April 5, 2012                                                                                  Legislative Report Archive

In This Issue

Three Legislative Days Remain in 2012 Session



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threeThree Legislative Days Remain in 2012 Session

Today marks the 57th day of the 60-day 2012 legislative session. Senators worked into the night several times this week in an effort to address as many priority bills as possible before the session ends. Adjournment is tentatively scheduled for April 12.


NACO will not publish a Legislative Report next week but will provide an end-of-session summary in early May.


Bills not passed or killed this year will die at the end of the session. 


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filingFiling Fee Revision Advanced

Funding for improved technology for county records was the focus of first-round debate on LB 14 on Wednesday. The bill would increase filing fees from $5 per page to $10 for the first page and $6 for additional pages. Filing fees for state and federal tax liens would increase from $6 to twice the amount charged for other filings. Fees for indexing lots and sections would be eliminated. The bill would designate $2.50 of the fees collected on the first page and fifty cents from each additional page for preserving and maintaining public records in register of deeds offices and for modernization and technology needs relating to such records. Due to concerns that LB 14 could generate a sizeable amount of revenue in counties with a high number of filings, the fee structure proposed in LB 14 would terminate on January 1, 2018 and return to the current level.


The bill advanced from General File on Wednesday, then advanced from Select File on Thursday. Because bills must lay over for one legislative day between Select File and Final Reading, the final vote will likely be taken on April 11. You can view the daily agendas here as they become available by clicking on the appropriate date.


Senator Wightman has introduced this concept several times in previous years. In 2010, the bill was debated on the floor as LB 686, but did not advance due to confusion about the differences between filing fees and documentary stamp taxes. LB 14 affects only the costs for recording and indexing documents and does not alter documentary stamp tax rates, which are based upon the value of the property.


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indigentIndigent Defense Funding Proposal Bracketed

LB 908, a bill introduced to allow Douglas County to receive indigent defense fees charged in court cases filed in the county, has been bracketed until April 12. The motion, which was made during General File debate, effectively kills the bill.


Under existing law, an indigent defense fee of $3 is charged on each court case filed.  The fee provides funding for the Commission on Public Advocacy, which is available to provide public defender services to counties in certain capital and other serious cases.


As introduced, the bill would have shifted the fees collected in Douglas County from the Commission to Douglas County. A Judiciary Committee amendment would have returned $1.50 per case to Douglas County. Senator Scott Lautenbaugh, the bill's introducer, offered an amendment that would have created a fund from which counties could seek reimbursement, rather than an agency with a staff of attorneys to provide services. The amendment was not discussed prior to the bracket motion.


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shotsSnapshots 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 floor 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 from Select File


The Legislature moved a number of bills through the first two rounds of debate this week. LB 924 would re-enact the Nebraska Redevelopment Act, which terminated in 2000. The bill would provide tax incentives for businesses and authorize the use of tax increment financing outside of cities. LB 807 would clarify ambiguities in concealed carry laws and harmonize inconsistencies about the release of firearms not related to crimes. LB 793 would limit the number of frivolous civil actions filed by prisoners. LB 1125 would allow natural resources districts to refund occupation taxes on irrigated acres due to nonirrigation status.


Bills Passed by the Legislature


More than 50 bills passed today and more than 100 were sent to the governor earlier this week. Some include:


* LB 750 would revise the definition of farm home site.


* LB 916 would make technical changes to county retirement plans and provide an opportunity for participants to change from a defined contribution plan to a cash balance plan.


* LB 867 would allow Lancaster County to reduce their employer match from 150 percent to 100 percent of the employee's retirement contribution.


* LB 1155 would allow counties and cities to regulate the use of golf cars on roads and streets adjacent and contiguous to a golf course. Operators would need a valid driver's license and liability insurance.


* LB 66 would clarify the entity responsible for obtaining and paying for DNA samples for persons placed on probation.


* LB 817 would require all law enforcement officers to attend at least 20 hours of continuing education each year. The state will maintain a central registry of the completion of continuing education.


* LB 1035 would allow for automatic advancement on the ballot of airport authority candidates when there are not more than two candidates for each position to be filled. As advanced, the bill also contains provisions from LB 966 which address the use of computer printouts as permanent ledgers of election returns.


* LB 722 strikes an outdated requirement to pay county board members monthly in counties over 60,000.


* LB 823 would harmonize the responsibilities of county treasurers in holding school district surety bonds and making distribution of tax dollars.


* LB 1101 would clarify the timeline for the election of a county assessor in counties that are re-assuming the assessment function from the state.


* LB 734 would revise the timeline for replevin actions to extend beyond 20 days, if ordered by the court.


* LB 881 would require the arresting or apprehending agency, rather than the entity operating a holding facility, to be responsible for medical costs related to injuries incurred during arrest or apprehension of law violators.


* LB 851 would make the issuance of receipts for payments of property taxes voluntary, rather than mandatory. Receipts would be issued at the request of the taxpayer.


* LB 1106 would require an assessment application to be filed by the owner of the improvements when ownership of an improvement on leased public land changes.


* LB 936 would eliminate deadlines when a county board terminates an inactive township.


* LB 822 would eliminate the notation of the average level of value on change of valuation notices sent to property owners.


* LB 865 would allow jurors to waive compensation for their services.


* LB 1121 would change signature requirements for recall elections in sanitary and improvement districts.


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