January 22, 2016                                                                        Legislative Report Archive 

In This Issue



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debateBill Introductions Conclude, Carryover Debate Continues
Senators finished introducing new bills on Wednesday, the tenth day of the session. Public hearings on the 446 new proposals began on Tuesday and will continue through March 4. A full list of introduced bills is available on the Legislature's website. A hearing schedule is available as well.
Priority bill designations have begun and will continue until mid-February. A list of priority bills is available on the Legislature's website.

Debate on LB113, a bill to allow county jails and state correctional facilities to charge a $10 copayment for self-initiated medical visits was bracketed until April 20. When the session convened on Tuesday, senators expected several hours of debate on the bill until a cloture vote could be taken. Instead, Senator Tyson Larson asked to have the bill bracketed, effectively removing it from consideration.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, senators debated a carryover bill to require meningococcal vaccines for young people. After six hours of debate, a cloture motion failed and LB18 was pulled from the agenda. Senators debated on LB176 which deals with the restriction on packers owning swine at the production stages. A cloture vote was successful this morning and the bill advanced from Select File. Senators ended the week debating a motion to recommit LB269 to the Judiciary Committee. LB269 would prevent cities and villages from enacting ordinances to prevent the carrying of concealed weapons. 

commtgNACO Legislative Committee Meeting Set for January 29

NACO's Legislative Committee will meet on January 29 to review and take positions on 2016 legislation. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the NACO office at 1335 H Street in Lincoln in the conference room on the second floor at the rear of the building.  


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. Although the Legislature will be in recess, 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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juvenileJuvenile Justice Bills Heard by Judiciary Committee
On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee heard a series of bills addressing various aspects of juvenile justice.
LB709 is described as primarily a "code clean-up" bill. It would provide a definition for "alternatives to detention" that aligns with national best practices. It would move references to "staff secure placement" from Chapter 83 and would place it in lists of terms within the juvenile code.

LB673 would change provisions relating to appointments of guardians ad litem. It would allow county boards the flexibility to create internal guardian ad litem (GAL) divisions. If a county board chooses to create an internal GAL division, the juvenile court would be required to appoint from this division unless a conflict of interest exists in representation. In addition, LB 673 would provide county boards the authority over the rates and fees paid for attorney services. Douglas County requested introduction of the bill.
LB675 would provide that secure confinement could only be used as a last resort emergency measure when a child presents a significant risk of harm to the community or a significant risk to flee the jurisdiction and avoid court processes. The bill is intended to align Nebraska's law with national best practices regarding youth who pose little or no threat to public safety.
LB845 would require reporting the length of time youth are subject to solitary confinement, or "room confinement" at juvenile facilities and adult correctional facilities. Room confinements over two hours could only occur with a supervisor's approval and confinements over three hours would require approval from the head of the facility. A recent ACLU of Nebraska report found a wide range of policies and practices on juvenile room confinement across the state.
LB894 would define the rights for court-appointed counsel for juveniles and require the Nebraska Supreme Court to develop guidelines for attorneys who practice in juvenile court. If a juvenile could not afford an attorney, the county would pay for the appointed attorney.
The committee has not reported action on the bills.
snapSnapshots of County Issues
Every bill introduced in the Nebraska Legislature is given a public hearing by a committee. Each senator is assigned to one or more committees. Following is a summary of discussion at selected committee hearings this week.

Revenue Committee Hearings
LB725 would exempt utility easements from filing requirements for real estate transfer statements, commonly referred to as a Form 521. Since the forms were revised to include a checkbox for easements in 2013, there have been questions about whether 521's are required for all easements, including those that are of limited duration or that do not appear to affect the value of the property. NACO and county officials testified in support of the bill, while suggesting, along with introducer Senator Paul Schumacher, that the exemption could be expanded to all easements. Registers of deeds questioned whether utility easements that would not be subject to Form 521's under the bill could be identified as such at the time of filing. Revenue Committee members discussed whether an easement should be considered a deed because the transfer of rights in an easements could affect the property. The bill remains in committee.
LB777 would require county treasurers to accept partial payments of property taxes. Existing law allows counties, by resolution of the county board, to create a plan for accepting minimum, limited, or periodic partial payments and the execution of an escrow agreement between the person making payments and the county treasurer. Currently some counties have developed successful partial payment programs and others refuse to accept partial payments. Revenue Committee members discussed software costs associated with changes to a mandatory system and the possible cash flow impacts if a large number of taxpayers began to make partial payments. LB777 remains in committee.

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Hearings
LB695 would provide clarity to sanitary and improvement district (SID) elections. Unlike typical one person, one vote elections, ballots in SID elections are distributed based on residency, properties held, and other factors. Recently a voter received three ballots in an SID election and returned them in the same envelope. Because SID election laws do not address this issue, the ballots were treated like ballots received under the Election Act and rejected because they were not returned in the appropriate return envelope. LB695, which was introduced by Senator Sue Crawford, would specifically require SID ballots to be returned in their return envelope and require rejection if more than one ballot is returned in a single envelope. No one testified in opposition to the bill and the committee advanced it to General File.
LB682 would move deadlines for early voting ballots to reflect longer US Postal Service delivery times. In most counties, closures of mail processing facilities have delayed next-day in-town mail delivery so that it takes two days or longer. LB682 would change the deadline by which a voter can request an early voting ballot from 4 p.m. on the Wednesday before the election to the second Friday before the election. In addition, ballots in a special election could be mailed 22 days, rather than 20, prior to the election.
LB741 would clarify electioneering prohibitions within 200 feet of polling places. The bill would allow a person to display yard signs on private property within 200 feet of a polling place or building designated for voters to cast ballots if the property is not under common ownership with the property on which the polling place or building is located. Committee members discussed several scenarios for yard signs near election offices, which are considered polling places during office hours for early voting. The Secretary of State's office testified in opposition to the bill.

