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July 1, 2016                                                                                              www.nacone.org   NACO E-Line Archive  

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AssessorsAssessors Workshop
August 22-25, 2016
Holiday Inn
Kearney 


ALL UPCOMING EVENTS
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LeRoy.Janssen@nacone.org
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AssocMembersAssociate and Sustaining Members

NACO Associate and Sustaining Members enable NACO to enhance its continuing education programs for county officials across the state. Visit NACO's complete associate and sustaining membership list here.

TopIn This Issue
wkshppicsWorkshop Pictures
Holiday Inn, Kearney, Nebraska 

The Cornhusker Marriott, Lincoln, Nebraska

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courtcostsCourt Costs and Filing Fees Updated


openmeetOpen Meetings Act Modifications
Due to modifications in the Open Meetings Act during the 2016 legislative session, NACO has once again reproduced an updated copy of the Act that can be used by your county to fulfill the requirements of Neb. Rev. Stat. 84-1412(8) that states,

Public bodies shall make available at least one current copy of the Open Meetings Act posted in the meeting room at a location accessible to members of the public.  Emphasis added.

Please be aware that NACO is not reproducing a laminated poster this year due to the cost of doing so and the frequency with which it would have to have been done, due to changes.  Since the statutory requirement was enacted in 2006, there have been 8 updates to sections of the Open Meetings Law necessitating changes to the posted material.
 
The 2016 change to the Open Meetings Act is described below:
 
LB 876(2016) revises section 84-1413(2) by eliminating a laundry list of public bodies which can use an electronic voting device.  Instead an all-encompassing phrase of "public body" is used to reflect this laundry list and others not previously included.  The language would read:  "The requirements of a roll call or viva voce vote shall be satisfied by a public body which utilizes an electronic voting device which allows the yeas and nays of each member of such public body to be readily seen by the public."  Although these changes are not substantial to counties, the Open Meetings Act requires a current copy of the Act to be posted in the meeting room of a board. See the slip law here.   
 
Counties are currently in the laundry list that can have voting boards and would also be included as a public body under the new language of LB 876.
 
Copies of the slip laws of the 2016 bills may be viewed at the Nebraska Legislature's website.  Additionally, a posted copy of the revised Act is on the NACO website too. The soon to be current copy will reflect the July 21, 2016 effective date and can be reprinted to be posted to comply with the Act's requirements..   
 
We hope you find this information beneficial.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Elaine Menzel.
 
You are encouraged to relay this information to other county officials and public bodies, including county entities, within your county so that they can update their Open Meetings Act information as well.  Lastly, it is suggest you discuss this issue with your county attorney if you have not already done so.

supremeSupreme Court Proposes Updates to Nebraska Courts
Supreme Court Proposes Update to Nebraska Courts Facility Planning Guidelines & Standards

The comment period ends Monday, August 1, 2016 for an update to Nebraska Courts Facility Planning Guidelines & Standards.  View a copy of the proposed document.

usarmy US Army Corps of Engineering Requesting Comments for New Permits 
Nationwide Permit Reissuance Request for Comments
 
On June 1, 2016, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers published in the Federal Register its proposal to reissue the 50 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and issue two new NWPs.

Nationwide permits are general permits issued on a nationwide basis to streamline the authorization of activities that result in no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects. 

To review the existing permits and to determine how changes may affect your engineering, planning and development process, click here on the Public Notice provided by the Omaha District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Comments on the proposed NWPs are due by August 1, 2016.

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DHHSplanDHHS Releases Business Plan
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Releases Business Plan

About a week ago, Governor Ricketts and DHHS CEO Courtney Phillips released the DHHS Business Plan that will guide the agency's work through June 30, 2017.  It includes 25 priority initiatives, grouped within five major categories that span the work of DHHS, and
will result in real improvements, sustain current progress, and help Nebraskans live better lives.

While not an all Inclusive list, goals within the priority plans are related to Medicaid, veterans, behavioral health and juveniles.

View the DHHS Business Plan

juvdefNew Definitions Released By Juvenile Services Probation Administration
New Definitions Released by Probation for Comments
 
The Office of Probation Administration - Juvenile Services Division announced a public comment period until Saturday, July 30, 2016 for new and updated Juvenile Services Definitions.

View the Juvenile Service Definitions.  

crimecommCrime Commission to Distribute Funds to County Jails After Hearing
The Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice will hold a rule-making hearing pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. Sec. 84-907 on the 22nd day of July, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. in the Nebraska State Office Building, Lower Level A, Lincoln, Nebraska.  This relates to the $500,000 County Reinvestment Program that was created by the Legislature last year.

