106th Nebraska Legislature, First Session
The First Session of the 106th Nebraska Legislature convened on January 9, 2019. As of as Thursday, April 11, there are 32 days left in the session, which concludes on June 6, 2019.
Bill introduction concluded on January 23, 2019. At the conclusion of bill introduction, we identified 28 bills warranting attention. Summaries of those available bills are available here and here. In our last update, available here, we provided information about several bills that had notable activity. As of right now, several more bills have had notable activity. Below is an update of those bills:
LB 30 (amends the Professional Landscape Architects Act to update and modernize professional standards of landscape architects): On February 22, the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee placed LB 30 on General File with an amendment. The amendment removes enhanced criminal penalties, clarifies the bill, and removes some language relating to internship requirements.
LB 76 (amends provisions relating to the nameplate capacity by basing nameplate capacity upon renewable energy facilities’ alternating current capacity): The Revenue Committee placed LB 76 on General File on March 13.
LB 155 (eliminates 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): Since our last update, on February 27, the Legislature voted on LB 155 and failed to advance it. On March 19, Senator Clements designated LB 155 as a priority bill. If passed, this bill will have a negative impact on commercial wind development. We will continue to monitor it closely.
LB 218 (exempts electric generation, transmission, distribution and street lighting facilities owned by a political subdivision from taxable personal property): The Revenue Committee placed LB 218 on General File on March 13 with an amendment. The amendment changes the bill in its entirety by amending the definition of real property to include electric generation, transmission, distribution and street lighting facilities in the definition, as opposed to the initial bill that exempted those types of property from sales tax. Speaker Jim Scheer selected LB 218 as his priority bill. On April 10, LB 218 advanced to Enrollment and Review for Engrossment for reprinting before Final Reading.
LB 302 (merges the Nebraska State Energy Office with the Department of Environmental Quality under a newly-formed Department of Environment and Energy and merges the statutes relating to the governance and operations of the separate departments): On March 15, LB 302 passed on Final Reading with an emergency clause. The Governor signed it on March 21. LB 302 will take effect on May 20, 2019.
LB 310 (amends the statutes governing state historic tax credits): Since our last update, the Revenue Committee placed LB 310 on General File with an amendment. The amendment requires recipients of the credit to pay a fee equal to 0.275% of the credit amount to the Department of Revenue for the cost of processing applications.
LB 700 (requires that any person that owns, operates, or manages a wind energy conversion system be responsible for all decommissioning or reclamation costs necessary for the removal of the system): On March 19, the Natural Resources Committee designated LB 700 as its priority bill. LB 700 would require wind energy developers to cover all costs associated with removing wind energy conversion systems. On April 5, the Committee placed LB 700 on General File with an amendment. The amendment would:
- require that wind turbine owners provide landowners with information on materials and equipment that will remain on their land when a turbine is decommissioned;
- require that every wind agreement executed on or after January 1, 2020, provide for the removal of below grade foundation material and equipment upon decommissioning, but excludes wind turbines that will be used for repowering within 24 months;
- require that voids left from removal be restored to pre-installation condition or an improved condition per agreement between the landowner and turbine owner; and
- allow political subdivisions to enact standards that meet or exceed the requirements of LB 700.
We are opposing LB 700 on behalf of our wind energy development clients.
LB 731 (requires cities of the metropolitan class to include an energy element in a comprehensive plan when adopting or updating a comprehensive plan): On March 14, the Urban Affairs Committee placed LB 731 on General File with an amendment. The amendment extends LB 731 to apply to counties.
LR 14CA (amends the Nebraska Constitution to authorize municipalities to pledge property taxes for up to twenty years if more than one-half of property in a redevelopment project is extremely blighted): On March 7, the Urban Affairs placed LR 14CA on General File. On March 19, the Urban Affairs Committee designated LR 14CA as its priority resolution. Senator Groene filed FA 26, which would amend LR 14CA to allow municipalities to pledge property taxes if 100% of the property is extremely blighted as opposed to more than one-half. On April 5, LR 14CA, advanced to Initial Enrollment and Review. On April 10, Senator Groene filed an amendment that clarifies that blighting is determined by law; the amendment was adopted. LR 14CA advanced on Enrollment and Review for Engrossment.
An updated chart of all First Session bills related to related to municipal law, real estate, renewable energy, liquor, finance, healthcare and taxation is located here. All bills are available on the Nebraska Legislature’s website at http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/. Please contact us if you have any questions about these bills or any others the Nebraska Legislature is currently considering. Thank you.
David C. Levy
Michael D. Sands
Addison E. Fairchild