March 9, 2012                                                                                    Legislative Report Archive

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inheritInheritance Tax Repeal Pulled from Tax Package

Citing a lack of votes to pass an inheritance tax repeal, Governor Dave Heineman acknowledged on Tuesday that his proposed tax package will not advance as introduced. As proposed, LB 970 contained the inheritance tax repeal as well as corporate and individual income tax cuts. Last year, counties collected more than $40 million in inheritance taxes and would be forced to increase property taxes to offset the losses that would result from the bill.


The Revenue Committee is considering whether to advance a reduced version of the proposed income tax cuts in light of the Forecasting Board's projection of only $17 million in revenue increases through the end of the two-year budget cycle. Debate on the budget will begin on Tuesday, the 42nd day of the session.


A second bill amending inheritance taxes has been prioritized but remains in committee. LB 1102 would lower inheritance tax rates and increase exemptions for Class 2 beneficiaries, including nieces and nephews.


County officials deserve recognition for ongoing efforts to fight the repeal of inheritance taxes. Calls, letters, emails, testimony, and personal contacts played a huge role in showing the impact of inheritance tax dollars in counties.


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snapSnapshots of County Issues 

All bills introduced by the Legislature are assigned to a committee for a public hearing. Committees may choose to report the bill to the floor for debate by the full body of the Legislature.  Bills go through three levels of debate before pasage:  General File, Select File, and Final Reading.  You can find the daily agenda here by clicking on the appropriate date.   


Bills Advanced to General File


Two bills introduced at NACO's request were advanced by the Revenue Committee this week. LB 822 was introduced by Senator Greg Adams of York. Existing law requires a notation of the average level of value to be included on notices sent to property owners when valuation changes. As introduced, LB 822 would replace the specific level of value with a statement that all classes of value have been reviewed and fall within the acceptable range. A committee amendment would eliminate all references to the average level of value on change of valuation notices. LB 851 was introduced by Senator Deb Fischer to revise the property tax receipting process used by county treasurers. Existing law requires the issuance of a receipt and duplicate for all payments. LB 851 would provide for the voluntary issuance of receipts by county treasurers unless requested by the payor. If the payor requests a receipt, the treasurer would be required to issue it. In addition, the committee reported out LB 1106which would require a Form 402P to be filed with the county assessor when there is a a change in ownership of improvements to leased public land.


The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee advanced a bill to permit truck-tractors carrying baled livestock forage to exceed length limits. The bill, LB 740would increase Nebraska's length limit to correspond with surrounding states. LB 930, which would authorize cities and counties to regulate the use of golf cars on city streets or county roads, was also sent to the floor.


The Government Committee advanced LB 936, which was introduced by Sen. Russ Karpisek at NACO's request. The bill would eliminate specific dates related to the termination of inactive townships by a county board. A committee amendment would add an emergency clause so that the bill would take effect when signed by the governor.


The Judiciary Committee sent a number of bills to the floor. LB 538 would revise procedures related to the return of seized firearms to the owner. LB 722 would authorize fines or costs to be deducted from a bond posted by a defendant. A committee amendment would expand the process to all bonds and limit the new provisions if the bond is encumbered by a lien or assignment to the counsel of record or person who posted the bond. LB 865 would allow jurors to waive compensation. LB 899 would provide procedures for a decree of legal separation. LB 908 would revise funding for the Commission on Public Advocacy. Under the terms of a committee amendment, half of the $3 indigent defense fee collected on Douglas County court filings would be returned to Douglas County. LB 1046 would increase the number of continuing education hours required for law enforcement officers.


Bills Advanced to Select File


LB 995, a bill to revise processes for county hospitals, was advanced from General File on Tuesday. The bill changes authority for hospital boards to provide more flexibility in funding, operations, and purchasing.


Bills Passed by the Legislature 


Senators sent a long list of bills to Governor Heineman on Thursday. Some of the measures include:


* Counties could adopt a management plans for black-tailed prairie dogs if Governor Heineman signs to legislation passed yesterday. LB 473 would allow such counties to require landowners to prevent expansion of prairie dog colonies to adjacent property if the adjacent property owner objects.


* LB 904 would revise requirements for clerks of the district court to provide dissolution and annulment information to Vital Records. The bill would eliminate a penalty for failure to provide the information and allow for a designation of "unknown" if the information is not available to the parties.


* LB 790 would transfer a judgeship from District 5 ((Merrick, Platte, Colfax, Boone, Nance, Hamilton, Polk, York, Butler, Seward, and Saunders counties) to District 3 (Lancaster County).


* LB 801 would eliminate references to the "designated county official" in motor vehicle statutes. The terminology became obsolete when motor vehicle titling responsibilities were assigned to treasurers in 2009.


* LB 841 would alter language adopted last year regarding size limits for hauling seasonally harvested products to reflect federal requirements.


* LB 878 would revise several provisions of the Election Act, including changing the date on which the Secretary of State publishes the election calendar to November 1.


Bills Signed by Governor Heineman


Governor Heineman signed a number of bills this week, including:


* LB 216 to allow the use of a single special interest license plate on certain collector or restored vehicles that are not used for general transportation. The bill would take effect on Jan. 1, 2013.


* LB 370 to create a process for the issuance of treasurers tax deeds, including revisions to redemption deadlines and expanded notice provisions.


* LB 470 to allow county boards and city and village governing bodies to approve certain library administration compensation policies before the policies could be implemented by a library board.


* LB 828 to revise and harmonize statutes related to wind and solar energy agreements.


* LB 836 to expand existing authority of political subdivisions to invest or deposit funds using a deposit placement service such as CDARS.


* LB 879 to authorize pledged collateral to be held in the office of the county treasurer, rather than the county clerk.


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