Legislature overcomes grudges to give final approval to several government and policy bills

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Nebraska legislature passed bills on Wednesday to set up a school safety hotline and give farmers and ranchers a break from paying school loans.

The measures were one of a series of bills that were finally approved on a day marked by lingering grudges.

Among the bills that passed on Wednesday:

* * Property taxes. Farm and ranch land owners would pay less for future school bonds under LB2, which were introduced by Senator Tom Briese of Albion and passed 36-6.

The measure would reduce the valuation of agricultural land from 75% of its real value to 50% when it comes to paying for new bonds. The change means that residential and commercial property owners would have to pay more of the cost of these bonds.

A second measure, LB644, would require local governments to send notices to owners if they expect to increase property tax collection by more than a certain amount. The bill, introduced by Senator Ben Hansen von Blair, was passed 42-0.

The law expands the Safe2HelpNE hotline that was established on a pilot basis in Douglas County last year. The hotline connects callers with trained crisis advisors in Boys Town who can offer help and resources and alert the threat assessment teams set up in the participating school districts.

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