Senator John Lowe: 2020 Legislative Recap

John Lowe

District 37

This last legislative session was definitely one for the record books. We managed to get a lot of things accomplished, but we once again had to deal with an unexpected crisis. Last year we struggled with flooding throughout Nebraska. And obviously today we are still dealing with COVID-19 and the economic aftermath.

Before we took a long break to lower risk of covid exposure, we appropriated funds for the Governor to better deal with unknown impacts, not knowing when the Federal Government would step in to help. We stripped a bill that was to fix the doors to the Werner chamber and made LB1198 a $83,619,600 relief bill that the governor could use at his discretion for relief.

During the time that we recessed, my main focus was keeping the flow of information going from the state to local governments. My office also assisted with over 100 unemployment claims that had got stuck in the log jam that occurred in March and April.

But I am sure everyone here has heard quite enough about covid for a while, so let me get into the other parts of the session.

  • This year my priority bill was LB 783. This bill idea was brought to me by a local ambulatory surgical center. The bill will change the length of stay for patients at a surgical center. Before LB 783 a patient had to be out of the facility the same day they underwent surgery. LB 783 will allow doctors the option to retain patients for 23 hours and 59 minutes from admittance. This will lead to better outcomes for patients and doctors.

  • We also passed my bill LB 1056 which will allow bars, restaurants, wineries, and breweries to temporarily expand their liquor licenses to an adjacent property. They will still need approval from their local governing bodies, but this will allow them to apply for multi-day permits at one hearing and to skip the necessity of traveling to a hearing in Lincoln. LB 1056 will benefit small businesses, local governments, and the state government.

  • My priority bill in 2019 was LB 153. That bill will allow military retirees to deduct 50% of their state income taxes. This is the least we can do for these military retirees. This bill will also make Nebraska competitive with our neighboring states when it comes to keeping and recruiting highly trained talent.

Now let's get into some of the other major bills. LB 1107 was the big prize from the August return. That bill will bring meaningful property tax relief to Nebraskans, ensure we have a better tax incentive program, and puts Nebraska in line to have one of the top infectious disease research hospitals in the country. Senator Lou Ann Linehan deserves a lot of credit for getting that bill created and moved along. Speaker Scheer also deserves credit for getting people together and finding a way to get this compromise done. LB 1107 starts smaller with property tax relief, about $150 for a house of $200,000. However, as our economy recovers, that property tax relief will grow. We could see up to a 15% relief for property owners within 4 or 5 years. This is the largest property tax relief package we have seen in a long time. Ensuring that we are competitive in recruiting businesses and employees through the tax incentive part of the bill will make it more likely that the max property tax relief percentage will be achieved.  This next year many states will likely reduce their business incentive initiatives due to reduced revenues to the states.

Lastly, I want to mention Senator Geist's LB 814. This bill will ban dismemberment abortions in Nebraska, though we will likely see a lawsuit. I am proud to support this bill and I am proud that we were able to get that passed as well.


Thank you, Senator Lowe, for this recap of our 2020 Legislative session. We look forward to the 2021 session and the bills that will be presented to continue helping our business community succeed!

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