January 20, 2012                                                                             Legislative Report Archive

In This Issue



NACO Legislative Committee to Meet


Selected Committee Hearing Schedule


NACO Scholarship Available




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inheritInheritance Tax Public Hearing Set for Jan. 26

All Nebraska county officials are strongly urged to contact members of the Revenue Committee to express opposition a bill to eliminate inheritance tax. LB 970 was introduced by Senator Abbie Cornett at the request of Governor Dave Heineman as part of his tax relief package. In FY06-07 counties received $42 million in inheritance taxes.


Please inform the committee about the impact on property tax rates in your county if inheritance taxes are eliminated. You may also want to include information about how inheritance taxes have been used and cuts that your county will have to make to offset lost inheritance taxes. Specific examples showing levy rate increases, projects or programs that would be eliminated, and employees that would be laid off are very helpful. Please copy NACO on this correspondence because senators often reference a letter or email they have received from a county official.


The hearing on LB 970 will begin at 1:30 in Room 1524 of the State Capitol. If you are not able to attend, you can view the proceedings through a live video stream or go to the Legislature's website, click on the NET logo and then select hearing room 1524.


A bill was introduced on Friday by Sen. John Wightman that would phase-in a reduction in inheritance taxes. For Class 1 beneficiaries, the current $40,000 exemption would increase to $100,000 by 2015 and exemptions and tax rates for other classes of beneficiaries would be gradually adjusted. No hearing date has been set for LB 1102.


Members of the Revenue Committee are:

Sen. Abbie Cornett, Chair (District 45)  402.471.2615

Sen. Greg Adams (District 24)  402.471.2756

Sen. Lydia Brasch (District 16)  402.471.2728

Sen. Deb Fischer (District 43)  402.471.2628

Sen. Galen Hadley (District 37)  402.471.2726

Sen. LeRoy Louden (District 49)  402.471.2725

Sen. Pete Pirsch  (District 4)402.471.2621

Sen. Paul Schumacher (District 22)  402.471.2715


Letters may be sent to:


District Number, State Capitol

P.O. Box 94604

Lincoln, NE 68570-4604


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snapSnapshots of County Issues 

All bills introduced by the Legislature are assigned to one of the Legislature's committees for a public hearing. Hearings, which are held each afternoon, will conclude on  Feb. 24.


On Jan. 18, the Judiciary Committee took testimony on four bills that would affect counties. LB 734 would extend the 20-day period for sheriffs to return goods or property after the issuance of a writ of replevin. The bill was introduced by Sen. Paul Schumacher at NACO's request to provide additional time for sheriffs to complete the process.


LB 790 would move a county court judge from District 5 (Merrick, Platte, Colfax, Boone, Nance, Hamilton, Polk, York, Butler, Seward, and Saunders) to District 3 (Lancaster). Because counties are responsible for court costs related to operating expenses, equipment and facilities, the bill would result in a cost shift between the districts.


LB 865 would allow jurors to waive their fees. Jurors receive $35 per day for their services. Senator Amanda McGill introduced the bill at Lancaster County's request.


LB 908 would shift indigent defense fees collected in Douglas County court cases to the county.  Under current law, the $4 indigent defense fee is earmarked for the Commission on Public Advocacy. When appointed by the court, the Commission provides defense services to counties in capital cases and other serious crimes. The Commission was created in 1995 to provide property tax relief to counties and saved counties an estimated $7.5 million in defense cost for murder cases in FY10-11.


The Revenue Committee heard three bills on Jan. 19. LB 851 would provide for the voluntary, rather than mandatory, issuance of receipts for property tax payments. Senator Deb Fischer introduced the bill at NACO's request on behalf of county treasurers.


LB 822 would replace a specific statistical reference on change of valuation notices with a statement that the value falls within the acceptable range. NACO asked Senator Greg Adams to introduce the bill to help eliminate taxpayer confusion. During discussion, it was suggested that all references to ranges on change notices should be eliminated. NACO will work with Senator Adams and the committee to offer an amendment to the bill.


LB 818 would provide an exemption from documentary stamp taxes for transfers conveying property between ex-spouses. The initial fiscal note showed a loss of approximately $100,000 annually to counties. A revised fiscal note prepared before the hearing noted that the proposed legislation appears to clarify what is already standard practice in almost every county and the fiscal impact would be minimal. 


