Nebraska Capitol

LINCOLN - Priority bills are starting to be discussed on the floor of the Nebraska Legislature, with one bill on the verge of being passed.

Senator Barry DeKay of Niobrara says LB 753 survived filibuster and passed on to the second round of voting by a 31-12 margin. The bill would adopt the Opportunity Scholarships Act, providing scholarship to assist eligible students attend a qualified, nonprofit elementary or secondary school.

"Eligible students are defined as students who are dealing with bullying, foster care, individualized education plans, or come from a household income of no more than 300% of the income indicated in the income eligible guidelines for free and reduced lunch."

Under the act, DeKay says that induvial and corporate taxpayers would qualify for a nonrefundable tax credit equal to the amount the taxpayer contributed to the scholarship granting organization.

If passed, he says that credits would initially be capped at $25 million, but would increase by 125% each following year if the amount granted exceeded 90% of the annual limit in the prior year.

Outside of the current floor bills, several priority bills are making their way through committee hearings and are also on their way to the floor.

DeKay  says one of those bills, LB 31, would help improve train safety in Nebraska.

"Under LB 31, a train or light engine used in transportation of freight would be required to operate with a crew of at least two individuals. With recent derailments and accidents in the news, train personnel say two person train crews help save lives."

DeKay says that supporters of the bill argued that Nebraska should not wait for federal action, while opponents say the issue is better resolved to collective bargaining.

Other priority bills include LB 535, which would provide a framework for voter ID, and LB 584, which would impose a tax on e-cigarette and vaping devices in an effort to reduce usage.

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