2024 State Legislative Session Takeaways: Nebraska

Written by Robert Korn

The Nebraska Legislature adjourned on April 18, ending the 2024 session after 60 eventful days. It was a short session when compared to the 90 legislative days that lawmakers spend in Lincoln in odd-numbered years. During the legislature’s two-year biennium, senators introduced approximately 1,400 pieces of legislation and passed nearly 400 bills to Governor Jim Pillen (R).

Here's what you may have missed:


Lawmakers passed LB 1402, a controversial bill that appropriates $10 million annually in scholarship funds for private and faith-based schools. In addition to the newly appropriated scholarship funds, the bill also repealed the Opportunity Scholarships Act that was passed in 2023 as LB 753. LB 753 was the subject of a referendum challenge and would have allowed public funds to be earmarked for private schools. Senator Robert Dover (NP) said about LB 1402, “I’m telling you this isn’t, this is not about public education. This is not about funds. This is about saving lives, keeping kids out of prison.” Opponents of the bill, however, say they will continue to oppose the use of public funds for private schools. Jenni Benson, president of the Nebraska State Education Association, said, “We will continue the fight to ensure voters' wishes on this issue are heard and respected. That could include launching another petition effort as well as challenging the constitutionality of this bill. Instead of sending public dollars to private schools, which are under no obligation to serve all children, state funds should be used to support the public schools that 9 out of 10 Nebraska students attend.”


Nebraska legislators followed in the footsteps of lawmakers in states like North Carolina, Texas, and Montana by enacting LB 1092 and establishing requirements for users of websites to verify their age before accessing obscene material online. The sponsor, Senator Dave Murman (NP) said, “States have an interest to protect minors from pornography and age verification is a reasonable and legal practice.” The bill raised data privacy concerns, partially due to the requirement that users verify their age through methods that include uploading a copy of a state ID. The state’s comprehensive data privacy measure, LB 1294, did not survive the committee process.

Other Legislative Highlights

The legislature passed a slew of other updates to existing law. LB 1031 was an amalgam of several telecommunications bills, including a mandate that funding from the Nebraska Telecommunications Universal Service Fund go only to locations that provide internet access at speeds of at least 100mbps down and 20mbps up, requirements for internet service providers to report to the Nebraska Broadband Office on the service plans offered in the state, and updates to the state’s 911 system. The state’s name, image, and likeness (NIL) law was updated via LB 1393 to allow universities to assist students with creating, identifying, facilitating, or supporting NIL activities. The state Medical Assistance Act was expanded with LB 204, which requires the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a fee-for-service pharmacy dispensing fee for independent pharmacies. The amount will be determined through a cost-of-dispending survey to be administered by the department and completed by independent pharmacies that participate in the state Medicaid program every two years.

One of Governor Pillen’s major policy initiatives, property tax relief, failed to pass. Pillen said in February that he would keep lawmakers “in session every day until Christmas” to get the bill, LB 388, over the finish line, but the support necessary to overcome the filibuster never materialized. In his speech to lawmakers at the end of session, the governor encouraged the Senate to “enjoy halftime,” suggesting that he intends to call a special session to address this issue soon.

What’s Next

During the 2024 session, lawmakers filed hundreds of resolutions with interim topics that may be discussed during the summer. These include the use of artificial intelligence in elections and campaigns, interests in agricultural lands held by foreign entities, and the role of health insurance for biomarker testing.

The session was the last for thirteen senators that are leaving the legislature due to term limits, including committee chairs such as Revenue Committee Chair Lou Ann Linehan (NP) and Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Tom Brewer (NP). Senator Linehan has already told her committee members there will be work to do over the summer. Stateside will be following along as the Legislature continues their important work throughout the interim period.

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