April 15, 2011                                                                                      Legislative Report Archive

In This Issue




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ReducedReduced Road Funding Amendment Proposed

Senator Deb Fischer has scaled back a proposed mechanism to provide road funds to the state, counties, and cities. LB 84, as originally written, would have authorized state bonding for roads and designated a half-cent of sales tax for road purposes. The bill would generate $125 million in FY13-14.


The latest proposal would generate approximately $60 million by designating one-fourth of a cent of sales taxes to roads. Fifteen percent of the revenue would be divided between counties and cities through the Highway Allocation Fund.


Numerous other amendments have been offered, including a measure to increase the gas tax by five cents. Because each one-cent increase in gas taxes amounts to approximately $12 million for the Highway Trust Fund, the proposal would generate $60 million.


LB 84 has been designated as a Speaker Major Proposal. Second-round debate is expected to begin next week.


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HearingHearing Held on CIR Reform
The Business and Labor Committee heard testimony on Wednesday on a proposed amendment to revise the process used by the Commission on Industrial Relations (CIR) to hear labor disputes between public employers and employees. Among other proposed changes, the bill would create a preference for geographically proximate public and private Nebraska employers and state a preferred array of seven to thirteen comparable employers.
The bill has been designated by Speaker Flood as a Speaker Major Proposal to help ensure debate on the issue. LB 397 awaits first-round debate on General File.

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SnapshotsSnapshots of County Issues
Advanced from Select File
Counties and other political subdivisions could donate used motor vehicles to charitable organizations under LB 628, which advanced from Select File this week. Amendments were adopted to prohibit such donations if an immediate family member is involved in the charity and to expand the possible recipients to include certain veterans organizations. The bill also clarifies sales procedures for surplus motor vehicles and other personal property.


LB 499, an election clean-up bill requested by the Secretary of State, advanced from Select File on Wednesday.  A bill prohibiting electioneering, LB 606, failed to advance.


Permits could be granted for oversize tow trucks by an amendment to LB 35 that was adopted before the bill advanced from second-round debate.  Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh offered the amendment based upon Missouri law to help provide for the quick removal of damaged vehicles from roads. The concept was introduced as LB 353.  Other provisions of the bill increase the length of time permits may be issued and renewed to haul seasonally-harvested products.
Signed by Governor Heineman
On April 14 Governor Heineman signed several bills with an impact on counties.  LB 100 prohibits intoxication from being used as a defense to any criminal offense. LB 45 revises the Engineers and Architects Act. LB 207 authorizes the Game and Parks Commission to convey the Bowman State Recreation Area to Sherman County for public park purposes. LB 230 allows public utility infrastructure specifications to be withheld from public records disclosure.  LB 342 changes hours for drainage district elections.

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