Budget hearings for state agencies regarding the next biennium budget continued in the appropriations committee.Representatives from Nebraska's state and community colleges testified Tuesday on the importance of college funding.
Agency budget cuts are expected in order to resolve a projected $900 million deficit in the next two-year budget.
Gov. Ricketts approved a budget adjustment bill passed earlier by the Legislature asking state and community colleges to cut about 4 percent of their current budgets due to this fiscal year's deficit. The University of Nebraska system took a 2.3 percent cut.
On Thursday, the Revenue Committee heard LB 291, which would give income and sales tax relief for businesses operating on reservations.
Native American-owned businesses are already exempt from income tax. The bill, introduced by Sen. Tyson Larson of O'Neill, would extend tax exemptions to non-native businesses operating within a special economic zone.
On Friday, the Legislature unanimously passed a bill to repeal the Nebraska Graded Egg Act and replace its egg handling regulation functions with the Nebraska Pure Food Act, which gives authority to the Department of Agriculture.
Notable features of the bill, introduced by Sen. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft, will require egg handlers to use an identification number and distinguishes food delivery services as a separate category of food establishments.
Bills heard in committees this week include:
LB 211, introduced by Sen. Matt Hansen of Lincoln, would increase the minimum wage for employees paid with gratuities, such as waitresses and waiters. The minimum wage for these employees is currently $2.13 per hour. The bill would increase the minimum wage for these employees to 50 percent of normal minimum wage, currently $9, by 2018.
LR 1CA, introduced by Sen. John Murante of Gretna, would add to the 2018 general election ballot a proposed constitutional amendment to require identification in order to vote.
LB 75, introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, would restore voting rights to an individual upon the completion of a felony sentence. The bill would eliminate the current two-year waiting period after the completion of a sentence.