January 31, 2014                                                                              Legislative Report Archive

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Property Tax Bills to be Heard Next Week




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revhr Property Tax Bills to be Heard Next Week

The Revenue Committee will hear a series of bills next week that would make changes to agland valuation and homestead exemptions.


On Wednesday, February 5, the committee will hear LB 986, which would change the income limits for applicants and beneficiaries of the homestead exemption program. 


On Thursday, February 6, the committee will hear proposals to expand homestead exemptions to individuals with developmental difficulties (LB850) and disabled veterans (LB1087). LB912 would create the Property Tax Relief Act to provide an additional homestead exemption of $8,000. LB761 would provide for a tax amnesty program with proceeds going to the Property Tax Credit Cash Fund. The credit appears on property tax statements as a reduction from the amount due. Several bills making direct appropriations to the fund have not been set for hearings.


On Friday, February 7, the committee will hear two bills to change the valuation of agricultural and horticultural land from 75 percent to 65 percent of assessed value. LB670 would phase in the reduction over three years and LB813 would phase in the reduction over two years. Two other bills offer a circuit-breaker through an income tax credit based on property taxes paid. LB913 would authorize a credit of the amount of property taxes paid on the primary residence during the tax year, up to $250 filing single and $500 filing jointly. LB1038 would provide an income tax credit for owners of agricultural and horticultural land whose property taxes exceed five percent of their federal adjusted gross income.


The hearings start at 1:30 p.m. in Room 1524 of the State Capitol. If you are unable to attend the hearing and would like to watch the testimony, a livestream feed of these and other hearings is available here.


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spshSnapshots of County Issues

Upcoming Committee Hearings

The Judiciary Committee has scheduled the hearing AM 1674 to LB464 for Wednesday, February 5. The amendment would modify provisions to juvenile justice statutes, including provisions codified last session by LB 561 (2013). Section 16 of the amendment is intended to clarify the obligations of counties, Office of Probation Administration and the Office of Juvenile Services within the Department of Health and Human Services. Also included in the amendment are provisions that would modify the uses of Community-based Juvenile Services Aid and add an additional $5 million to the program. Counties and federally recognized or state-recognized Indian tribes can apply for this aid. An additional amendment (AM1734) was filed to AM 1674 that would create a council for student attendance. The council would, among other things, consider whether school districts policies and practices for addressing truancy and absenteeism are operational and effectively working to address truancy and make recommendations for improvement. Two million dollars would be appropriated for funding grants for the development, implementation, and funding programs regarding absenteeism and truancy in order to foster school attendance.


Bills Heard in CommitteeThis Week

Revenue Committee

The commission counties and retailers receive for collecting state sales taxes would be reinstated to pre-2002 levels under LB794, which was heard by the Revenue Committee on Thursday. Under existing law, the commission is 2.5 percent of the first $3,000 collected each month, which is a maximum of $75, regardless of the total amount collected on behalf of the state. The bill would reinstate language that was removed during the 2002 budget shortfall by adding another one-half percent on collections in excess of $3,000 per month. The concept is similar to two bills NACO supported last year, LB333 and LB581. Other aspects of LB794 would require entities collecting sales taxes on credit or debit card transactions to immediately electronically transfer the sales tax portion to the state. Retailers testified in opposition citing the difficulty and expense in implementing the concept.


Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

LB833, a bill to require counties under 150,000 to submit the question of electing or appointing a county surveyor to voters in 2020, was heard by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday. The bill would harmonize surveyor election procedures with those for other county offices by rephrasing language requiring elected county surveyors to be residents of the county they serve. Several amendments were suggested at the hearing, including setting a population limit below which the election would not be required and changing the election date to allow a vote on the issues of election or appointment at any time.  



Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee Hearings

A new professional designation -- real property associate -- would be available to persons seeking a credential in the field of appraisal but not wishing to become a licensed, certified residential, or certified general real property appraiser. LB685, introduced by Sen. Mark Christensen, would also address administrative and enforcement issues experienced by the Nebraska Real Property Appraiser Board. Much of the discussion by the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee focused on the credentials and experience needed to perform mass appraisal for ad valorem purposes in comparison to fee appraisals for financial institutions conducted by holders of appraiser's certificates. Representatives of the Appraiser Board emphasized that counties should contract with licensed appraisers, but noted that counties would face increased costs to do so. In addition, county assessors, who must hold an assessors certificate, are already exempted from appraiser licensing requirements. One testifier in opposition to the bill noted that many experts and researchers on mass appraisal models do not hold appraisers certificates and that assessors are the mass appraisal experts in the state.


Two members of the Banking Committee, Sen. Paul Schumacher and Sen. Pete Pirsch, are also members of the Revenue Committee which heard LB733, the Mass Assessment Act last week. LB733 would create a separate set of credentials outside of the Appraisal Act aimed specifically at mass appraisal for ad valorem purposes. Sen. Schumacher introduced LB733 at NACO's request. Neither bill has been advanced to the floor of the Legislature.  


Bills Advanced by Committees

The Revenue Committee advanced LB681 to the entire Legislature for debate. The bill would harmonize bills passed last year creating land banks (LB97) and revising tax sales certificate statutes (LB341).


The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee advanced three bills. LB757 would relax mailbox location exceptions on state highways and eliminate outdated county road numbering statutes. LB758 would allow a copy, rather than the original registration, to be carried on commercial semitrailers. LB777 was brought on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles to update modernize statutes, including elimination of the term "duplicate", which is now the functional equivalent of a "replacement" license.


The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee advanced LB766, which would change tuition assistance program provision for National Guard members. It also advanced LB772, which would increase from $10,000 to $25,000 the amount the Adjutant General could spend on fire suppression or hazardous material response without an emergency proclamation by the Governor.


General File Debate

After nearly four hours of debate, senators advanced a bill allowing defeated candidates to write-in if their defeat came as the resolution of a tie vote. Under existing law, if a tie exists after a recount in a county, city, village, or school district race, the county canvassing board determines by lot which of the candidates is elected. These provisions do not apply to constitutional officers. An amendment was offered and withdrawn that would have added natural resources district elections to the bill. A motion to bracket LB144 until April 17 failed before the bill advanced on a 28-6 vote.   



Select File Debate

County boards would be given more authority over sales of property by county agricultural societies pursuant to an amendment adopted to LB597 on the second round of debate.


Automatic advancement of candidates could occur in partisan county races under LB56, which was advanced from the second round of debate on Thursday. Existing law already provides for candidates in races for natural resources districts, public power districts, and others to automatically advance from the primary if the number of candidates does not exceed the number of candidates that may be nominated. Due to concerns on General File that a write-in candidate might not have enough time to decide whether to run, an amendment was offered and adopted that would give a two-day window after the regular filing deadline for a certified write-in. 



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Upcoming NACO Events


NACO's 2014 County Board Workshop will be held next week, Feb. 5-7 in Kearney. See the tentative agenda here.


NACO scholarship applications are due March 1. See details here.



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heargSelected Committee Hearing Schedule

All bills introduced by the Legislature are assigned to one of the Legislature's committees for a public hearing. Hearings, which are held each afternoon, will conclude on February 24.


Monday, February 3

Appropriations Committee
Room 1524, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB905 (Speaker Adams, at the request of the Governor) Provide for deficit appropriations 

Business and Labor Committee

Room 2102, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB765 (Conrad) Change the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act
  • LB903 (Lathrop) Require a wage statement for employees under the Nebraska Wage Payment Collection Act
  • LB943 (Nordquist) Change the minimum wage rate

Transportation and Telecommunications Committee

Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB698 (Larson) Change provisions relating to mowing and harvesting hay on the right-of-way of highways
  • LB981 (Dubas) Change commercial motor vehicle provisions relating to falsified information, medical examinations, texting, and use of handheld mobile telephones 
  • LB982 (Dubas) Redefine the terms all-terrain vehicle and utility-type vehicle

