February 17, 2012                                                                             Legislative Report Archive

In This Issue


Selected Committee Hearing Schedule


NACO Scholarship Available




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inheritInheritance Tax Bills Prioritized 

A bill providing for a total elimination of inheritance taxes and a measure that could result in reduced collections were selected as senator priority bills this week. As proposed by Governor Heineman, LB970 contains income and corporate tax breaks, as well as the elimination of inheritance taxes. Members of the Revenue Committee and other senators have publicly expressed a desire to remove the inheritance tax segment from LB970. If that occurs and the bill is advanced by the Revenue Committee, 30 votes would be required to attach the inheritance tax repeal to LB 970 on the floor.


LB 1102 would increase exemption amounts and reduce tax rates over several years. It is likely that counties would see a reduction in collections, but the actual impact depends upon estate size, class of beneficiaries, and amount received by each beneficiary. Both bills remain in committee and will not be taken up until after the Forecasting Board meets later this month.


Each senator is allowed to select one bill as a personal priority and each committee may designate two bills as priority measures. The Speaker may choose 25 Speaker priority bills. While a priority designation does not guarantee debate, the bills generally take precedence over other legislation.


Other priority bills with a potential impact to counties include LB 750, a bill addressing the valuation of farm home sites, and LB 1061, a measure to change ag land valuation ranges for purposes of school finance calculations.


The full list of priorities can be found here. As the bills are scheduled for debate, NACO will ask for assistance of county officials in contacting senators and providing information. The Legislature's daily agenda is linked to the home page on their website.


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voterVoter Identification Bill Scheduled for Debate

Voters would have to present a government-issued photo identification card or acknowledgment of voter registration at the polling place under a bill that appears on the Legislature's General File agenda next week. LB 239 was introduced by Sen. Charlie Janssen and had been scheduled for floor debate in January. It was pulled from the agenda at that time at Sen. Janssen's request, but appears on Tuesday's agenda due to a priority designation by Sen. Ken Schilz. In addition to a Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee amendment, thirteen amendments have been filed.


County officials are encouraged to contact their senators to express opposition to the bill.  The level of fraud in Nebraska's elections is low.  In addition, counties will experience increased costs from preparing and sending acknowledgments.


You can watch the floor debate here.


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snapSnapshots of County Issues 

All bills introduced by the Legislature are assigned to a committee for a public hearing. Bills advanced to the floor for debate by the full body of the Legislature go through three levels of debate:  General File, Select File, and Final Reading.  


Bills Advanced to General File


The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee sent several issues of interest to counties to the floor as part of a committee amendment to LB 751. The original bill would amend Nebraska statutes to comply with federal law. Language from LB 718 addresses the issuance of titles. LB 726 eliminates requirement for the Department of Motor Vehicles to send out certain notices by certified or registered mail. LB 769 eliminates the authority of county treasurers to issue duplicate or replacement driver licenses. LB751 was designated as a Transportation and Telecommunications Committee priority bill.


County officials participating in the defined contribution retirement plan would be given another opportunity to join the cash balance plan under a Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee amendment to LB 916. The concept was introduced as LB 1036. LB 916 was designated as a

committee priority. The committee's second priority bill, LB 867, would allow Lancaster County to reduce the employer match from 150 percent to 100 percent for new hires.


Bills Advanced to Select File


Clerks of the district court would not be responsible for tracking down annulment and dissolution information needed by Vital Records pursuant to LB 904. Existing law provides a penalty for neglect or refusal to provide the information, which is sometimes omitted or incorrect on the records presented to the clerk of the district court by the parties. As the bill advanced from General File, a designation of "unknown" could be used if the plaintiff or his or her legal representative could not obtain the information.


LB 985 would provide statutory authority for a juvenile justice pilot project that has been operating in Douglas County for two years. The project helps provide community-based services for juveniles without forcing them to become wards of the state. The bill was advanced from the first round of debate on Tuesday.


Bills Advanced to Final Reading


The process for issuing treasurers tax deeds was revamped by an amendment to LB 370 that was adopted before the bill advanced from Select File on Wednesday. As introduced, the bill would have repealed treasurers tax deeds. As amended, the bill requires purchasers of tax sales certificates to provide additional notice to property owners before pursuing a tax deed and extends the period of redemption for owner-occupied parcels. Two bills, LB 1069 and LB 1093, addressing other aspects of tax sales on delinquent real property were heard by the Revenue Committee on Wednesday.


LB 536, a bill to allow the transfer of certain property without probate through a transfer on death deed, was amended three times on Select File. One amendment would address interests in growing crops and set out requirements for signing the document before witnesses. A floor amendment would revise warning language on the face of the deed to reflect a pro-rata distribution of assets. The third amendment would insert language from LB 818, which allows for the transfer of property between ex-spouses without documentary stamp taxes.


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selectSelected Committee Hearing Schedule

Following is a list of some of the bills with county impact that will be heard during the final week of public hearings.  Full days of debate will begin on Feb. 27.  Please check the Legislature's website for a full listing.


Monday, February 20 - Legislature is in Recess


Wednesday, February 22

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

Room 1507 1:30 p.m.

* LB975 (Smith) Adopt the Fair Bidding Act

* LB1076 (Karpisek) Change requirements for copies of public records and speaking at public meetings


Judiciary Committee

Room 1113  1:30 p.m.

LB912  (McCoy) Provide requirements for local laws regulating discrimination


Revenue Committee

Room 1524  1:30p.m.

*LB798 (Urban Affairs Committee) Provide that certain assessments are levied and collected as special assessments


Thursday, February 23

Health and Human Services Committee

Room 1510 1:30 p.m.

* LB1110 (Brasch) Provide for assistance for temporary and permanent housing after a natural disaster


Judiciary Committee

Room 1113  1:30 p.m.

* LB1099 (Council) Change expense provisions under the Nebraska Juvenile Code


Revenue Committee

Room 1524  1:30 p.m.

* LB989 (Haar) Allow exceptions to property tax levy limitations and school district budget authority for 21st Century Community Learning Centers

* LB1011 (Dubas) Adopt the Property Tax Relief Act

* LB1075 (Cornett) Provide for assessment of rent-restricted housing projects by the Property Tax Administrator

* LB1106 (Schilz) Change provisions relating to assessment of improvements on leased public land


Friday, February 24

Judiciary Committee

Room 1113  1:30 p.m.

* LB722 (Coash) Authorize fines or costs to be deducted from a defendant's cash bond


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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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