Natural Resources Committee
LB672 would eliminate the $1 fee charged on the sale of new tires sold at retail and on new vehicles sold in Nebraska. The fees are deposited in the Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Fund which provides scrap tire grants. Between 2012 and 2015, counties received more than $1.1 million in these grants to help host amnesty days to collect scrap tires that might otherwise have ended up in road ditches or waterways. Senator Bob Krist, who introduced the bill, and testifiers encouraged the Natural Resources Committee to study the issue, including feasibility of continuing the fee, changing the rate, and developing tire recycling businesses in Nebraska.

Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
License plates on farm trucks and trailers in Douglas, Lancaster, and Sarpy counties would become alphanumeric under LB811. When legislation was adopted in 1999 to change these three counties from the county number system to an alphanumeric system, farm trucks and trailers were not included and remained on the county number system. The change would allow these counties to share plates, thereby reducing waste and eliminating confusion among other numbered plate types.

newNew Bills of Interest to Counties
A number of the bills introduced this week have an impact on counties. Some of these include:

County Operations
  • LB1024 (Larson) Change a provision of the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act relating to an interest in a government contract
  • LB1031 (Hansen) Change the levy authority of railroad transportation safety districts
  • LB1044 (Ebke) Terminate the Commission of Industrial Relations

  • LB1107 (Garrett) Create the Nebraska Election System Initiative

Justice/Law Enforcement/Courts
  • LB1023 (Ebke) Require development of treatment protocols for and a needs assessment of committed offenders and correctional facilities
  • LB1034 (Campbell) Change provisions relating to the Nebraska Children's Commission. Add juvenile justice responsibilities
  • LB1054 (Hilkemann) Change provisions relating to the DNA Identification Information Act
  • LB1055 (Chambers) Open grand jury proceedings to the public as prescribed and change procedures in cases of death during apprehension by law enforcement officers or while in custody
  • LB1079 (Pansing Brooks) Redefine law enforcement agency and change provisions relating to law enforcement officer jurisdiction
  • LB1090 (Hansen) Require notification of law enforcement by the Nebraska State Patrol of denials of handgun certificates as prescribed
  • LB1106 (Garrett) Change civil forfeiture provisions as prescribed
  • LB1108 (Garrett) Require reporting to the Auditor of Public Accounts and the Legislature regarding civil forfeiture proceedings
Property Tax
  • LB1037(Brasch) Change property tax provisions relating to agricultural land and horticultural land
  • LB1042 (Friesen) Change provisions relating to tax-increment financing
  • LB1063 (Sullivan) Change provisions relating to state aid to schools

hrgschedCommittee Hearing Schedule for Next Week
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 25
Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee
Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB729 (Johnson) Change provisions of the Real Property Appraiser Act
  • LB731 (Johnson) Change provisions relating to the Real Property Appraiser Act 

Transportation and Telecommunication Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB785 (Friesen) Change provisions relating to the Motor Vehicle Operator's License Act
Tuesday, January 26
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB765 (Garrett) Increase original certificate of title fees for vehicles transferred to Nebraska from another state or country
  • LB918 (Murante) Provide for the redistribution of motor vehicle taxes as prescribed
Urban Affairs Committee
Room 1510, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB875 (Murante) Change conditions for approval of a planned unit development for certain second-class cities and villages
  • LB948 (Morfeld ) Change an application period limitation for the designation of enterprise zones as prescribed
  • LB864 (Crawford) Change provisions relating to a municipality requesting additional extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction

Wednesday, January 27
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB827 (Harr) Allow county treasurers to receive fees for services rendered to sanitary and improvement districts
  • LB784 (Friesen) Change provisions relating to deficit expenditures by county boards
  • LB807 (Williams) Allow counties of all sizes to waive quarterly reports by county attorneys

Judiciary Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB937 (Ebke) Eliminate a prohibition on marriage of persons with venereal disease

Thursday, January 28
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB787 (Morfeld) Allow a voter to photograph and reveal a marked ballot
  • LB879 (Murante) Change signature requirements for partisan candidates

Judiciary Committee

Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB693 (Morfeld) Change limitation of action provisions under the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act

Friday, January 29 -- Legislature is in Recess

Monday, February 1
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB927 (Hilkemann) Change provisions relating to surcharges for 911 service
  • LB938 (Smith) Adopt the 911 Service System Act and transfer funds from the Enhanced Wireless 911 Fund to the 911 Service System Fund
  • LB977 (Smith) Change provisions relating to implements of husbandry on highways
  • LB900 (Bloomfield) Change motorcycle and moped helmet provisions, motorcycle registration fees, rename the Health Advisory Board, and create the brain injury services program and a fund

Tuesday, February 2

Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB989 (Murante) Change provisions relating to motor vehicles

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