May 9, 2013                                                                             Legislative Report Archive

In This Issue




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budgetgfBudget Bills Advanced from First Round of Debate

Appropriations for property tax relief, a state airplane, a railroad inspector and a University of Nebraska tuition freeze were some of the subjects discussed as senators debated the state budget this week. The final measure in the budget package advanced from the first round of debate this morning. The debate continued until nearly 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday night and past 11:00 p.m. last night.  


On Wednesday night and Thursday morning, senators debated adding an additional $7.5 million to the property tax relief program that is currently funded at $115 million each year. The funds are allocated to counties based upon valuation, then credited to taxpayers based upon their proportionate value.  Senators suggested other methods for property tax relief, such as earmarking a portion of the state sales tax or revamping the current program to give local governments the option of keeping property tax relief dollars or crediting them to taxpayers. The amendment failed, but the issue of property tax relief is likely to be part of this summer's comprehensive tax study.


Senators will need to return to the budget for Select File and Final Reading and adopt it no later than May 20, the 80th day of the session. Several other bills with potentially lengthy debate remain before the body, including LB 577 to expand Medicaid and LB561 to revise the juvenile justice system. Debate on elimination of the death penalty under LB543 will begin on Monday.


The Appropriations Committee Biennial Budget Report is available here.

issuesSnapshots of County Issues

Bills Passed by the Legislature

LB299, which was passed by the Legislature today, would require the Secretary of State to develop and publish guidelines for election workers. The guidelines would be instructional in nature and would not bind election commissioner or county clerks. Other sections of the bill 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 under a bill passed by the Legislature today. 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 laps and have no legal effect. The bill creates the Class IV felony offense of fraudulently filing a financing statement, lien or document. The bill also enacts the Commercial Real Estate Broker Lien Act to allow filings of liens for commissions due to commercial real estate brokers. The bill carries an emergency clause.


Bills Signed into Law

Governor Heineman signed a number of bills this week. Following are some of the bills that have an impact on counties.


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


LB169 allows 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 in counties of 50,000 to 200,000.


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


LB303 revises land surveyor examination requirements  to allow for electronic examinations.


LB345 revises the Nebraska Real Property Uniform Transfer on Death Act that was adopted last year. The bill requires a cover sheet with filing information 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 revises procedures for write-in candidates for President and Vice President.


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


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


LB423 revises the Livestock Animal Welfare Act to establish protocols for determining the disposition of mistreated animals. The district court may order disposition through sale, humane destruction or other means, or may return custody of the livestock animal to its owner or custodian subject to conditions for the care of the animal or payment of costs for its expenses.


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


LB493 authorizes the Game and Parks Commission to lease or otherwise transfer portions of the Cowboy Trail in northern Nebraska to political subdivisions. Portions of the trail could also be leased to nonprofit organizations. The lessee or transferee must maintain the property at its own expense.


LB538 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 remains 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 takes effect on January 1, 2014.


LB595 provides for the Public Service Commission to contract for an independent study of next-generation 911. The study will look at an Internet-protocol-based system and how to provide multimedia access,among other issues. Funding for the study will come from the wireless surcharge. An initial report must be filed by January 31, 2014 and the final report is due on April 1, 2014.


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