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February 14, 2014                                                                              Legislative Report Archive
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inheritInheritance Tax Hearings Scheduled

The Revenue Committee has set Thursday, February 20 for the public hearing on inheritance tax bills. LB812, introduced by Senator Tom Hansen, would repeal inheritance taxes beginning in 2015. LB960, introduced by Senator Tom Carlson, would reduce the tax rates for Class II and Class III beneficiaries. Currently Class II beneficiaries -- aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews -- pay 13 percent on property with a value in excess of $15,000. LB960 would decrease the rate to 7 percent. Class III beneficiaries, who are more distant relatives and unrelated persons, currently pay 18 percent on amounts in excess of $10,000. LB960 would decrease the rate to 9 percent. Neither bill provides replacement revenue.

 

A bill to restore state aid to counties, cities, and natural resources districts will also be heard. LB1053 would distribute aid to counties based on a formula that was adopted in 2009 but not implemented because all state aid was eliminated. Each county would receive $30,000, with further distributions based upon a ratio of total county real and personal property valuation compared to total state valuation.

 

The hearings will begin at 1:30 p.m. in Room 1524 of the State Capitol. If you plan to come to Lincoln to testify at the hearing, please notify the NACO office so that we can coordinate testimony. If you aren't able to attend but would like to watch the hearings, NET livestreams hearings through a link on the Legislature's website.  

    

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 automaticElection Issues

Certain candidates in county elections could automatically advance through the primary election under a bill that was sent to the governor this week. Under LB56, if the number of candidates does not exceed the number of candidates to be nominated at the primary election, candidates would automatically advance to the general election. The bill also allows a write-in candidate's name to be placed on the ballot with the other candidate's names if they file a notarized affidavit and pay the filing fee by March 3.

 

A bill to allow unaffiliated voters to select a partisan ballot at the primary election will be heard on Wednesday, February 19. LB773 would allow one party's ballots to be selected for partisan local, county, and state races.

 

Two election bills have been selected as priorities by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. LB661 would allow the Department of Motor Vehicles signature records to be used for electronic voter registration. It was advanced by the committee but a motion to indefinitely postpone is pending. LB1048 would change procedures for political parties to file plans outlining the process for selecting delegates to the national convention and their commitment to candidates. During the hearing on the bill, there was discussion about using the bill to move the primary election to an earlier date. LB1048 remains in committee.

 

Two election bills were advanced by the committee this week. LB 976 would create an independent redistricting advisory committee to conduct the decennial redistricting. LB743 would define what constitutes one-half of a term of office. Persons appointed to fill certain vacancies must stand for election if they serve for more than half of the term.

  

Two election bills have been indefinitely postponed by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. LB662 would have required first-time voters who have registered through the mail to present a government document showing the persons' name and address as it appears on their registration application. The committee also indefinitely postponed LB663 that would have expanded authority to conduct elections by mail to all counties. Currently only counties under 10,000 can petition the Secretary of State for authority to conduct elections by mail on a precinct by precinct basis. LB292, a carryover bill to increase the population threshold to 20,000, remains in committee. 

    

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snapSnapshots of County Issues

Bills Heard in Committee This Week

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

The timeline for filling vacancies in county offices would be changed by LB1084 that was heard on Wednesday. The bill, which was introduced to address difficulties filling an extended vacancy on a city council, would strike provisions that allow a governing body to exceed 45 days in filling a vacancy if good cause is shown that the deadline imposes an undue burden. Senator Tommy Garrett, the introducer, provided the committee with an amendment that would retain the good cause and undue burden language.

 

Revenue Committee

The state could issue up to $400 million in bonds to accelerate the building of expressways and other projects designated under the Build Nebraska Act. Under LB1092, the bonds would have to be paid back by 2033. An amendment was offered to clarify that the Highway Cash Fund, rather than the Highway Trust Fund, would be pledged for the bonds. Counties do not receive a share of the Highway Cash Fund.

  

 

Bills Advanced by Committees

Special time has been set aside this week for committees to meet in executive session on the advancement of bills. On Wednesday, senators will check in, then begin their committee work.

 

Revenue Committee 

County treasurers would forward a list of real property subject to sale for delinquent taxes to the Property Tax Administrator for posting on the Department of Revenue's website pursuant to LB697. The bill was sent to the floor by the Revenue Committee this week.

 

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

A report state treasurers send to the State Treasurer would be eliminated by LB 792, which was advanced from the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. The report includes information about the amount of money collected on behalf of school districts and is no longer needed.

  

Transportation and Telecommunications Committee

LB816 would allow proof of insurance of an automobile liability policy to be provided paper or electronic format. If the information is displayed in an electronic format, it would not be considered consent for law enforcement to access other contents of the device. The person presenting the device would assume all liability for damage to the device. No action has been reported on the bill.

 

 

Bills Passed by the Legislature

Among other bills passed by the Legislature this week was LB588, which would define veterans preference for purposes of hiring by the state or counties with a civil service system.  