Tuesday, February 4

Agriculture Committee

Room 2102, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB673 (Chambers) Repeal the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act 

Banking, Commerce and Insurance

Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB750 (Harr) Change provisions relating to  lien perfection and termination
  • LB734 (Schumacher) Provide for deposit of public funds with credit unions

Transportation and Telecommunications Committee

Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB701 (Dubas) Change provisions relating to salvage titles and acquisition of salvage titles by insurance companies
  • LB727 (Harms) Change provisions relating to anatomical gift donation designations on drivers' licenses and state identification cards
  • LB816 (Murante) Authorize use of electronic forms of evidence of insurance for purposes of motor vehicle registration
  • LB910 (Dubas) Require notice from state or local law enforcement to lienholders or mortgagees of abandoned motor vehicles

Urban Affairs Committee

Room 1510,1:30 p.m.

  • LB1012 (Schilz) Change provisions relating to blighted areas under the Community Development Law
  • LB1095 (Davis) Create the Tax-increment Financing Division of the Department of Economic Development and change the Community Development Law 

Wednesday, February 5

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB946 (Murante) Change provisions relating to elections
  • LB1048 (Murante) Change political party provisions
  • LB746 ( Avery) Change election provisions to authorize provisional ballots and require identification for certain voters 

Health and Human Services Committee

Room 1510, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB994 (Health and Human Services Committee) Change fees as prescribed for vital statistics
Judiciary Committee

Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.

  • LR399 (Wightman) Recommend the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform
  • Special AM1674 to LB464

Revenue Committee

Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB986 (Revenue Committee) Change homestead exemption income limitations
  • LB995 (Hadley) Provide an income tax credit for state and local taxes paid

Thursday, February 6

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB1018 (Hadley) Change public record provisions for withholding job application materials from the public
  • LB825 (Lautenbaugh) Require Open Meeting Act compliance by boards and subcommittees subject to the Nebraska Workforce Investment Act
  • LB937 (Karpisek) Change the quorum requirement for county boards

Judiciary Committee

Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB1007 (Haar) Change provisions relating to the Security, Privacy, and Dissemination of Criminal History Information Act
  • LB907 (Ashford) Provide for supervised release, reentry probation officers, create the Nebraska Center for Justice Research, and change presentence investigations and good time provisions
  • LB999 (Ashford) Adopt the Criminal Justice Reentry and Data Act and create the Reentry Programming Board

Revenue Committee

Room 1524, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB761 (Mello) Provide for a tax amnesty program and change provisions on contracts for finding nonpayers of taxes 
  • LB850 (Watermeier) Provide for a homestead exemption for individuals with developmental disabilities
  • LB912 (Kolowski) Adopt the Property Tax Relief Act
  • LB1087 (Pirsch) Create a homestead exemption for disabled veterans, widows, and widowers

Friday, February 7

Executive Board

Room 2102, 12:00 p.m.

  • LB970 (Lautenbaugh) Provide that certain votes of public officials are public record
  •  LR397CA (Lautenbaugh) Constitutional amendment to require public recording and preservation of votes of public officials
  • LB976 (Karpisek) Adopt the Redistricting Act
Judiciary Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB821 (Lautenbaugh) Provide a public benefits exemption for burial or cremation of an unclaimed body
  • LB881 (Watermeier) Change provisions relating to death, injury, or property damage to innocent third parties as a result of a police vehicular pursuit

Revenue Committee

Room 1524, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB670 (McCoy) Change property tax valuations of agricultural land and horticultural land
  • LB813 (Hansen) Change valuation of agricultural land and horticultural land for property tax purposes
  • LB913 (Kolowski) Provide an income tax credit for property taxes paid
  • LB1038 (Dubas) Provide and income tax credit for certain property taxes paid on agricultural land and horticultural land


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