Bills Advanced from General File
A number of bills were advanced from General File (first round) debate this week.
County officials would no longer need to approve and certify the list of volunteers serving as active emergency responders, rescue squad members, or volunteer firefighters who qualify for a $250 income tax credit. Instead, under
, the certification manager from the volunteer's fire or rescue department would file the information directly with the Department of Revenue and send a copy of the list, either by mail or electronically, to the governing body of the county, city, village, or rural or suburban fire district. The volunteer would claim the credit by including a copy of the certification with their income tax return. The bill would become operative on January 1, 2020.
would recognize the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act (PACE) as an economic development tool. The bill would set minimum and maximum periods of time that energy efficiency improvements could be financed by a municipality through a PACE district. An Urban Affairs Committee amendment that was adopted before the bill advanced would eliminate retroactivity provisions in the bill as introduced and would allow municipalities to waive requirements for energy savings to exceed the cost of the project.
, as amended, would create new wildlife conservation specialty license plates supporting sandhill cranes, bighorn sheep, and ornate box turtles. The distribution of proceeds between the Department of Motor Vehicles Cash Fund and the Highway Trust Fund would be standardized among types of specialty plates. The Department of Motor Vehicles would be allowed to cease issuance of certain specialty plates at the next issuance cycle if fewer than 250 plates were issued during the prior two-year period.
would make corrections to like-kind exchange laws adopted last year. Last year's laws were intended to retain Nebraska's tax policy allowing the exchange of similar kinds of equipment despite new federal tax cut laws. However, further revisions were needed this year to clarify the process.
would help speed up construction of the south beltway around Lincoln by authorizing the use of a build-finance method that would allow the Department of Transportation to make payments to the builder rather than issuing bonds.
would change residency requirements for spouses and children of active duty military personnel who are assigned to duty outside of Nebraska. The bill would allow postsecondary students to be considered as in-state residents for purposes of determining tuition rates.
would require the contents of commercial motor vehicles and trailers to be properly distributed and adequately secured to prevent cargo from falling out of the vehicle. Violations would be an infraction and could be subject to civil penalties.
Bills Advanced from Select File
Senators advanced the following bills from Select File by a voice vote on Wednesday.
, as advanced from Select File, would harmonize publication deadlines in the County Budget Act and other budget sections to match requirements in the Nebraska Budget Act. When the Nebraska Budget Act was amended in 2017 to require publication of each governing body's proposed budget statement at least four calendar days, rather than five days, prior to the date of the hearing, several related sections were omitted. Language to harmonize these omitted sections was introduced in LB239 and LB191 and incorporated into LB212 by a Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee amendment. Other sections of the bill would expand the use of video and telephone conferencing by certain public entities that are already permitted to conduct meetings by those methods.
is a proposed constitutional amendment that would extend the duration of tax increment financing (TIF) projects by five years in extremely blighted areas. Existing provisions limit TIF projects to 15 years. LR14CA would allow cities and villages to pledge taxes for up to 20 years if more than half of the property in the project area is designated as extremely blighted. An amendment was adopted to limit the designation of extremely blighted to areas with a high rate of unemployment combined with a high poverty rate as determined by law. The issue would appear on the November 2020 ballot.
would require agreements between schools and law enforcement agencies with officers serving as school resources officers (SROs). The parties would need a memorandum of understanding (MOU) delineating their roles and responsibilities. A sample agreement would be developed by the Department of Education. School districts would have to provide a copy of the MOU to the Department or post it on the district's website. The MOU would require each school resource officer or security guard and one school administrator to attend a minimum of 20 hours of training specific to school law, behavior, de-escalation techniques, and awareness of adolescent issues. Records would need to be maintained on student referrals for prosecution from SROs, including demographic information. The MOU would need to identify school policies about when parents would be notified, when a student would be advised of their constitutional rights, and other issues.
would track the testimony of jailhouse informants who provide statements about others in an effort to get their sentences reduced. When a suspect or defendant is charged with a felony, prosecutor's offices would undertake measurers to maintain a searchable record of cases when trial testimony is offered against a suspect's or defendant's interest or an informant's statement is used to obtain a criminal conviction. Benefits requested by or offered or provided to an informant in connection with the testimony or statement would also be tracked. The prosecution would be required to notify the defense of such information. If an informant receives leniency in connection with testimony against a suspect or defendant, the prosecutor would be required to notify the victims of the informant.
, as introduced, would amend the definition of tangible personal property for sales and use taxes to exclude electric generation, transmission, distribution, and street lighting structures to make them exempt from sales and use tax. As amended during General File debate, the bill would rewrite the definition of real property to include these types of property. The bill was introduced in response to the Department of Revenue's determination that power lines and power poles are tangible personal property subject to sales tax.
would revise the Pesticide Act by updating federal regulations and clarifying product registration requirements.
Bills Passed by the Legislature
The following bills of interest were among the 10 measures passed by the Legislature on Thursday.
would eliminate the option for a member of the county or state retirement plans who has filed a grievance to receive a distribution from the plan during the grievance process. Existing law allow a $25,000 distribution but requires it to be paid back if the employee is reinstated. These provisions are out of compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations. LB34 also contains provisions from three other bills.
would clarify that a permanent county employee must be at least 18 years of age to participate in the county retirement plan.
would make changes to the school retirement plan.
would identify the current spouse of a retirement plan member as the beneficiary if the member dies without designating a beneficiary.
would make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee who has inquired about, discussed, or disclosed information regarding employee wages, benefits, or other compensation.
would expand the use of school driver's permits to allow holders to drive to property used by the school he or she attends for purposes of school events or functions.
is the annual Department of Motor Vehicles clean-up bill. It updates and harmonizes statutes and implementation dates, addresses electronic certificates of title, and other issues.
would update references to the International Building Code.