September 23, 2016                                                                          NACO E-Line Archive  

Upcoming Events

Save the Dates For: 

11 th Annual NACO Legislative Conference
October 13th
     Holthus Convention Center,
     York, Nebraska
122nd Annual Conference
December 14-16
   Younes Conference Center
   Kearney, Nebraska



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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
legconfNACO Legislative Conference is Open for Registration

New Venue!
Exciting Program!
Check It Out!
Only Two Weeks Left To Register!

The 11th Annual NACO Legislative Conference is open for registration.  The morning and afternoon speakers have been confirmed to be in attendance and the event is scheduled to be held at the Holthus Conference Center in York, Nebraska on October 13th from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The registration deadline is October 7th!  After that date the registration fee is increased $15 and goes up to $65 from the early fee of $50.  Register today!

Two Nebraska state senators are slated to speak to the group during the day.  Senator Curt Friesen from York will review the 2016 legislative session and preview the 2017 session in the morning and Senator Mark Kolterman from Wahoo will deliver his perspective on health care cost and retirement issues.  Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican and State Court Administrator Corey Steel will finish the morning discussing the relationship of Nebraska's court system and how it impacts county government.  NACo Program Manager, Katy Rowings will also be in attendance to speak on using county dollars wisely in corrections and pretrial services in re-entry initiatives.

The agenda can be viewed on the NACO webpage or by clicking here.

For those traveling to the event and are in need of an overnight stay, the Hampton Inn in York has guaranteed a single room rate of $80.00 per night.  At least two weeks prior to the conference is needed to process direct billing to the counties if interested.

annualconfAnnual Conference Registration Opens
NACO's 122nd Annual Conference will be held December 14th - December 16th at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney, Nebraska. 

Registration has been opened on the NACO website and  county officials
are encouraged to register at this time.  A general activities agenda may be found by clicking here.  More specific agendas will be posted on the website as they become available from the participating member groups.

Governor Pete Ricketts (Center) addresses the County Bridge Match Program press conference. Flanking Governor Ricketts from left to right are Saunders County Highway Superintendent, Steve Mika, Hall County Engineer, Steve Riehle, Nebraska Department of Roads Director Kyle Schneweis and Sarpy County Engineer, Denny Wilson.

At 10:30 on Tuesday, September 20th Governor Pete Ricketts was joined by Nebraska Department of Roads Director, Kyle Schneweis and members of the county bridge match program working group in the Governor's hearing room at the state capitol to unveil the selection criteria for participation in the program.  NACO Executive Director, Larry Dix and several county highway superintendents  and engineers have also participated in this project.  This program was created through the Transportation Innovation Act, one of the governor's top initiatives passed during the recent legislative session.  $40 million dollars is expected to be spent on bridge improvements across the state of Nebraska.  It was noted that bridge projects will be identified in the next couple of months, funding will be allocated and bridge improvements will begin as weather will allow in the spring of 2017.

Kyle Schneweis, Steve Riehle, Hall County Engineer and Denny Wilson, Sarpy County Engineer all stressed the importance of the working group concept and delivering service to Nebraska counties in a cooperative and collaborative effort that produces the most efficiency. 

NACO is in receipt of a formal letter stating the pre-application period for counties and municipalities wishing to apply for grants from the Nebraska Internet Enhancement Fund (NIEF) that opened September 1.

The NIEF, established in 2001 by the Nebraska Legislature, uses a share of the proceeds from public entities that lease dark fiber optics to fund grants for projects to install infrastructure to deliver broadband or other advanced telecommunications products throughout the state. The grants focus on areas of the state that are unserved or underserved by such services. The standard amount awarded to successful grant applicants is $50,000.

The letter in its entirety can be viewed by clicking here.

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opioidconferNebraska's Response to Opioid Use

The Dr. Stanley M. and Dorothy Truhlsen Campus Events Center
University of Nebraska Medical Center
619 S 42nd Street
Omaha, NE
Friday, October 14, 2016   |   7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, our nation is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. In 2014, more people died from drug overdoses than in any other year with majority of those overdose deaths involving an opioid. Data from the Centers for Disease Control show that since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin) nearly quadrupled, and over 165,000 people have died from prescription opioid overdoses. The Nebraska Attorney General, in collaboration with UNMC and the U.S. Attorney's office are developing a unified approach between the law enforcement and medical communities operating in Nebraska regarding the prevention and treatment of both prescription and illicit opioid abuse in our state. At the conclusion of this conference, our goal is to answer two questions:
  • How do we reduce the incidence of prescription opioid abuse and expand treatment for those addicted?
  • How do those in law enforcement and healthcare cooperatively design and execute programs to reduce and appropriately treat opioid addictions?

