January 23, 2015                                                                          Legislative Report Archive

In This Issue



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Senators concluded bill introductions on Wednesday and began General File debate today. When bill introductions concluded on Wednesday, 655 bills and four constitutional amendments had been introduced. After Governor Ricketts' State of the State address on Thursday, eight more bills representing his proposed tax package and the biennial state budget were offered. A full list of introduced bills is available on the Legislature's website.  


Public hearings began this week and committees advanced bills to the floor for debate by the full body. LB65, which would give county boards more authority over inactive townships, was advanced to General File and appears on Monday's agenda for floor debate.


Bills advanced from committees undergo three rounds of debate -- General File, Select File, and Final Reading - before being sent to the governor.


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mtgNACO Legislative Committee Meeting Set for January 30

NACO's Legislative Committee will meet on January 30 to review and take positions on 2015 legislation. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the NACO office at 1335 H Street in Lincoln. Please note the change in the starting time to 9:30.   


After brief introductory remarks, affiliate groups will meet for discussion of bills pertinent to their membership. After the groups have met, the NACO Legislative Committee will reconvene as a whole to review and take positions on the entire list of bills. All county officials are encouraged to attend or discuss areas of concern with their NACO Board representative prior to the meeting.


Because lunch will be provided, please notify the NACO office at (402)434-5660 or if you plan to attend. Because the Legislature is in session, parking around the Capitol may be limited. Public parking is not available behind the NACO office or in the MIPS lot. A parking garage is available at The Cornhusker, A Marriott Hotel at 12th and L Streets.


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probationHearings Set on Bills to Shift Probation and HHS Office Space to the State

The state would pay for the cost of office facilities used for the administration of probation and public assistance programs under two proposals that will be heard by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee next Thursday.  


Senator Mike Groene introduced LB427 at NACO's request to require the state to pay the cost for probation offices and maintenance. In FY2013-14, 79 counties provided approximately $2.3 million of office space for probation, not including the space that is provided in existing courthouses.   


Senator Kate Bolz introduced LB61 to repeal a requirement for counties to pay for rental costs or provide space to the Department of Health and Human Services for services that were provided by counties prior to those responsibilities being transferred to the state in 1983. In 2013, she introduced a similar bill, LB632, on behalf of counties. The fiscal note estimated that counties provide the equivalent of more than $3 million in office space for these programs.



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biddownTax Sale Interest Bid Down Proposed

Potential purchasers at tax sales could bid down the amount of interest they are willing to earn under a proposal by Senator Paul Schumacher. Property owners would continue to pay 14 percent interest on delinquencies and the county would receive the difference between the two rates. The bill would strike language enacted last year to describe the process of a round robin sale. The Revenue Committee will hear LB162 on January 29 at 1:30 p.m.


The committee will also hear three property tax relief bills. LB186 would create a circuit breaker to provide income tax credits for property taxes paid on homes and amounts paid by renters. The credits would vary based upon the amount paid and the owner's income. LB178 would reduce agland valuations for purposes of calculating school aid. Values would remain at 75 percent for other taxing entities. LB259 would exempt the first $25,000 of valuation of depreciable tangible personal property from taxes. Counties would be reimbursed for the taxes lost.


This week the committee heard a property tax relief proposal, LB71, which would impose a 7 percent tax on the excessive sale price of agland. The proceeds would be returned to agland owners as a property tax credit.  


The committee also heard LB74 that would increase the commission retained by counties for collecting motor vehicle sales taxes. A second sales tax collection bill, LB391, has not been set for hearing. 


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 issuesSnapshots of County Issues
Judiciary Committee Hearings

Fees for marriage licenses and certified copies of marriage licenses would increase under LB88, which was heard by the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Marriage license fees were last increased in 1995 when they went from $10 to $15. The bill would increase the fee to $50 to more closely reflect actual costs for processing marriage licenses. The proposed certified copy cost of $16 would align with the rate charged by the state.  


Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Hearings

The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee took public testimony on ten bills this week, including several of interest to counties. LB65 and LB135 would give county boards more authority over the funds held and levied by inactive townships. LB65 was advanced to the floor and will be debated on Monday.


One county board member in counties under 3,000 could participate in board meetings by telephone or video conference pursuant to LB84. The bill was offered by Senator Al Davis as a way for small governmental bodies to meet when travel would be a hardship. .


LB163 would provide for the creation of a voluntary emergency management registry. Personal information such as medical conditions or emergency contact information would be linked to a phone number and would be available to emergency operators if a 911 call was placed from that number. Several similar programs already exist throughout the state.  


LB55 would expand the kinds of emergencies for which the Adjutant General can authorize funds without approval. Legislation adopted last year authorized the expenditure of $25,000 for aerial fire and hazardous material responses. An amendment will be developed to provide clarity in the bill's language.


LB111 and LB121 would require voters to present identification at the polls. LB121 would also require a secrecy sleeve for voters casting provisional or early ballots. Both bills were heard together.



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snaphearingsSelected Hearings
Every bill introduced by the Legislature is the subject of a public hearing. Following is a schedule of bills that are of interest to counties.Note that bills not appearing on this list may be heard during the same hearing.  A complete list of hearings is available on the Legislature's website.

Monday, January 26

General Affairs Committee

Room 1015, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB241 (Stinner) Change provisions relating to conveyances of cemetery lots


Transportation and Telecommunications Committee

Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB45 (Coash) Eliminate film vehicle provisions under the Motor Vehicle Registration Act
  • LB47 (Watermeier) Change provisions relating to anatomical gifts under the Motor Vehicle Operator's License Act
  • LB220 (Smith) Provide for Nebraska 150 Sesquicentennial license plates and distribute fees
  • LB181 (Smith) Change rotating and flashing light provisions for motor vehicles

Tuesday, January 27

Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee

Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB139 (Johnson) Change and eliminate provisions relating to the Real Property Appraiser Act


Transportation and Telecommunications Committee

Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB122 (Schumacher) Change provisions relating to operation of utility-type vehicles
  • LB275 (Friesen)  Change penalties for operating a motor vehicle during a revocation period
  • LB94 (Smith) Provide for issuance of printed motor vehicle certificate of title for nonresidents as prescribed


Wednesday, January 28

Health and Human Services Committee

Room 1510, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB12 (Krist) Suspend medical assistance provided to persons who become inmates of public institutions


Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB222 (Harr) Create the Fallen Heroes Memorial Commission and provide duties
  • LB272 (Crawford) Create a voluntary veterans preference in private employment
  • LB305 (Schnoor) Allow veterans aid fund to be used for transportation costs for veterans
  • LR23 (Riepe) Urge the United States Dept. of Veterans Affairs to provide veterans with direct access to health care services in each local community in Nebraska


Natural Resources Committee

Room 1525, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB141 (Schilz) Change provisions relating to the Public Entities Mandated Project Charges Act

Thursday, January 29

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee

Room 1507, 1:30 p.m. 

  • LB61 (Bolz) Change funding for county offices relating to administration of public assistance programs
  • LB132 (Ebke) Change joint public agency bonding powers and procedures
  • LB138 (Johnson) Name the Land Surveyors Regulation Act and provide for a code of practice
  • LB427 (Groene) Provide for payment of probation office costs by the state

Health and Human Services Committee

Room 1510, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB146 (Crawford) Provide for disposition of unclaimed cremated remains in a veteran cemetery
Revenue Committee

Room 1524, 1:30 p.m.

  • LB162 (Schumacher) Change provisions relating to sales of real property for nonpayment of taxes
  • LB186 (Bolz) Adopt the Property Tax Circuit Breaker Act
  • LB178 (Watermeier) Change valuation of agricultural land and horticultural land
  • LB259 (Gloor) Adopt the Personal Property Tax Relief Act

Tuesday, February 3

Agriculture Committee

Room 2012, 1:30 p.m.

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



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