Bills Signed by the Governor

Sixteen bills were signed by Governor Heineman on Thursday. LB597 expands the authority of county agricultural societies to sell, exchange, and lease real estate and improvements. The county board must consent to such transactions. The bill carried an emergency clause and took effect immediately. LB446 adds a definition of flood damaged to sections of law dealing with salvage certificates of title. LB215 revises uses of County Visitors Improvement Funds to allow grants to organizations to promote, encourage, and attract visitors to the county. 

  

Bills Indefinitely Postponed

The Legislature's Executive Board indefinitely postponed two measures this week. LB970 would have stated that all votes taken by public officials in the course of their public duties are considered public record. LR397CA would have required votes to be preserved for public inspection. Two bills on related topics, LB1065 and LB1066, are scheduled to be heard by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Feb. 20. LB1065 would eliminate the statutory authority to keep votes for leadership within a public body private. LB1066 would require roll call votes on all county board questions.  

 

    

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upcomgUpcoming NACO Events

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

  

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selSelected 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 28.

 

 

The Legislature is in recess on Friday, February 14 and Monday, February 17.

  

Tuesday, February 18

Appropriations Committee

Room 1524, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB1094 (Davis) Change a fund transfer to the Property Tax Credit Cash Fund
  • LB1086 (Pirsch) Transfer cash reserve funds to the Property Tax Credit Cash Fund
  • LB669 (McCoy) Transfer cash reserve funds to the Property Tax Credit Cash Fund

 

Transportation and Telecommunications Committee

Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB892 (Smith) Change enforcement provisions of the One-Call Notification System Act
  • LB930 (Watermeier) Require an operator's presence at an excavation under the One-Call Notification System Act
  • LB1045 (Harr) Redefine the term underground facility for purposes of the One-Call Notification System Act

 

Wednesday, February 19

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB980 (Johnson) Change provisions relating to termination of a township board
  • LB773 (Davis) Provide for partisan ballots for unaffiliated voters at primary elections
  • LB1013 (Murante) Permit counties to regulate peddlers, hawkers, and solicitors by ordinance

 

Judiciary Committee

Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB1044 (Schilz) Provide procedures for abandoned mobile homes

 

Revenue Committee

Room 1524, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB723 (Christensen) Change property tax provisions relating to the valuation of irrigated cropland and comparable sales. This bill would require irrigated cropland to be divided into subclasses of real property including, but not limited to, ground water irrigated, surface water irrigated, ground and surface water irrigated, and limited capacity irrigated.

  

Thursday, February 20

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB1075 (Harr) Prohibit employment of certain persons leaving public positions
  • LB1065 (Lautenbaugh) Eliminate secret ballot provisions under the Open Meetings Act
  • LB1066 (Lautenbaugh) Require a recorded roll call vote by certain county boards

 

Revenue Committee

Room 1524, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB812 (Hansen) Terminate the inheritance tax
  • LB960 (Carlson) Change inheritance tax rates
  • LB1053 (Karpisek) Provide state aid to municipalities, counties, and natural resources districts

Judiciary Committee

Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB890 (Dubas) Change provisions relating to procedures for acquiring private property 
  • LB868 (Karpisek) Prohibit peace officers from using government-issued equipment for private employment 

  

Friday, February 21

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.

  • LR393CA (Murante) Constitutional amendment to change signature requirements for initiative petitions
  • LR411CA (Karpisek) Authorize municipalities and counties to exercise powers in matters of local concern and to eliminate home rule charters

 

Judiciary Committee

Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB927 (Nordquist) Provide that judges retirement fees cannot be waived

 

Monday, February 24

Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee

Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB991 (Nordquist) Prohibit collection of interchange fees by payment card networks on certain taxes and fees

 

Business and Labor Committee

Room 2102, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB955 (Dubas) Adopt the Paid Family Medical Leave Act
  • LB1090 (Conrad) Adopt the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act
  • LB1073 (Lathrop) Require employers to e-verify immigration status of new employees

 

Transportation and Telecommunications Committee

Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB925 (Coash) Provide for transfer of motor vehicle registration duties to county treasurers
  • LB954 (Dubas) Change rotating or flashing light provisions for certain vehicles

 

Tuesday, February 25

Education Committee

Room 1525, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB1060 (Lautenbaugh) Change from elected to appointed boards for educational service units

 

Wednesday, February 26

Revenue Committee

Room 1524, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB979 (Harr) Change provisions relating to tax sales for delinquent property taxes
  • LB1043 (Nelson) Exempt certain deeds form the documentary stamp taxes

 

Friday, February 28

Revenue Committee

Room 1524, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB1057 (Davis) Change the distribution of sales and use tax revenue and provide duties for the Department of Revenue
  • LR423CA (Nordquist) Constitutional amendment to provide that residential real property may be classified separately for property taxation

     

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