Registration and Conference Information

Download Agenda


LeginterimLegislature Schedules Interim Study Hearings

Although the 2017 legislative session won't begin until January, senators and staff are working on new legislation during the interim.  Resolutions proposing interim studies are offered during the session to examine new ideas for legislation and to dig deeper into issues raised by previously-introduced bills. Public hearings are held on some of the priority issues selected by each legislative committee, including the topics that are of interest to counties.  County officials are encouraged to attend the hearings and provide testimony. Unlike hearings during the legislative session, testifiers do not need to take a position in support or opposition to the issue, but are simply asked to provide input.  Many of the hearings will be live-streamed by Nebraska Educational Television and can be accessed through the Legislature's website.

September 28
Task Force on Behavioral and Mental Health
State Capitol, Room 1524, 1:30 p.m.
Hearing of the LR413 Task Force on Behavioral and Mental Health
Open to the public, invited testimony only

September 30
Department of Correctional Services Special Investigative Committee (LR34)
State Capitol, Room 1113, 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
LR34 Hearing on overcrowding within the Department of Corrections
Open to the public, invited testimony only

October 11
General Affairs Committee
State Capitol, Room 1510, 1:00 p.m.
LR567 (Pansing Brooks) Interim study to examine and review the sale of alcohol in Whiteclay and the need for additional funding for law enforcement
Interim Study Details

October 13
Health and Human Services Committee
State Capitol, Room 1510, 1:00 p.m.
LR529 (Howard) Interim study to examine the ongoing implementation of the federal Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 and related state law and policy
Interim Study Details

LR513 (Howard) Interim study to examine workforce issues within the child welfare and juvenile justice systems
Invited testimony only
October 14
Agriculture Committee
State Capitol, Room 1524, 1:45 p.m.
LR498 (Johnson) Interim study to examine the Nebraska Right to Farm Act
10:00 a.m.
LR612 (Agriculture Committee) Interim study to examine issues under the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Committee. Note:  Review Auditor Report for the Nebraska Brand Committee (Open to the public, invited testimony only)
Interim Study Details

Health and Human Services Committee
State Capitol, Room 1510, 9:00 a.m.
Special hearing - Presentation of Alzheimer's State Plan
LR507 (Davis) Interim study to examine the development of a public notification system to broadcast alerts when vulnerable adults go missing
Interim Study Details

October 19
Health and Human Services Committee
State Capitol, Room 1510, 1:00 p.m.
LR514 (Bolz) Interim study to examine the availability of transition services for youth who will leave or have left the juvenile justice system while in an out-of-home placement
Invited testimony only 
Interim Study Details 

October 21  
Legislature's Planning Committee
State Capitol, Room 1003, 9:00 a.m.
Presentation of Planning Committee Policy Briefs - Agricultural land valuation systems in neighboring states
Open to the public, invited testimony only. This hearing will not be live-streamed through the Nebraska Legislature's website.

Business and Labor Committee
State Capitol, Room 2102, 1:30 p.m.
LR533 (Bolz) Interim study to examine promoting career education and training that can lead to job readiness for middle-skill jobs
LR512 (Business and Labor Committee) Interim study to examine the Commission of Industrial Relations
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
State Capitol, Room 1113, 10:00 a.m.
LR539 (Smith) Interim study to examine whether the One-Call Notification System Act should be updated
November 4
Appropriations and Revenue Committees
State Capitol, Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
Tax Expenditure Report from the Department of Revenue

November 15
Health and Human Services and Judiciary Committees
State Capitol, Room 1113, 1:00 pm.
LR523 (Howard) Interim study to examine Nebraska law regarding the protection of children who have reached eighteen years of age but have not yet reached the age of majority
Invited testimony only
Interim Study Details

November 16
Appropriations Committee
State Capitol, Room1524, 1:30 p.m.
LR517 (Howard) Interim study to examine the long-term fiscal sustainability of the Nebraska Health Care Cash Fund
Interim Study Details

LR588 (Harr) Interim study to determine best practices in drafting tax legislation and determining the fiscal impact of tax policies
November 22
Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee
State Capitol, Room 1525, 9:00 a.m.
LR483 (Kolterman) Interim study to examine the public employees retirement systems administered by the Public Employees Retirement Board
LR571 (Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee) Interim study to examine local political subdivision retirement plans for public employees

December 2
Urban Affairs Committee
State Capitol, Room 1510, 1:30 p.m.
LR490 (Crawford) Interim study to examine the enforcement of state and local building codes
Interim Study Details

NACO makes every effort possible to keep abreast of changing legislation as it may have an effect on county government.  The NACO E-line will also make every effort to report any interim study hearing notices that become available in future publications.

