106th Nebraska Legislature, First Session
The First Session of the 106th Nebraska Legislature convened on January 9, 2019. This Dirt Alert provides an update on certain bills introduced during the first five days of the Session related to telecommunications, municipal law, healthcare, real estate, renewable energy, and taxation. There are five more days of bill introductions and we will publish another update covering additional bills the Legislature may introduce. Here is a comprehensive list of the bills we are tracking and their current status.
Through the first five days of the Session, we have identified ten bills warranting particular attention. These bills are:
LB29 would allow healthcare providers to establish provider-patient relationships and prescribe medications via telecommunication services. The Legislature referred LB29 to the Health and Human Services Committee.
LB30 would amend the Professional Landscape Architects Act. The bill would update and modernize the professional standards of landscape architects. The Legislature referred LB30 to the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
LB76 would amend provisions relating to the nameplate capacity tax under section 77-6202 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes. Specifically, the bill would base nameplate capacity (for purposes of the tax) upon the renewable energy facility’s alternating current capacity. The Legislature referred LB76 to the Revenue Committee.
LB110 is a priority bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska via adoption of the Medical Cannabis Act. The Medical Cannabis Act would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to treat the effects of certain enumerated medical conditions in patients that are at least twenty-one years of age. Patients would have to undergo a registry verification process to qualify for treatment. The act would set forth a number of safeguards in an attempt to deter criminal or recreational use of marijuana. The Legislature referred LB110 to the Judiciary Committee.
LB136 would adopt the Density Bonus and Inclusionary Housing Act, which would provide real estate developers municipal concessions and/or incentives for incorporating affordable housing units as part of a development project. The incentives would come in the form of a reduction of site development standards, a modification of zoning requirements, a modification of architectural design requirements, an increase in allowable residential density, or other regulatory incentives proposed by the developer. The amount of incentives the developer would receive would depend upon the percentage of the project used for “low-income” or “very low-income” housing. LB136 would allow municipalities to adopt an ordinance implementing procedural and compliance mechanisms under the act; however, so long as the developer met the requirements of the act, the municipality’s approval of the incentives would be mandatory. The Legislature referred LB136 to the Urban Affairs Committee.
LB155 would eliminate the legislative declaration that the use of eminent domain by a governmental entity to provide transmission lines and other facilities for privately-developed renewable energy facilities is a “public use.” This would effectively hinder private development of renewable energy by cutting off access to infrastructure via eminent domain. The Legislature referred LB155 to the Natural Resources Committee.
LB218 would exempt electric generation, transmission, distribution and street lighting facilities owned by a political subdivision from taxable personal property. The bill further exempts the lease or use of such facilities from taxable gross receipts. The Legislature referred LB218 to the Revenue Committee.
LB285 would appropriate $200,000 from the State’s general fund to conduct an electric transmission and infrastructure study focused on policy and future needs to encourage and facilitate the development of renewable energy facilities in Nebraska.
LB302 would merge the Nebraska State Energy Office with the Department of Environmental Quality under a newly-formed Department of Environment and Energy. Additionally, the bill would merge the statutes relating to the governance and operations of the separate departments.
LB310 would make certain amendments to the statutes governing state historic tax credits. Specifically, the bill would require that the Department of Revenue issue its determinations with respect to the credits within sixty days after referral of the application to the Department (with an option for a thirty-day extension). If the Department failed to make a determination within such time period, the amounts applied for would be deemed approved. The bill would further allow an applicant to appeal any determination of the Department of Revenue with respect to the credits in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
We will provide summaries of these bills in the coming weeks and an update after bill introductions conclude. Copies of all bills are available on the Nebraska Legislature’s website at http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions about these bills or any others. Thank you.
David C. Levy
Michael D. Sands
Addison E. Fairchild