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January 11, 2013                                                            www.nacone.org 
 NACO E-Line Archive 

Upcoming Events

NACO's 35th Annual County Board Workshop

February 6-8,2013

Holiday Inn,

Kearney, NE

 

NWCA 66th Annual Conference

February 12-13, 2013

Ramada Inn,

Kearney, NE

 

NACo's 2013 Legislative Conference

March 2-6, 2013

Washington Hilton,

Washington D.C.

 

 

Northeast District County Officials Meeting

 

March 15, 2013

Lifelong Learning Center,

Norfolk, NE

 

 

Central District County Officials Meeting

 

March 21, 2013

Hastings Hotel,

Hastings, NE

 

 

Panhandle District County Officials Meeting

 

March 27, 2013

Community Center,

Bridgeport, NE

 

 

 

 

To view all upcoming events click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NCPA January    

 

BCBS 2013  

 

 

 

AssocMembersAssociate and Sustaining Members

NACO Associate and Sustaining Members enable NACO to enhance its continuing education programs for county officials across the state. Visit NACO's complete associate and sustaining membership list here.

 

EducationFoundationEducation Foundation Memorial Program

A gift to NACO's Education Foundation ensures that the children of county officials and county employees are eligible to apply for scholarships to continue their education at Nebraska's higher learning institutions. Whatever their passion - history, art, music, science, education, sports - the NACO Education Foundation will provide them an opportunity to fund their education beyond the K-12 level. Memorial gifts to NACO's Education Foundation are tax deductible and will be a lasting legacy in honor of your loved one's commitment to educating the children of Nebraska's county officials and employees. For more information about how to make a memorial gift, please contact Larry Dix  / 402-434-5660 ext. 226.

In This Issue

Register Now For 2013 County Board Workshop

National Association of Counties to Hold 2013 Legislative Conference in Washington

2013 NACO Institute of Excellence

NACO Scholarship Application Due March 1, 2013

Legal Line

NACo Releases New Analysis on Fiscal Cliff Deal

2012 County Board Handbook and Revisions Now Available

News Across the State

Legal Calendar

County Classifieds

Associate & Sustaining Members

NACO Education Foundation Memorial Program

 

Register_For_CB_WorkshopRegisiter Now For 2013 County Board Workshop

The 35th annual County Board Workshop sponsored by NACO for all Nebraska county commissioners and supervisors will be held in Kearney on February 6-8, 2013.  Commissioners and supervisors planning to attend the workshop are encouraged to begin registering online here. Educational sessions covering a variety of topics will be presented on Thursday and Friday. In addition, an orientation session is scheduled on Wednesday afternoon covering basic information pertinent to newly elected commissioners and supervisors.  A tentative agenda may be viewed by clicking here.

 

Tentative plans call for the previously mentioned newly elected commissioners and supervisors orientation to begin at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday.  The workshop will begin at 7:00 p.m. with a review of legislation and an introduction of NACO County Board Committee members. Following a breakfast buffet on Thursday morning, plans for Thursday's agenda tentatively include general session for all board members from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., followed by break out sessions in the afternoon. General session will again be the order of the morning on Friday. The workshop will conclude at approximately 11:30 a.m. and a box lunch will be provided.  Attendees will be able to take their lunch with them as they leave the workshop or enjoy it leisurely in an informal atmosphere with their peers before heading home.

 

The advance registration is the same as last year-$80.00 for those registering no later than January 25. After January 25, the fee increases to $90.00.  Please note that there is no per-day or per-session fee and that all attendees will be required to wear their name tags to gain entrance to workshop events.  Additional meal tickets may be purchased at the registration desk during the workshop.

 

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn at the rate of $82.95/single/double. If you have not made reservations, you are encouraged to do so by contacting the Holiday Inn at (308)237-5971. When making lodging reservations, be sure to indicate you will be attending the NACO County Board Workshop to receive the contracted rate.

NACo_Legislative_ConferenceNational Association of Counties to Hold 2013 Legislative Conference in Washington

NACo's Legislative Conference is the perfect time to get empowered and engaged! While getting educated about current issues affecting your daily lives you also have incredible opportunity for outreach to the administration and federal agencies. NACo has adjusted the 2013 schedule to incorporate more time to advocate for county government!

 

On Monday, March 4, attendees will hear from featured speaker Bob Woodward, associate editor of The Washington Post. His most recent book, The Price of Politics (September, 2012), is based on 18 months of reporting and is an intimate, documented examination of how President Obama and the highest profile Republican and Democratic leaders in the United States Congress attempted to restore the American economy.

 

Go to the NACo Legislative Conference web page for all the information you need to view the schedule and register by clicking here!

Institute_of_Excellence2013 NACO Institute of Excellence
The 2013 NACO Institute of Excellence is open to all elected and appointed county officials.  Deadline for registrations is February 15, 2013.  To register click here.  For additional information, contact the NACO office at (402) 434-5660.
Scholarship_applicationNACO Scholarship Application Due March 1, 2013
Nebraska high school seniors who are the children, stepchildren, or under the legal guardianship of county officials or employees are encouraged to apply for one of twelve $1,000.00 NACO scholarships.  Additional information and the downloadable application can be found under the 'Services' tab on the NACO website.  The scholarship application deadline is March 1, 2013.  To access the application, click here.
Legal_Line_1_11_2013Legal Line

Editor's Note: Legal Line is a feature that will periodically appear in NACO E-Line. This edition has been prepared by Elaine Menzel of the NACO legal staff. Legal Line is not intended to serve as legal advice. Rather, it is published to alert readers to court decisions and legal or advisory matters important to county government. For a specific opinion on how the information conatined in this article or that which will be discussed in future issues relates to your county, consult your county attorney or personal counsel.

