Ricketts Vetoes Bills on Census, Military Housing

June 5, 2019, 5:12 p.m. ·

Gov. Pete Ricketts (Photo courtesy Nebraska governor's office)

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Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has vetoed bills dealing with the Census and military housing.

The first veto came on a bill which would have created something called the “Complete Count” committee to ensure as many Nebraskans as possible are counted in next year’s census. Supporters say that’s important because many federal programs distribute money based on a state’s population. But in his veto message, Ricketts said there are already local complete count committees, and the legislation would have given inappropriate authority to a university program without any guidance from the state.

The second and third vetoes involved a proposal to give property tax breaks to the owners of housing complexes located on military bases. The bill would have said that legally, that housing was personal property, not real property. In his veto message, Ricketts indicated that while he didn’t oppose the policy underlying the proposal, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson’s office had issued an opinion the mechanism was unconstitutional.

Other parts of the same bills would have given tax breaks to employees whose employers contribute to their children’s college savings plans. A spokesman for State Treasurer John Murante, whose office supervises those plans, said similar legislation would be filed in the future.

In addition to his vetoes, Ricketts signed one high-profile bill, requiring abortion providers tell women who change their mind after taking the first of two abortion-inducing pills that they can get medical information from a state website. Opponents of that bill have said they’re considering a lawsuit to stop the requirement.