced. Among the amendments added to the budget bill were: 1) an increase on the cap on state aid to schools for special education; 2) $7.5 million for each of the budget’s two years to be transferred from the reserve fund for job training; and 3) increased aid for counties to reimburse them for jailing state prisoners.

Bills Update

Any bill designated a Priority Bill will also have a “P” attached to its number (for example, LB 123P). The chief sponsor of the bill is listed in parentheses.

The words Support or Oppose after a bill description indicate where the Center for Rural Affairs has taken a position on the bill. If neither word is indicated, the Center has not taken a position at this time.

NOTE: Once a bill is Indefinitely Postponed (killed) or signed into law, we will remove it from the Legislative Update list.

Rural Development

LB 28 (Connealy) – The “Endow Nebraska Act.” The bill would provide a tax credit for a contribution to a qualified charitable organization. The bill sits on Select File. Support


LB 132 (Cunningham) – This bill modifies the Nebraska Pasteurized Milk Law by providing exemptions to small-scale dairies and processors to the often-expensive bottling and processing requirements, and by allowing dairies and farmers to advertise on-farm sales of non-pasteurized milk (currently, the sale of non-pasteurized milk cannot be advertised). The bill sits on General File. Support

LB 346P (Agriculture Committee) – Would modify several provisions of the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act all with the goal to increase utilization of the tax credit. The bill sits on General File. Support


LB 126P (Raikes) – Would mandate the “assimilation” of Class I schools (elementary-only schools) into K-12 school districts for the 2006-07 school year. The bill awaits action on Select File. Oppose

LB 129P (Education Committee) – An overhaul of the formula for state aid to schools. The bill is pending in the Education Committee.


LB 550 (Jensen) – Requires a plan to be submitted by December 1, 2005, for the financial support of community health centers and emergency medical services in the state. The bill awaits action by the Health and Human Services Committee.


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