April 12, 2013                                                                             Legislative Report Archive

In This Issue


Tax Sales Bills Advanced from General File


Juvenile Justice Bills Move Forward 




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salesTax Sales Bills Advanced from General File

A bill to eliminate the confusing bid-down process for tax sales certificates advanced from the first round of debate on Tuesday. LB341 was the product of an interim study that examined legislation adopted last year to revise the treasurer's deed process. The bill would define the round-robin process for selling tax sales certificates and would require each property to be on a single certificate. Purchasers would pay a $25 registration fee to participate in the tax sale. A Revenue Committee amendment would replace an existing 45 day window after application for a tax deed for redemption of owner-occupied property. The new language would prohibit application for a tax deed unless notice is given at least three months and 45 days prior to application for a tax deed.


Senators also advanced LB97, which would authorize creation of municipal land banks that would have automatic bidding rights at delinquent tax sales. Land banks could be used by municipalities to facilitate the return of vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties to productive use. Land banks could only be created in cities of the metropolitan class or cities within a county in which at least three cities of the first class are located. At this time, land banks could only be formed in Douglas and Sarpy counties.

Both bills advanced from General File with minimal debate.



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juvenileJuvenile Justice Bills Move Forward

LB561, a bill to reform the juvenile justice system, is expected to be reported as advanced to the floor by the Judiciary Committee when the Legislature reconvenes on Tuesday. A proposed committee amendment would rewrite much of the bill and would remove language closing the Youth Rehabilitation and Training Centers in Kearney and Geneva. At this point, among other things included in the committee amendment are provisions intending to appropriate $10 million to be used for the Community-based Juvenile Services Aid Program (previously called the County Juvenile Services Aid), funding for new positions of a Director of Juvenile Diversion Programs and a Director of Community-based Juvenile Services Aid Program. The proposed amendment includes language addressing the responsibility of costs for detention in some situations.


The amendment is also expected to include components of other juvenile-related bills, such as LB86 that would provide for oversight of staff secure facilities by the Jail Standards Board, LB463 that would add a new juvenile court judge in Douglas County, LB471 that would modify juvenile commitment evaluations, and portions of LB562 that would add a provision for information sharing. LB561 is a Judiciary Committee priority bill.


The full Legislature on Thursday advanced LB44, a bill that would address a U.S. Supreme Court case pertaining to sentencing of juveniles for Class 1A felonies. As amended by the Legislature after several hours of first round debate, the bill would establish a 40-year minimum sentencing option for juveniles. Mitigating factors that could be taken into consideration for sentencing were also added to the bill before it advanced from General File.


LB464, which would change the court jurisdiction over juveniles and the indictment process, is currently on Select File. It is the intent of the introducer that this legislation will be considered in the future as issues of LB 561 are further evaluated.



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legconfPlan Now for NACO's Legislative Day

County officials are invited to come to Lincoln to watch the Legislature in person on April 18.  Registration begins at the NACO office at 8:30 a.m. and moves to the Warner Chamber of the State Capitol at 9:15. Lieutenant Governor LaVon Heidemann, Speaker Greg Adams and several key senators have been invited to address the group. Following a lunch with senators at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, county officials can visit state offices, tour the Capitol and governor's mansion, and watch legislative debate.  A tentative agenda and on-line registration are available here.


Registrations are also being taken for for NACO's County Board of Equalization Workshop in Kearney on May 9. A tentative agenda is here. 


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snshSnapshots of County Issues 

Upcoming Debate 

Senators will begin debate on expanding Medicaid on Tuesday. LB577 would expand Medicaid eligibility to low-income adults ages 19 through 64 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Many of these individuals are currently served through county general assistance. Senator Kathy Campbell has designated LB577 as her priority bill for the session.   LB578, which would redirect subsidized health insurance funds to support the expanded Medicaid proposal, was advanced by the Health and Human Services Committee this week but has not been scheduled for debate.


LB3, a bill to revise procedures for filing nonconsensual liens, also appears on Tuesday's agenda.


Bills Advanced from Committees

The Urban Affairs Committee advanced one of their priority bills, LB66, with an amendment that would rewrite the bill. As introduced, the bill would provide for cities of the first class to annex certain noncontiguous land. The committee amendment would allow cities to use tax increment financing outside of municipal boundaries on formerly used federal defense sites.


The Judiciary Committee advanced LB483, which would impose a new one dollar court fee earmarked for reentry programs for incarcerated parents, and LB390, which would revise the powers of the governor relative to firearms during a state of emergency.


Bills Debated on General File

On Wednesday, the Legislature started debate on LB362, a bill to eliminate the current park permit system and replace it with a $7 fee on motor vehicle registrations that would be directed towards parks. In addition to several amendments intended to filibuster the bill, two amendments were introduced that proposed allowing permits to be procured from the Department of Motor vehicles when registering a motor vehicle. The bill was pulled from the agenda by the introducer until a compromise can be worked out.


Bills Advanced from Select File

Several bills were advanced from the second round of debate by a voice vote on Wednesday. LB55 would change "shall" to "may" in a statute that requires counties to assume contracts for assessment services that were entered into by the state on behalf of state-assessed counties. Until legislation was adopted in 2009 to require counties to reassume the assessment function, nine counties were assessed by the state. The state had entered into a lengthy contract for assessment software that some of the nine counties preferred not to use when they reassumed the assessment function.


LB271 would revise the time frame for voters to cast their ballots early in the county clerk or election commissioner's office from 35 days to 30 days prior to the election.


LB299 appeared on the agenda but, pursuant to the rules, was passed over without consideration because an amendment had been filed.  LB299 would add detail to the process for putting the question of electing county board members by district or at large on the ballot. The amendment would have added LB417, a bill requiring the Secretary of State to develop and publish guidelines for election workers. 




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