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on Monday, 9 November 2020 in Dirt Alert: David C. Levy, Editor

Elections for federal offices and the Nebraska State Legislature, among many others, took place November 3, 2020.  In addition to the U.S. presidential and congressional elections, Nebraskans voted for state legislators and several statewide ballot measures.  Below is a summary of Nebraska’s legislative elections and a ballot measure of interest to this publication:

Nebraska Legislative Elections

The Legislature is officially nonpartisan.  However, the 106th Legislature consisted of 30 registered Republicans, 18 registered Democrats, and one registered Independent.  Following the 2020 election, Republicans gained one seat in the Legislature.  The 107th Legislature will consist of 31 registered Republicans and 18 registered Democrats.  Full election results are available on the Nebraska Secretary of State’s website

Most incumbents retained their seats in 2020.  However, in District 35, Raymond Aguilar (R) defeated incumbent Dan Quick (D), and in District 49, Jen Day defeated incumbent Andrew La Grone (R).  Changes in party affiliation occurred in three additional districts.  In District 31, Rich Pahls (R) defeated Tim Royers (D) for the seat of term-limited Senator Rick Kolowski (D).  In District 45, Rita Sanders (R) defeated Susan Hester (D) for the seat of term-limited Senator Sue Crawford (D).  Finally, in District 11, Terrell McKinney (D) replaced term-limited Senator Ernie Chambers (I) in District 11.

All legislative election results. 

Incumbents who retained their seats include:

Julie Slama (R)

District 1

Carol Blood (D)

District 3

Mike McDonnell (D)

District 5

Tony Vargas (D)

District 7

Justin Wayne (D)

District 13

Lynne Walz (D)

District 15

Joni Albrecht (R)

District 17

Mike Hilgers (R)

District 21

Bruce Bostelman (R)

District 23

Suzanne Geist (R)

District 25

Anna Wishart (D)

District 27

Steve Halloran (R)

District 33

John Lowe Sr. (R)

District 37

Lou Ann Linehan (R)

District 39

Tom Briese (R)

District 41

Tom Brewer (R)

District 43

Steve Erdman (R)

District 47

Challengers who defeated incumbents are:

Raymond Aguilar (R)

District 35

Jen Day (D)

District 49

Senators who filled the vacant seats of retiring or term-limited senators are:

John Cavanaugh (D)

District 9

Terrell McKinney (D)

District 11

Mike Flood (R)

District 19

Eliot Bostar (D)

District 29

Rich Pahls (R)

District 31

Rita Sanders (R)

District 45

Amendment 2 – Legislatively Referred Constitutional Amendment

A 2020 statewide ballot initiative of interest to this publication is a proposed amendment to Article VIII, Section 12 of the Nebraska Constitution (the “Amendment”) that allows extension of the repayment period of Tax Increment Financing (“TIF”) indebtedness for properties in areas with high rates of poverty and unemployment.  Omaha Senator Justin Wayne introduced the Amendment during the 2019 Legislative Session and the Legislature voted 43-2 in favor of placing it on the ballot.  In the 2020 election, 61 percent of Nebraska voters supported the Amendment, and thus it passed and will become law.  The Amendment is not an automatic extension.  It authorizes the Legislature to approve the 20-year repayment period for extremely blighted properties.  We have yet to see whether the Legislature will take up the issue in its 2021 Legislative Session.

The Nebraska Constitution currently allows recipients of TIF funding a maximum repayment period of 15 years.  The Amendment will allow the Legislature to extend the repayment period up to 20 years if the recipient uses the TIF funds on properties with “extreme blight” designations.  Nebraska law defines “extreme blight” as an area with an unemployment rate that is 200% higher than the state average and a poverty rate of more than 20 percent, according to the most recent federal census.  Here is a map of extremely blighted areas in the City of Omaha.

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