Government Relations Remains a Priority
The increase in legislative proposals affecting business in general and the CPA profession in particular requires representation in the legislative arena. The Society’s presence at the State Capitol and its visibility on the national level remain a priority.
When the Nebraska Legislature is in session, the Society’s lobbying efforts ensure the views of Nebraska CPAs are known on issues of interest. The first lobbyist for the Society was hired in 1956. Today, the Society’s Chief Lobbyist Walt Radcliffe, along with Korby Gilbertson and Justin Brady, of Radcliffe, Gilbertson & Brady, scrutinize every legislative bill, keep track of amendments, and become involved with legislative action on all bills that have a specific impact on the CPA profession. In addition, the Society testifies at public hearings and pens letters of support and/or opposition as needed.
The Society has long played a proactive role for certified public accountants in Nebraska, sponsoring legislation and defending the profession against legislation that might be detrimental from the Society’s standpoint. Historically, the Nebraska Society has led the nation in supporting cutting-edge legislation for accountants. Nebraska was the first state to pass mandatory CPE legislation. In 1991, Nebraska became the 14th state to pass the 150-hour education requirement for new CPAs, and in 1994, the Society helped draft and support a successful effort in the Nebraska Legislature to pass the first bill in the nation allowing for the partial ownership of CPA firms by non-CPAs. In 2009, the Society helped draft and support the quick passage of “CPA Mobility” legislation. The new law allows licensed CPAs from other states to practice public accountancy in Nebraska without the need to obtain licensure by reciprocity, register, or pay a fee to the Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy. In 2013, the Society helped draft and support passage of “Expanded CPA Experience” legislation, and for the past several years the Society has continued its long opposition to efforts to extend Nebraska’s sales tax on professional services. In 2019, the Society helped draft and support passage of legislation that allows Nebraska CPA firms to create Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs).
On the national scene, the Society monitors events in Washington, D.C., and speaks on behalf of Nebraska CPAs in dealing with the state’s congressional delegation.