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legcomNACO Legislative Committee to Meet

NACO's Legislative Committee will meet on Jan. 27 to review and take positions on 2012 legislation and address carryover legislation, if necessary. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Nebraska State Education Association (NSEA) Building (605 S. 14th Street) in Lincoln. The NSEA Building is located directly north of the NACO office. After brief introductory remarks, affiliate groups will meet for discussion of bills pertinent to their membership. After the groups have met, the NACO Legislative Committee will reconvene as a whole to review and take positions on the entire list of bills. All county officials are encouraged to attend or discuss areas of concern with their NACO Board representative prior to the meeting.


Because lunch will be provided, please notify the NACO office at (402)434-5660 or if you plan to attend. Because the Legislature is in session, parking around the Capitol may be limited. Public parking is not permitted behind the NSEA Building and parking behind the NACO office is very limited. A parking garage is available at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel at 12th and L Streets.


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hrgSelected Committe Hearing Schedule

Following is a list of some of the bills with county impact that have been scheduled for public hearing in the coming weeks. Please check the Legislature's website for a full listing.


Monday, January 23

Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee

Room 1507 1:30 p.m.

* LB879 (Pahls) Change a security requirement for depositories of public funds


Transportation and Telecommunications Committee

Room 1113 1:30 p.m.

* LB841 (Harms) Change provisions relating to permits for exceeding vehicle size and weight limitations

*LB764 (Louden) Change provisions relating to vehicle overload exceptions

* LB740 (Schilz) Change provisions relating to farmers hauling hay and livestock forage vehicles

* LB922 (Mello) Change provisions relating to vehicle load contents and spillage


Tuesday, January 24

Transportation and Telecommunications Committee 

Room 1113 1:30 p.m.

*LB718 (Fischer) Change provisions relating to certificates of title, the distribution of titling fees, and registration fees for fleet vehicles

* LB724 (Fischer) Change commercial driver medical examination provisions and prohibit texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle

* LB910 (Lautenbaugh) Define "certified traffic personnel" and authorize their use at special events

* LB803 (Lautenbaugh) Require presentment of an operator's license and proof of insurance to a peace officer by a driver involved in an accident and mandate impoundment of the vehicle in certain situations


Urban Affairs Committee

Room 1510 1:30 p.m.

* LB918 (Cornett) Change provisions of the Community Development Law

* LB932 (Krist) Provide voting rights for residents of sanitary and improvement districts


Wednesday, January 25

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

Room 1507 1:30 p.m.

* LB736 (Schumacher) Require provision of secret-ballot envelopes for elections

* LB878 (Wallman) Change election calendar, vacancy, ballot, and counting machine provisions

* LB759 (Avery) Require petition sponsors to provide identification for petition circulators and change petition circulation requirements


Judiciary Committee

Room 1113 1:30 p.m.

* LB802 (Lautenbaugh) Authorize carrying of concealed handguns by certain authorities within the scope of their employment

* LB804 (Lautenbaugh) Change provisions relating to justification for use of force


Thursday, January 26

Revenue Committee

Room 1524 1:30 p.m.

* LB970 (Cornett) Terminate the inheritance tax and change income tax rates and calculation


Judiciary Committee

Room 1113 1:30 p.m.

* LB985 (Krist) Provide for a juvenile justice pilot program

* LB920 (McGill) Change harassment protection order and domestic abuse protection order provisions

* LB787 (McGill) Authorize inspection and regulation of staff secure facilities by the Jail Standards Board


Retirement Committee

Room 1525 12:10 p.m

LB916 (Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee) Change provisions relating to retirement

* LB1036 (Nordquist) Provide for a cash balance benefit election for certain county and state employees and create county and state retirement funds


Friday, January 27

Judiciary Committee

Room 1113 1:30 p.m.

* LB730 (Mello) Change provisions relating to theft of services

* LB840 (Council) Provide powers and duties relating to inmate mail

* LB948 (Lambert) Change provisions and a penalty relating to intimidation by telephone call

* LB881 (Coash) Change medical services payment provisions relating to jails and correctional facilities


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scholNACO Scholarship Available

The children and stepchildren of Nebraska's county officials and employees are eligible for scholarships provided by the Nebraska Association of County Officials. Click here for details.


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Nebraska Association of County Officials
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