Inside the Rotunda, Week 11

Working Moms

The Nebraska Legislature is currently spending a considerable amount of time debating issues related to job protections and economic security for working Nebraskans. Thus far, the results have been mixedLB400 (Hunt) would have raised the minimum wage for tipped workers, but it hit the three-hour limit for debate and the Speaker removed it from the schedule, effectively ending its chances this session since it doesn’t have the 33 votes required to overcome a filibuster. 

Immediately after the LB400 debate, the Nebraska Legislature then gave first-round approval to LB217 (Pansing Brooks) which would prevent employers from firing or retaliating against workers who disclose wages. While this bill is primarily aimed at protecting women who seek to compare wages to determine if they are being compensated equally to their male counterparts, the bill actually protects all workers who disclose their wages. LB217 is modeled after a bill brought at the federal level by Senator Deb Fischer. 

Expected to hit the floor of the Legislature soon is LB311 (Crawford), which is one of Senator Cavanaugh’s priority bills. LB311 would adopt the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act, providing partial wage replacement for eligible workers to care for themselves or a family member following a serious illness or to care for a new child through birth, foster care or adoption. 
It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that the abundance of bills related to working families and working moms coincides with the growing number of working moms in the body. 

Death Penalty Headed To Floor

Senator Ernie Chambers has a long history of fighting against the death penalty, and he will have a chance to bring his case before the Legislature again this session.The Judiciary Committee advanced his LB44 last week to General File (the first of three rounds of floor debate). Expect transparency issues to come up as part of this debate.  This is one of many priority bills that will be sure to generate lively debate this session. As a reminder, Tuesday, March 19 is the deadline for committee and senator priorities. Committees get two priority bills and senators get one priority bill each. The Speaker will announce his priority bills Wednesday, March 20. He can give priority status to an additional 25 bills.

Revenue Committee Looking at Income Tax Cuts

The Revenue Committee is once again looking at trying to combine personal and corporate income tax cuts as part of a package that would include property tax cuts.  Your Capitol Fly on the Wall anticipates serious skepticism from progressives in the body. 

The Daily Worksheet

Did you know the daily worksheet located on the legislative calendar offers a great way to see a snapshot of the status of all bills? If you want a quick look at what’s going to be up on the schedule, this is a great resource. If the Legislature gets through all the designated priority bills, those listed on “General File” will be taken up again in the order listed on the worksheet. At the pace bills are moving (or dying) on the floor, the Legislature could still get back to non-priority bills this session. One “old timer” in the lobby recently told me he couldn’t recall things moving this quickly in prior years.   

Until Next Week. 

Your Capitol Fly on the Wall