State Senator Sara Howard sends the following about the 2020 Legislative Session after adjournment:
After recessing in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature returned on July 20th to complete the final 17 days of the session. We completed our work on August 13th. In order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, significant changes were made to the legislative chamber and the way we interacted with each other.
As you may have seen in the news, the last 17 days were filled with acrimony and short tempers as we debated several very emotional and divisive issues. Despite this atmosphere, I am proud of the work that I was able to get accomplished for the people of Nebraska.
As I mentioned in my last newsletter, I was successful in getting several of my priority legislation passed into law. As Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, I was honored to work with a great group of Senators who were willing to work together to address very difficult issues such as the problems at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers. I am very proud of the quality legislation that our committee produced that will benefit kids in Nebraska.
In the final days of the session, the Legislature did pass a “Grand Compromise” on property tax relief and business incentives. Previous attempts at addressing the property tax issue involved significant changes to state aid to school districts which negatively impacted larger school district such as Omaha, Millard and Lincoln. I opposed these changes to state aid and the opposition was strong enough to prevent that plan from moving forward.
At the same time, the business incentive legislation and the new UNMC all-hazards disaster response facility funding were also stalled. The funding for the UNMC program will be tremendous economic benefit to Midtown should the Federal Government select Omaha for this very important research facility. Click here for more information on the UNMC project.
As part of this “Grand Compromise”, LB 1107 contained provisions dealing with all three issues into a single bill. Most importantly, the controversial changes to state aid for school districts was removed from the property tax bill. Instead, a new refundable tax credit based upon the amount of property taxes paid to your school district.
You can learn more about the “Grand Compromise” by clicking here.
This was my 8th and final session representing District 9 in the Legislature. It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Midtown Omaha. My office remains open until January so if you have any issue involving state government, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Please stay safe as we continue to fight COVID-19.