The purpose of the hearing is to take testimony and evidence about adoption of a new regulation, Title 74, Chapter 1, entitled County Justice Reinvestment Grant Program.  the Nebraska Legislature recently adopted LB 605 (2015) codified as Neb. Rev. Stat. Sec. 81-1426.01 which, in part, appropriates funds for distribution to county jails in order to offset increased costs incurred by those jails as a result of changes in custodial sanctions used by Probation and sentencing of felony IV convictions.  The proposed regulation will establish the County Justice Reinvestment Grant Program in order to implement this portions of Sec. 81-1426.01.  Specifically, the proposed regulation establishes the criteria and procedures for funding eligibility, applications, acceptance of funds, appeals, and reporting requirements.

Draft or working copies of the proposed rule are available at the offices of the Secretary of Stat, Regulations Division, Room 343, State Capitol, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509.  The Fiscal Impact Statement may be inspected and obtained at the Nebraska Crime Commission, 301 Centennial Mall South, P.O. Box 94946, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509.

All interested persons may attend and testify orally or by written submission at the hearing.  Interested persons may also submit written comments prior to the hearing, which will be made part of the hearing record at the time of the hearing if received by the Nebraska Crime Commission on or before July 22, 2016.  If auxiliary aids or reasonable accommodations are needed to participate in the hearing, please call the Crime Commission, (402) 471-2194, no later than July 1, 2016.

The Title 74, Chapter 1 regulation proposal can be reviewed here.

AgmatrixDepartment of Ag Livestock Siting Assessment Matrix Up for Review
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture released a draft copy of the livestock siting assessment matrix for review and comments.  More information about the matrix can be viewed here
 
Comments on the matrix must be submitted by July 31, 2016 by email to  agr.webmaster@nebraska.gov or by mail to: Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Att'n. Steve Roth, 301 Centennial Mall, South 4th Floor, Lincoln, NE 68509.

Share this information with other members of your board, planning commissions, if applicable, and others interested in zoning-related issues.
 
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact; 
 
Elaine Menzel
Legal Counsel
Nebraska Association of County Officials (NACO)
1335 H Street
Lincoln, NE   68508
Phone - 402.434.5660, ext. 225
Fax - 402.434.5673
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mipsbytesLegal Line
Editor's Note: Legal Line is a feature that will periodically appear in NACO E-Line. This edition has been prepared by Elaine Menzel of the NACO legal staff. Legal Line is not intended to serve as legal advice. Rather, it is published to alert readers to court decisions and legal or advisory matters important to county government. For a specific opinion on how the information contained in this article or that which will be discussed in future issues relates to your county, consult your county attorney or personal counsel.
 
New Overtime Rules Take Effect Thursday,
December 1, 2016

The overtime provisions within the Fair Labor Standards Act apply to public agencies, including counties. In 2014, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to update the overtime regulations. The Department of Labor issued a final rule at the end of May 2016 that will enable most salaried white collar workers earning less than $913 a week ($47,476 a year) to overtime pay. See 29 CFR 541.600  The last increase to the overtime rule was in 2004.

As stated by the U.S. Department of Labor, the new rule is intended to:
  • Put more money into the pockets of many middle class workers - or give them more free time.
  • Prevent a future erosion of overtime protections and ensure greater predictability.
  • Strengthen overtime protections for salaried workers already entitled to overtime and provide greater clarity for workers and employers.
  • Improve work-life balance.
  • Increase employment by spreading work.
  • Improve workers' health; and
  • Increase productivity.
In addition to raising the salary threshold for most white collar workers, the rule updates the total annual compensation level above which most white collar workers (Highly Compensated Employees - HCE) will be ineligible for overtime -- $100,000 to $134,004 a year. The salary threshold amount will be automatically adjusted every three years beginning in January 1, 2020. The estimate is $51,168 in 2020. The Department will post new salary levels 150 days in advance of their effective date which is August 1, 2019 for the first adjustment. Another change relates to bonuses, incentive payments and commissions by allowing up to 10 percent of the salary threshold for non-HCE employees to be met by non-discretionary bonuses, incentive pay, or commissions, provided such payments are made on a quarterly basis.

Importantly the new rule does not make any changes to the "duties test" to determine whether workers are subject to the overtime provisions. It is likely that the relevance of the duties test will be lessened due to the increase in the salary portion of the analysis due and the number of individuals receiving less than $913 a week ($47,476 a year).