The Nebraska Legislature has released its Tentative 2017 Legislative Calendar.  At the beginning of the 2017 session, the newly elected Speaker will publish the permanent session calendar, which may differ from the tentative calendar.
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.

Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Case Considered by the Supreme Court
In Funk v. Lincoln-Lancaster Cty. Crime Stoppers, 294 Neb. 715, --- N.W. 2d (2016), the court considered a case where an individual's images from an automated teller machine (ATM) had been placed on a city/county Crime Stoppers portraying the plaintiff as a crook. The lower court found in plaintiff's favor and the City appealed that decision.
As stated by the Court, "In actions brought pursuant to the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act, the factual findings of the trial court will not be disturbed on appeal unless clearly wrong;however, questions of law are reviewed independently of the decision reached by the court below. Whether a communication is privileged by reason of its character or the occasion on which it was made is a question of law, which an appellate court resolves independently of the determination reached by the court below. "
The City asserted the lower court erred on five overall issues, including:  
  • Qualified privilege - the district court found that the privilege did not apply because some of the recipients of the communication where located outside of the city and did not have an interest in solving crime outside of the community. Although the Supreme Court utilized different reasoning than the lower court, it agreed with the district court. The Supreme Court found that the officer had not made any inquiries about the video and instead relied entirely on unverified representations made by the bank. Thus, the defamatory statement was made without reasonable or probable grounds for believing it to be true.
  • Neb. Rev. Stat. §25-840.01 - the city's next assignment of error related to the district court's finding that the publication was prompted by actual malice and its award of damages to plaintiff.   The Supreme Court concluded that the failure to request a retraction under § 25-840.01 constitutes an affirmative defense which must be raised prior to trial. Since the City failed to raise such defense, the Court found that it does not apply and that plaintiff is entitled to general damages.
  • Facebook - the City contended that the district court's finding that the Facebook post was defamatory was incorrect because the person depicted in the photograph was unidentifiable. The Court stated,
"Although the Facebook photograph depicts only [plaintiff's] torso,the page links viewers to the post on the Crime Stoppers Website,where the full image can be seen. The City admits that the post on the Crime Stoppers Web site is defamatory. It is self-evident that regardless of whether the Facebook post is defamatory, the posting of the link on Facebook increased the readership of the post on the Crime Stoppers Web site and likewise the harm to [plaintiff's] reputation
  • Damages - plaintiff was awarded damages of $259,217.60, with $75,000 of the amount being owed jointly and severally with Crime Stoppers. The City asserted the damages were improper as they were based on speculation and conjecture. Additionally, the City argued the injunctive relief was improper since it had not been requested by plaintiff. The Supreme Court upheld the damages portion; however, reversed the award of injunctive relief.
  • False light -  - lastly, the City claimed that the district court erred in overruling its motion for a directed verdict for the violation of privacy by false light claim.The basis of the City's argument was that a statement alleged to be both defamatory and a false light invasion of privacy is subsumed within the defamation claim and is not separately actionable. The Court concluded to constitute a reversible error in a civil case, a trial court's admission or exclusion of evidence must unfairly prejudice a substantial right of the litigant complaining about the ruling. Here, the City failed to show how this ruling unfairly prejudiced the City and it appeared that the district court attempted to award damages for one cause of action - defamation.
For the full text of the opinion, click here.
It is recommended to obtain a fuller understanding of the case, you consult your county attorney or a privately retained attorney.
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 . 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 Revision s
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


Robert Boyd, commissioner of Riley County, Kan., testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Small Business on the economic challenges facing rural counties. Boyd noted that national and statewide statistics often mask on-the-ground realities.
Citing indicators measured in NACo's County Economies report, Boyd said, "Only 7 percent of county economies have fully recovered to pre-recession levels."
Boyd also emphasized the need for improved collaboration and flexibility from our intergovernmental partners at the federal and state levels.
If we can achieve that, he said, "We can continue to provide the public services and basic infrastructure needed for economic growth and prosperity."

Mr. Boyd's testimony can be viewed by clicking here.  Other resources can be found here.
nacowebNACo Webinars
Leadership Development Series:
Understanding Integrity and Civility

September 28 - 3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. CDT
Leadership Development Series: Integrity and Civility as a Practice 

October 19 - 3:00 p.m. - 4:15 CDT
Leadership Development Series: The Pitfalls of Decision Making


Nebraska Association of County Officials
1335 H Street | Lincoln, NE 68508 | 402-434-5660