This was to be the last day of the legislative session, but it isn’t.
Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood of Norfolk had previously scheduled the 60-day legislative session to end today. But, with Gov. Dave Heineman threatening to veto the prenatal bill, LB 599, the Speaker postponed the final day of the session.
“The governor has five days to consider those bills,” Flood says. “He’ll have until Tuesday, at 11:59pm, to return those bills. Therefore, to avoid the opportunity for a pocket veto, we are going to delay our 60th day.”
The 60th day will be held next week, on Wednesday.
The governor could, of course, veto other bills. He has promised to veto the prenatal bill, objecting to extending prenatal coverage to illegal immigrants.
Heineman vetoed LB 357, the local options sales tax bill supported by the League of Nebraska Municipalities.
The governor outlined his objections in a lengthy veto letter to the legislature:
LB 357 authorizes local governments to enact a 33% increase in the local option sales tax. I take exception with arguments of proponents that this legislation is about nothing more than local government control. Local control is a value that I cherish; however, LB 357 is a state authorization of a sales tax increase.
State law authorizes cities to tax. State law authorizes how much cities are allowed to tax. LB 357 authorizes cities to tax up to 33% more in sales tax than they already are imposing. That is an excessive burden upon Nebraskans at this time in our current economy.
Flood says the governor had indicated he likely would act against some legislation.
“The governor notified me several weeks ago that he felt that given the number of bills we’d be sending over in the last minute, he would be taking advantage of his full five days,” Flood says. “So, this isn’t necessarily a surprise.”
A motion has already been made to vote to override the governor’s veto of the historic horse racing bill (LB 806). A motion will be made to override the veto on the local option sales tax and one will be made to override the expected veto of the prenatal bill.
Lawmakers will re-gather at the Capitol in Lincoln next Wednesday, the 18th, at 9am to consider the override motions and wrap up the session.