With every new year comes new laws. If you reside in Nebraska, these changes may impact your life in some way. It’s important to remain aware of changes and how they affect you, so you can not only make sure you are abiding by the law, but also make sure you are receiving any benefits or services you are entitled to.
Worker’s compensation benefits will increase.
Annual benefits are set to rise in Nebraska. The maximum rate for disability benefits will increase from $831 to $855. Mileage reimbursements for medical visits and vocational rehabilitation are also set to increase from $0.545 per mile to $0.58. These annual increases ensure that compensation to those eligible remains adequate from practical and constitutional perspectives.
There are a number of other changes happening regarding workers’ compensation. Those changes include the following:
- Individuals can formally file pleadings by 11:59:59 pm, instead of waiting for formal business hours to get a document stamped. Appeals can also be filed electronically now.
- More detailed information about third-party cases must be provided to the court in settlements that require court approval.
- Doctors are now allowed to refer patients to physician-owned specialty hospitals. These hospitals are often able to perform procedures at a lower cost; however, the law prohibits these facilities from taking Medicare and Medicaid.
A new child passenger safety law will take effect.
Beginning January 1, 2019, the following law changes will be in effect to keep children safer while traveling:
- Children must ride in rear-facing seats until age two, or until they reach the upper weight or height limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer.
- Up to the age of eight, children must ride in a correctly installed car seat or booster seat that is the correct size for them.
- Assuming the back seat of a vehicle is equipped with seat belts and not already occupied by other children under eight years of age, children up to age eight must ride in the back seat.
- From the ages of eight to 18, children must ride secured in a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
New fines are also in place for violating the above laws. You can learn more here. Foster care laws will be updated to match the new requirements listed above.
Redistricting changes could happen.
Redistricting happens once every ten years and is set to face scrutiny as Nebraska legislators try to decide whether to overhaul the effort to reduce partisanship. The current redistricting process is set to being again in 2021; however, current legislators say the current process is too self-serving because lawmakers are allowed to design their own districts. Lawmakers are set to reevaluate the system this year.
Online sales tax will be collected from outside retailers.
The Nebraska Department of Revenue will allow online retailers to collect taxes on sales within the state. This change follows the U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow states to hold online trailers responsible for remitting sales tax – even if they are not physically located in the state.
The Department of Revenue announced it will not collect sales tax from sellers with fewer than 200 separate transactions or less than $100,000 in sales.
The Occupational Board Reform Act will take effect.
This purpose of this bill is to protect the fundamental rights of pursuing a lawful occupation. According to the bill, an occupational board is a board, committee, department, or other entity that regulates providers through occupation regulations. The boards will ensure the barriers to employment are loosened or eliminated without harming public safety. Nebraska licenses more than 170 professional. This act will give more people the opportunity to pursue the careers they desire.
Revisions will be made to the Developmental Disabilities Services Act.
Provisions related to aging and disability resource centers and developmental disability services will be eliminated. This will ensure that any person deemed eligible for specialized services receives them. If the Department does not have enough funds available to provide services to all of the individuals who are eligible, the Department will provide funds to the following:
- Anyone who is transitioning from the education system upon turning 21 years old on or before July 1, 2019
- Anyone who is determined to be otherwise eligible for the day services in accordance with the Developmental Disabilities Services Act
The Department is also required to provide comparable services to what the eligible individuals would have received if funds had been available.
It’s likely there will be more significant law changes as the year progresses. To stay up-to-date on all Nebraska’s law changes, visit the Nebraska Legislature website.