The First Session of the 105th Nebraska Legislature is nearly complete and although the first quarter of the session was eaten up with filabusters over the rules, credit unions managed to find success on several fronts during the ninety-day session. The session began with elections of the Legislature’s leadership. State Senator Jim Scheer of Norfolk was elected Speaker and Senator Brett Lindstrom of Omaha was elected to Chair the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee.
The session got off to a very slow start which made it unclear as to how much the Legislature could get done this session with their primary focus being shoring up a $900 million budget shortfall. Although time was not on our side, the League’s lobby team went to work and garnered support on several legislative bills and helped to stop several bills that would have been detrimental to credit unions. A victory in the waning days of the session was the placement of LB 375 onto the Consent Calendar by Speaker Jim Scheer. Consent Calendar provides a fast track to passage for a limited number of bills and so this designation of LB 375 was a big victory for credit unions.
The League sponsored four bills which were introduced within the first ten days of the Legislature. Of the four bills, two have been passed while the other two remain in the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee. The four bills sponsored by the League include:
LB 208 – The bill remains in Committee. The bill amends the Real Estate Licensing Act to add credit unions to the list of depositories for real estate trust accounts.
LB 454 – Passed and signed by the Governor. The bill allows credit unions to opt-out of licensing loan officers with the Department of Banking & Finance. We successfully amended LB 454 to vehicle bill LB 140e.
LB 375 – Passed and signed by the Governor. The bill makes technical updates to the State Credit Union Act including fixed assets, joint member accounts, chapter application approval, purchasing other financial institutions, and eliminates outdated provisions.
LB 582 – The bill remains in Committee. The bill would add “persons within a well-defined community” to qualifications for credit union membership in the State Credit Union Act.
Other legislative bills that League lobbyists advocated for the passage of included:
LB 140e – Passed and Signed by the Governor. The 146 page bill updates Chapter 8, the Nebraska Banking Act. The League participated in a working group over the summer and fall in 2016 which also included the Department of Banking & Finance, the Community Bankers Association, the Nebraska Bankers Association and Senators’ Scheer, Lindstrom, and Williams.
LB 196 – Passed and Signed by the Governor. The bill provides state chartered credit unions parity with federally chartered credit unions. We successfully amended LB 196 to vehicle bill LB 140e.
LB 229 – Advanced to Select File. The bill would allow financial institutions to charge a $15 fee from the plaintiff for each garnishment.
LB 263 – Advanced to Select File. The bill would create a new Automated Services Program for auto dealers that would allow participating dealers to electronically file registration, title and lien data to the DMV. It would also allow dealers to collect fees including notation of lien, certificate of title, registration, motor vehicle taxes & fees, and sales tax. Also, allows for changes without printing certificate of title including legal name change, removal of name with consent of all owners and lienholders, and adding an additional owner with consent of all owners and lienholders.
LB 496 – Advanced to General File. The bill aims to address housing shortages found in many communities across the State to allow workforce housing projects to be eligible for TIF.
LB 518 – Advanced to Final Reading. The bill creates grants to assist with the workforce housing shortage in rural and underserved communities. The Department of Economic Development would administer the grant program.
Bills that the League lobbied against included:
LB 52 – The “Modern Tax” bill would levy a 5.5% tax on the interest paid on qualified loans including but not limited to auto, home, and personal loans. The Banking Committee has taken no action on the bill.
LB 313 – Would increase sales tax rate to a maximum of 8.5%. The Committee has taken no action on the bill.
LB 559 – Would prohibit the collection of interchange fees on the sales tax portion of all electronic transactions in the State. Following strong opposition at the public hearing, the sponsors of the bill asked that no action be taken on the bill.