May 3, 2013                                                                             Legislative Report Archive

In This Issue




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budgetBudget Bills Advanced to General File

On Wednesday, the 70th day of the 2013 session, the Appropriations Committee advanced the seven bills that make up the budget package to General File. As introduced, LB194 through LB200 contain the budget proposed in January by Governor Heineman. The Appropriations Committee amendments to those bills reflect decisions made by the committee after hearings with governmental agencies and an updated revenue forecast. Two additional amendments were offered to address a larger than anticipated revenue forecast and a compromise on school funding. The 2013 Appropriations Committee Biennial Budget Report can be found here.


First round debate on the budget will begin on Tuesday. Speaker Greg Adams has announced that debate will generally continue until 6:30 each night next week.

issuesSnapshots of County Issues

Bills Advanced from General File

Military veterans could have their service noted on driver's licenses and state identification cards pursuant to LB93. In order to receive the designation, veterans would need to register with the Nebraska Department of Veterans' Affairs. 


Cities could undertake tax increment financing (TIF) projects on formerly used defense sites located in sanitary and improvement districts under LB66, which was amended and advanced from the first round of debate this week. A city approving a project and the county in which the project is located could enter into an interlocal agreement in which the county agrees to reimburse the city for any services the city provides to the site after approval of the redevelopment project. As originally introduced, the bill would have allowed skip annexation of noncontiguous sites by first class cities. Currently TIF is only available within city limits.


Bills Advanced from Select File

The Secretary of State would prepare guidelines for election workers but the guidelines would not be binding under amendments to LB299 that were adopted before the bill advanced from the second round of debate. The guideline language was taken from LB417, as introduced by Senator Rick Kolowski, and amended by Senator John Murante. The guidelines would assist smaller counties with lesser resources and could be based upon guidelines already available in some counties. Under the Murante amendment, the guidelines would be instructional in nature and would continue to allow county clerks and election commissioners to exercise discretion in areas not addressed by election laws. The body of LB299 would revise the process for cities and counties to place the question of electing board members by district or at large on the ballot.


Filers of nonconsensual common-law liens would have to complete additional steps for the filing to be valid and could be subject to criminal penalties under LB3. The filer would be required to have the sheriff serve a copy of the recorded lien upon the owner of the property. The filer would have ten days to institute a judicial proceeding to enforce the nonconsensual lien. Failure to do so would cause the lien to lapse and have no legal effect. An amendment was adopted before the bill advanced from Select File to add the Commercial Real Estate Broker Lien Act to the bill. The amendment would allow commercial real estate brokers to file a lien on commercial real estate in the amount of commission that they are due. This option is already available for architects and other professional services. A second amendment was adopted to ensure that tenants cannot create such a lien on real estate.


LB140, which would amend the Airport Zoning Act, was scheduled for Select File debate on Thursday but passed over. The agenda stated that certain bills, including LB140 would not be debated if substantive amendments had been filed. As the bill stands on Select File, every political subdivision that has an airport hazard area within the area of its zoning jurisdiction would have to adopt specified airport zoning regulations, whether a comprehensive plan and zoning regulations have been adopted or not. The amendment would strike new language stating that the authority to adopt airport zoning regulations is not conditional upon prior adoption of a comprehensive development plan or a comprehensive zoning ordinance. Further debate on LB140 has not been scheduled. 


Bills Passed by the Legislature

A number of bills passed this week and were sent to Governor Heineman. Following are some of the bills that would impact counties.


LB44 would establish a 40-year minimum sentencing option for juveniles convicted of Class IA felonies. The bill was adopted in response to a U.S. Supreme Court case finding that sentencing juveniles to life imprisonment without parole violated the U.S. Constitution.


LB169 would allow the clerk of the district court to serve as jury commissioner in counties of 75,000 or less. Existing law requires the clerk of the district court to serve as jury commissioner in counties of up to 50,000, then requires the election commissioner or other office to fill this role in counties of 50,000 to 200,000.


LB223 would revise the permissible length of a utility-type vehicle to accommodate new four-passenger models.


LB303 would revise requirements for land surveyor examinations to be conducted in writing to allow for electronic examinations.


LB345 would revise the Nebraska Real Property Uniform Transfer on Death Act that was adopted last year. The bill would require a cover sheet to be attached when death certificates are filed due to the death of the transferor of a transfer on death deed, joint tenancy, or life estate. The bill redefines the requirement for disinterested witnesses to sign a transfer on death deed.


LB349 would revise procedures for write-in candidates for President and Vice President.


LB377 provides that when a city or village annexes a county road, the municipality would receive the same powers and easements that are held by the county.


LB386 would create procedures for county boards or road overseers to document encroachments on road right of ways before undertaking drainage projects. Landowners would be given ten days' written notice, which could be waived in the event of an emergency.


LB423 would revise the Livestock Animal Welfare Act to establish protocols for determining the disposition of mistreated animals. The bill would allow a law enforcement officer to enter into a custody agreement that would allow the owner or custodian of the animal to maintain custody of the animal and provide for its care at the expense of the owner.


LB477 would extend the termination date for the Riparian Vegetation Management Task Force from June 30, 2013 to June 30, 2015. The task force develops vegetation management plans in river basins.


LB493 would allow the Game and Parks Commission to lease or otherwise transfer portions of the Cowboy Trail in northeast Nebraska to a political subdivision. Portions of the trail could also be leased to a nonprofit organization. The lessee or transferee would maintain the property at its own expense.


LB538 would provide for the temporary suspension or permanent revocation of a law enforcement certificate based upon the physical, mental, or emotional incapacity of an officer. If the officer remains employed as a law enforcement officer, he or she is not considered to be incapacitated. The incapacity would remain until the officer demonstrates to the Nebraska Police Standards Advisory Council that the incapacity no longer prevents them from performing the essential duties of a law enforcement officer. The bill would take effect on January 1, 2014.


LB595 would provide for the Public Service Commission to contract for an independent study of next-generation 911. Costs for the study would be paid from the wireless surcharge.


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