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Issue: #2March 31, 2015

Governor Ricketts Visits With Members At IIAN Senators Reception

IIAN President Phil Winkelmann and National Big "I" State Government Relations Chairman John Deardorff welcome Governor Ricketts to IIAN's Senators Reception on March 25 in Lincoln

IIAN's biennial Legislative Issues Briefing and Senators Reception on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 was a major success, with 80 members, senators, and regulators enjoying refreshments and discussion. Almost 40 member agents from across the state met for a briefing in the Capitol presented by Omaha Senator Burke Harr, IIAN CEO Carol McClelland, and Legislative Representative Jim Cavanaugh. Following visits with their senators, IIAN members hosted Governor Pete Ricketts, a majority of Nebraska's senators, Insurance Director Bruce Ramge and staff, and Workers' Compensation Court Administrator Glenn Morton, at a reception at Billy's historic restaurant near the Capitol.

   "This event is a great way for our members to get to know their senators, and explain the issues that are important to independent agents," commented IIAN Legislative committee chairman Bob Hoppe of Columbus.  "And the reception allows us to have extended conversations with more senators in an informal atmosphere." Thanks to all who worked on this successful day of advocacy for the Big "I"!

2015 Unicameral Session Passes The Half-Way Mark
Priority Bills Have Best Chance For Action

The Nebraska Legislature is 55 legislative days into the current 90-day session.  Last week, Nebraska lawmakers started full-day floor debate.  With the session more than half over, senators will be challenged to debate every "Priority" bill between now and June 5, the scheduled last day of the session - especially since debate on the budget will consume floor time.  The Big "I" has testified in hearings on four bills this session.

 

"Priority" bills named by senators, committees, and Speaker Glenn Hadley stand the best chance of being acted upon this session.  There are three insurance-related Priority bills on IIAN's "watch" list - LB 458 (Speaker Priority) to authorize limited lines travel insurance producer licenses; LB 480 (Business & Labor Committee Priority) to change computation of compensation for Workers Compensation;  and LB 629 (Transportation Committee Priority) to provide for regulation and insurance requirements for transportation network companies (TNC's - like Uber and Lyft).  IIAN is currently working with interested parties on an amendment to LB 629 distributed last week.  And on March 25, Uber and a group of insurance companies announced a new compromise on "national model" bill language, which has several provisions not included in LB 629, or the pending amendment.  Read IIAN White Paper on LB 629.  None of these Priority bills has yet been advanced to the full Legislature for first-round debate (General File).
 

LB 632 is not a Priority bill, but has been amended and advanced to General File by the Banking, Commerce & Insurance Committee, and may be on a fast track for passage.  IIAN supports the bill, which would allow agents to be paid a fee outside of the policy premium without obtaining a consultant's license, for health benefit plans only.

 

Although none of the other Workers' Comp bills on our list have Priority status, the Business & Labor Committee may advance a "package" Workers Comp bill, to include LB's 133, 134, 158, 363, 429, and 600.  Not included in the package is LB 556, which would waive workers' compensation as the exclusive remedy if an employer is willfully negligent - IIAN is watching this bill closely.   

 

See more details on all of the bills IIAN is watching in IIAN's weekly Unicameral Update, updated every Monday during the session at www.iian.org.   Read the full text of any bill using the "Bill Search" feature on the Unicameral website -  click here.

IIAN Sponsors Bill to Remedy Problems with Uninsured Independent Contractors - LB 276

IIAN's top issue for the two-year legislative session is LB 276, introduced by Business & Labor Committee Chairman Burke Harr of Omaha at IIAN's request, to address the growing problem of independent contractors who do not insure themselves for workers compensation. 

     On February 23, IIAN members Tom Farrell, Andy Bassett, and Gale Squier, along with Legislative Representative Jim Cavanaugh, testified in the Business and Labor Committee in support of the bill. Also testifying in support were the PIA, the Nebraska Home Builders Association and the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce. Several letters of support from insurance companies were also submitted. Testifying opposed were the AFL-CIO, NATA, and the Nebraska Trucking Association.  IIAN worked with Sen. Harr and his staff to finalize an amendment which is being discussed by the Business & Labor Committee this week - and we hope to see the bill reported out to to General File (first-round consideration by the full legislature) soon. 

     Download IIAN White Paper on why LB 276 is needed in Nebraska, and what's in the bill and pending amendment.  

How To Contact Us

Jim Cavanaugh, Legislative Representative
1-800-342-3352/402-341-2020 Office  402-301-9675 Cell
cavanaughlawfirm@aol.com
Carol McClelland, CAE, Chief Executive Officer

1-800-377-3985/402-476-2951 Office  402-432-5113 Cell
carol.mcclelland@biginebraska.org

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