Jun 13 2021

Recapping the 2021 Legislative Session


The 2021 Legislative Session at the Unicameral is in the books, with this year’s 90-day session concluding after day 84 on May 27. The legislature completed the main task of the session—enacting a $9.7B two-year state budget—and also tackled several other big issues over the course of the past five months. 

Overall, senators enacted important legislation related to social security tax relief, tax relief for military retirement income, minor revisions to the ImagiNE Nebraska Act, statewide broadband expansion, “cliff effect” fixes for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and childcare assistance for needy families. In total, an estimated $1.7B in property tax relief will be delivered over the next biennium.

The Chamber worked with veterans groups, state senators and others to advocate for the passage of LB 387, which would exempt 100 percent of military retiree benefits from state income tax. LB 387 was signed into law on May 25 and will help Nebraska attract talented individuals with military experience as they explore living and employment opportunities after their service has concluded.

The $1.9T American Rescue Plan Act will provide more than $1.5B in assistance to the State of Nebraska through various tax provisions, direct aid to individuals, current program enhancements directed to stabilizing small business and event venues and direct programmatic assistance to schools and local governments. 

Some of the legislation the Lincoln Chamber has supported this session, including Senator Anna Wishart’s LB 598, Small Business Stabilization Grant Program Act; Senator Adam Morfeld’s LB 272, Apprenticeship Training Program Tax Credit and LB 629, Grants for Entities Affected by Event Cancellations; and Senator Eliot Bostar’s LB 391, Customized Job Training Cash Fund, could possibly be further enhanced with funds from ARPA. 

It is likely that affordable housing efforts, like those being undertaken by the South of Downtown Community Development Organization and others across Lincoln and across the state, should be boosted with ARPA funds.

Redrawing of legislative and other statewide political boundaries is to be determined later this year, likely in a mid-to-late September special session. This issue has already been contentious and shown both a political and rural/urban split that will make it very difficult to find consensus. 

The Lincoln Chamber will continue working with our fellow Chambers of Commerce and similar groups to advocate for local businesses and local communities. Nebraska remains in a strong position on a variety of fronts and will continue to do so with the advocacy and cooperation of many across the state.