Suggestions by the Department for employers to utilize in response to the new overtime rule are:
  • Pay time-and-a-half for overtime work,
  • Raise workers' salaries above the new threshold,
  • Limit workers' hours to 40 per week, or
  • Some combination of the above.
Additional information on the new rule, including guidance and the Final Rule, can be found here.

 
Duties Test

As stated earlier, provisions of the duties test remain unchanged; however, the salary for consideration is increased. Likely, additional evaluation of the tests for the employee's position will be unnecessary due to the salary level increase. Employees subject to the salary level test earning less than $913 per week ($47,476 a year) will not qualify for the executive, administrative or professional exemption and thus qualify for overtime regardless of other factors related to their job duties and responsibilities. The exemptions from Section 13(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of both minimum wage and overtime pay are for employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative and professional employees. To qualify for these exemptions certain tests must first be met. As summarized by the U.S. Department of Labor, following is a brief overview of these exemptions with the new salary test incorporated.

Executive Exemption

As of December 1, 2016, all the following must be met to obtain the executive employee exemption (the salary test portion of the analysis is the modification):
  • Employee must be compensated at a rate not less than $913 per week ($47,476 per year);
  • Employee's primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;
  • Employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and
  • Employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or the employee's suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight.
Administrative Exemption

To qualify for this exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
  • Employee must be compensated at a rate not less than $913 per week ($47,476 per year);
  • Employee's primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer's customers; and
  • Employee's primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.
Professional Exemption

To qualify for the learned professional exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
  • Employee must be compensated at a rate not less than $913 per week ($47,476 per year);
  • Employee's primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work which is predominantly intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment;
  • The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.
To qualify for the creative professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:
  • Employee must be compensated at a rate not less than $913 per week ($47,476 per year);
  • Employee's primary duty must be the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.
In addition to the above discussed provisions, there are a number of provisions that pertain specifically to state and local governments. Additional information on the current and new overtime rule is available here.
  
A fact sheet on provisions pertaining to state and local government is available here.

For additional information from the National Association of Counties (NACo), on the new DOL overtime rule, click here.  
 
Countygovernementdaycd County Government Day PowerPoint
The PowerPoint presentation is available electronically at no charge (sent via e-mail) for use by counties during their annual County Government Day. The PowerPoint provides a comprehensive look at county government functions in the State of Nebraska and can be customized by each county. CD's are also available for $10.00 each to cover processing, shipping and handling. To request the County Government Day PowerPoint electronically, please e-mail your request to larrydix@nacone.org. The CD order form is available here.

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NACO's 2015 Directory of County Officials is a valuable resource that not only gives you names, addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail addresses of every county official in the state, but includes a listing of county board meeting days, NACO districts, county seats, NACO officers and directors, affiliate officers and NACO staff.

As of  January 2016, NACO will no longer print the hard copy of the directory and send one to each county.  The directory has been made a part of the NACO website through a clickable and searchable icon and will be updated as corrections are submitted. The directory on the website is downloadable for a printed copy and it can also be transferred electronically to office computers and devices with memory storage such as smartphones and ipads.

For a copy of the latest 2015 directory, click here for the order form.

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County_Board_Handbook_2012 2015 County Board  Handbook and Revisions
The 2015 County Board Handbook and related revisions are now available! The cost for a current handbook, including legislative information from the 2015 session, is $80.00/book plus $18.00 shipping and handling per book. The 2015 Supplement to the County Board Handbook is available for $25.00 plus $5.00 shipping and handling. The order form is available on the NACO website. For questions, contact Elaine Menzel by email or call her at (402) 434-5660 ext. 225.

News From NACo

Join county officials, experts from the private and nonprofit sectors and other leaders from across the country in Los Angeles County, Calif. for the 2016 NACo Annual Conference and Exposition. 

 
 
nacowebNACo Webinars
State and Local Legal Center Supreme Court Review
for State and Local Government

Jul. 19, 2016 , 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm CDT

Contact; 
 Akera Gamble (202) 942-4225
 AGamble@naco.org
From immigration to abortion and bribery to retaliation the Supreme Court's term has been interesting for state and local government. In the State and Local Legal Center annual webinar discuss where the Court landed on the big issues and what state and local governments need to do next with Erin Murphy, Bancroft, Quin Sorenson, Sidley Austin, and Brent Kendall, Wall Street Journal.

(NACo is a founder, board member and funds the State and Local Legal Center, headquartered in Washington, D.C.  SLLC extends NACo's advocacy on behalf of counties to the nation's highest court.)
 
Nebraska Association of County Officials
1335 H Street | Lincoln, NE 68508 | 402-434-5660