February 1, 2013                                                                              Legislative Report Archive

In This Issue




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nonpartNonpartisan County Election Hearing on Feb. 7

County officials in counties of 10,000 or less could be elected on a nonpartisan basis if approved by local voters under LB241.  The issue could be placed on the ballot by a resolution of the county board or a petition process. If voters approve, all subsequent elections would be nonpartisan. The question could only be submitted to voters every three years.  The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee will hear the bill on February 7 at 1:30 p.m. in Room 1507 of the State Capitol. 


The committee will also hear bills to require a secret-ballot envelope for mailed ballots (LB206) and to allow 16 and 17 year olds to preregister to vote (LB127). 


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snapSnapshots of County Issues 

Upcoming Hearings


The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee will hear testimony on open meetings and public records proposals on Feb. 6. Under LB521, public bodies that maintain websites would have to publish meeting notices and agendas on their websites. 


The process used by public bodies to calculate the cost of filling requests for records would be changed by LB363. Costs for a third-party contractor or information technology services company whose services were needed to compile data to fulfill a public records request could be included in the actual cost of the providing the record. The first six hours of the salary of public officers or employees involved in searching, identifying, or copying the records could not be included in the calculation of costs. Custodians of public records would not be required to make copies of records available on the body's website unless the requester does not have reasonable access to the Internet.


County jail inmates would make copayments of not less than $10 for nonemergency visits to health care providers under LB246. The copayment would be deducted from the balance in the inmate's personal account and credited to the general fund of the county.  If an inmate did not have a sufficient balance in his or her account, 50 percent of each deposit to the account would be withheld  until the copayment was paid in full. The copayment would not be charged for emergency care, treatment of infectious or contagious diseases, staff-initiated care, mental health care, and other exceptions.  An inmate could not be denied access to health care due to an inability to pay the copayment.  The Judiciary Committee will hear the bill on Feb. 7.

LB405 and LB406, Governor Heineman's proposals to rewrite the state's income and sales tax policies will be heard by the Revenue Committee on Feb. 6 and 7, respectively.  Testimony is expected to be lengthy as entities plead their cases for retaining exemptions.  The committee has heard bills this week that would exempt social security, military retirement benefits and certain retirement benefits from income tax.


Committee Hearings 


County sheriffs testified before the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee in support of a bill to allow county boards to set fees for their services.  The fees would more accurately reflect the cost of service and provide some property tax relief.  Opponents questioned whether a range of fees might be appropriate in light of constitutional concerns.  The committee has not taken action on LB65. A similar bill to increase select fees, LB 360, will be heard by the Judiciary Committee on Feb.8.



Bills Placed on General File

The Transporation and Telecommunications Committee advanced a bill to reduce the county share of motor vehicle registration fees by 50 cents in exchange for centralization of the distribution of postcard reminder notices of motor vehicle taxes. LB207, introduced by Sen. Beau McCoy, would decrease processing and mailing costs for counties. The bill would specifically authorize counties to charge a postage and handling fee when vehicle owners request delivery of license plates, registration certificates or decals by mail.  The committee also advanced LB32, which would prohibit the use of special interest license plates as historical plates. The bill was introduced at the request of the Department of Motor Vehicles. 


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selSelected Committee 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, February 4 

Transportation and Telecommunications Committee

Room 1113 1:30 p.m.

  • LB117 (Harms) Change provisions relating to permits for overweight vehicles
  • LB174 (Mello) Change provisions relating to vehicle load contents and spillage
  • LB398 (Brasch) Change provisions and penalties relating to certain excessively loaded vehicles
  • LB548 (Schilz) Change a length exception for semitrailers trasnporting baled livestock forage

Tuesday, February 5

Urban Affairs Committee

Room 1510 1:30 p.m.

  • LB377 (Johnson) Change provisions relating to annexation of a county road by a city or village
  • LB591 (Lautenbaugh) Change civil service commission membership
  • LB643 (Davis) Change certain provisions regarding nuisances in cities and villages

Transportation and Telecommunications Committee

Room 1113 1:30 p.m.

  • LB445 (Karpisek) Provide funding to the Department of Motor Vehicles to purchase a vehicle titling and registration computer system
  • LB446 (Avery) Define the term flood damage for purposes of the Motor Vehicle Certificate of Title Act
  • LB624 (Pirsch) Provide for fees for copies of motor vehicle accident reports


Wednesday, February 6

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

Room 1507 1:30 p.m.

  • LB363 (Avery) Change provisions relating to access to public records
  • LB434 (Price) Provide for emergency management registries for persons with special needs
  • LB521 (Christensen) Require cities and villages and other public bodies that maintain web sites to publish ordinances and other information as prescribed

Revenue Committee

Room 1524 1:30 p.m. 

  • LB405 (McCoy) Eliminate certain sales tax exemptions, corporate and individual income taxes, and the franchise tax and change other tax provisions


Thursday, February 7

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

Room 1507 1:30 p.m.

  • LB127 (McGill) Provide for preregistration to vote for 16 and 17 year olds
  • LB206 (Schumacher) Require secret-ballot envelopes for mailed ballots
  • LB219 (Avery) Change petition requirements for general election ballots
  • LB241 (Sullivan) Authorize voters to change election of county offices from partisan to nonpartisan

Judiciary Committee

Room 1113 1:30 p.m. 

  • LB246 (Larson) Provide for a health care copayment for jail and prison inmates

Revenue Committee

Room 1524 1:30 p.m.

  • LB406 (McCoy) Change tax provisions 


Friday, February 8

Judiciary Committee

Room 1113 1:30 p.m.

  • LB360 (Karpisek) Change court fees, sheriff's fees, identification inspection fees, and handgun certificate fees
  • LB202 (Coash) Change provisions relating to DNA collection
  • LB318 (McGill) Change duties of law enforcement officers and agencies relatign to the taking and distribution of fingerprints
  • LB44 (Ashford) Change penalty provisions with respect to Class IA felonies committed by persons under the age of eighteen 

Tuesday, February 12

Agriculture Committee

Room 1524 1:30 p.m.

  • LB423 (Agriculture Committee) Change seizure provisions of the Livestock Animal Welfare Act
  • LB550 (Schilz) Adopt the Livestock Growth Act and change provisions of the Nebraska Advantage Rural Development Act 

Thursday, February 14

Natural Resources Committee

Room 1525 1:30 p.m.

  • LB57 (Larson) Change provisions relating to grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund

Tuesday, February 19

Executive Board

Room 2102 12:00 p.m.

  • LB613 (Schumacher) Create the Tax Modernization Commission 

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