 

Nebraska Supreme Court Upholds Award for Passenger in Pursuit

 

In Werner v. County of Platte, 284 Neb. 899, --- N.W.2d --- (2012), the Supreme Court reviewed a case in which an individual sued the county under Neb. Rev. Stat. 13-911 for injuries he sustained during a vehicular pursuit by a law enforcement officer. The plaintiff was determined by the court to be a passenger in the car that the law enforcement officer was pursuing. Section 13-911 of the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act authorizes compensation for damages to an "innocent third party" who is injured by a vehicular pursuit of a law enforcement officer.

 

In its appeal to the Supreme Court, the County argued that the district court erred with respect to (1) admitting, and ultimately relying on, evidence which lacked foundation and was inadmissible hearsay; (2) determining that plaintiff was an "innocent third party" under 13-911; (3) improperly calculating statutory credits and deductions of the award under 13-911; and (4) failing to properly deduct 5 percent from the judgment (for failure of the plaintiff to wear a seatbelt) after applying the statutory cap on damages

 

The accident occurred as a result of a law enforcement officer pursuing a vehicle that was travelling well over the posted speed limit with a driver who was suspected to be driving under the influence. Following the accident, the plaintiff was paralyzed and he sued the County under 13-911 based on allegations that the County was strictly liable for his injuries because they were caused by law enforcement's pursuit of the car and he was an "innocent third party" under the statute.

 

The lower court ruled for the plaintiff by finding that law enforcement had engaged in a "vehicular pursuit" of the driver's car and that the pursuit was a proximate cause of the passenger's injuries.  Additionally, the court found that under 13-911, the passenger was an "innocent third party." The Supreme Court had previously defined "an 'innocent third party' as "one who has not promoted, provoked, or persuaded the driver to engage in flight from law enforcement personnel and one who is not sought to be apprehended in the fleeing vehicle."

 

Following a discussion on several evidentiary issues, the Supreme Court ruled that generally, the lower court did not err in its evidentiary rulings, either because the testimony qualified under an exception to the hearsay rule or because it was not hearsay. The Supreme Court found it was error of the district court to admit a witness' hearsay testimony, but that error did not unfairly prejudice a substantial right of the County.

 

The Supreme Court then considered the County's argument that under 13-911, the court erred in finding Werner was an "innocent third party"; however, it found that both the law and the record supported the lower court's finding.  The Supreme Court stated,

 

[The passenger] was not "innocent" as that term is ordinarily understood. But the phrase "innocent third party" is a term of art under the statute, and the ordinary meaning of "innocent" does not apply. Instead, we have defined an "innocent third party" as a person that was not "sought to be apprehended" by the pursuing officer and as a person who did not promote, provoke, or persuade the driver to flee.  In doing so, we noted that "by its use of the phrase 'innocent third party' . . . the Legislature was concerned with the actions of the third party as those actions may relate to the flight of the driver sought to be apprehended."  Simply put, a third party is "innocent" if he or she played no role in causing the law enforcement pursuit. Yes, [the passenger] broke the law. But that does not affect [the passenger's] "innocent third party" status under 13-911 because [the passenger's] breaking the law did not cause [the driver] to pursue or [the passenger] to instigate the driver to flee.

 

Lastly, the court concluded that the district court properly calculated the County's liability under the relevant statutes.

 

In a separate concurring opinion, it was emphasized by the author that the Legislature has the power to change the result in a future case.  It was noted that "the Legislature may wish to place an additional limitation on the definition of an "innocent third party" in light of the facts of the instant case, and it is free to do so."

The National Association of Counties has released a new summary of the fiscal cliff deal signed by President Obama January 3rd.  After weeks of negotiation, Congress approved legislation (H.R. 8) on New Year's day that delays the across-the-board sequestration cuts for two months, extends most of the Bush era tax cuts and extends the Farm Bill for another year. The measure passed the U.S. House of Representatives late on January 1 after the U.S. Senate had approved it overwhelmingly earlier that same day. While the passage of this measure will temporarily avert and delay various elements of the fiscal cliff, Congress and the administration are already opening talks on the next round of federal debt and deficit issues that may have significant consequences for counties.

 

Under the most recent fiscal cliff deal, there are several key issues impacting counties:

  • Deduction of state and local taxes extended
  • No major reform to entitlements, including Medicaid 
  • Farm Bill extension fails to extend funding for rural development 

To view the NACo fiscal cliff summary, please click here to view the full report. 

County_Board_Handbooks2012 County Board  Handbook and Revisions Now Available
The 2012 County Board Handbook and related revisions are available now.  The cost for a current handbook, including legislative information from the 2012 session, is $80.00/book plus $15.45 shipping and handling per book.  The 2012 Supplement to the County Board Handbook is available for $20.00 plus $5.00 shipping and handling.  You may contact Wendy Kelly by clicking here or call her at (402) 434-5660 ext. 223 to place an order to receive your new book and/or supplement.
CountygovernementdaycdCounty Government Day PowerPoint Available
The PowerPoint presentation is now available electronically at no charge (sent via e-mail) for use by Counties during their annual County Government Day. The PowerPoint provides a comprehensive look at county government functions in the State of Nebraska and can be customized by each county. CD's are also available for $10.00 each to cover processing, shipping and handling. To request the County Government Day PowerPoint electronically, please e-mail your request to larrydix@nacone.org. The order form is available here.
News_Across_The_StateNews Across the State
Links are to outside sources and may not be available indefinitely.
  
Columbus Telegram, 1/7/2013
  
Scotts Bluff Star Herald, 1/8/2013
  
Columbus Telegram, 1/8/2013
  
Nebraska Association of County Officials
625 South 14th Street Suite 200 | Lincoln, NE 68508 | 402-434-5660