LINCOLN— Thursday marked the last day of bill introduction for the session. Lawmakers introduced 469 bills and nine proposed constitutional amendments.
» Tax offset. Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion introduced LB 1090 to keep the federal income tax changes from increasing what Nebraskans pay in state income taxes. The bill provides for new state personal exemptions and increases the standard deduction amount. Without the bill, Nebraska would see an estimated $220 million increase in income tax revenues.
» Legislative ethics. A Legislative Ethics Board would be created under LB 1099, introduced by Sen. John Kuehn of Heartwell. The board would be charged with receiving and investigating complaints of inappropriate conduct by state senators and legislative employees. The board also would administer disciplinary sanctions.
» Care facility oversight. An Inspector General of Nebraska Public Health would be created to investigate and review state-licensed and state-run care facilities under LB 1093, introduced by Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont. The bill was prompted by the September death of a veteran at a mental health facility in Palmer, Nebraska. State officials had inspected the facility but took no action until after the woman died.
» Quality education. A new state agency, the Quality Education Accountability Office, would be created to analyze and report annually on the performance of Nebraska public schools under LB 1116, introduced by Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Omaha. The reports would include performance scores for each school building and district.
» Cigarette tax. Taxes on cigarettes would increase to $2.14 a pack, up from 64 cents, under LB 1117, introduced by Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue. The bill also would increase taxes on other tobacco products.
» Legislative pay. Nebraska lawmakers would get a pay raise under LR 295CA, a proposed constitutional amendment offered by Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha. The proposal would set lawmakers’ salary at 50 percent of the median household income for Nebraskans. Based on 2016 figures, that would mean a salary of $28,464, up from the current $12,000 per year.
» Redistricting. People in the United States illegally would not be counted when determining the boundaries of legislative districts under LB 1115, introduced by Sen. John Murante of Gretna.