February 1, 2019                                                        Legislative Report Archive 

In This Issue


Clerk of the District Court Consolidation Proposed

Treasurer's Deed Bill Set for February 8 Hearing

Zoning Changes for Wind Energy Heard

County Retirement Changes Proposed

Judiciary Committee to Hear Safekeeper Bill

Motor Vehicle Inspection Bill Heard

Snapshots of County Issues

Schedule of Selected Hearings


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 cdcClerk of the District Court Consolidation Proposed
Clerks of the district court and their staffs would become state employees under LB490 that will be heard by the Judiciary Committee on February 8. The process would begin by consolidating the offices of ex officio county clerks and clerk magistrates into a single clerk of the courts position. Consolidation of elected offices would be phased in with the final districts consolidating on July 1, 2023. If the office of elected clerk of the district court becomes vacant before consolidation occurs, the bill would require the district court judges of the judicial district to appoint a clerk of the district court, who would serve at the pleasure of the judges.
At the request of the Supreme Court, the judges of the district, county, and separate juvenile courts, the clerk of the district court, and the clerk magistrate would develop a consolidation plan for their county. The plan would be submitted to the Supreme Court and State Court Administrator.
Counties would reimburse the state for costs of transferred vacation and sick leave. Furniture, computers, equipment and personal property owned by the county and used to perform the district court function would remain the property of the county. Books, files and records used to perform the district court function would be transferred to the State Court Administrator. Counties would be responsible for all costs involved in establishing, furnishing, and maintaining appropriate courtroom and office facilities for the district court and any separate juvenile court at the county seat. The county board could request a review of office space and facilities by the State Court Administrator.

The bill was introduced by Senator Justin Wayne. Several counties have recently contacted the State Court Administrator about voluntarily combining their ex officio clerk of the district court office with the clerk magistrate. Some other ex officio counties have contracted with counties with elected clerks of the district court to perform district court functions.

Hearing Information
The hearing will begin on Friday, February 8 at 1:30 p.m. in the Warner Chamber on the second floor of the State Capitol. It will be livestreamed through NET on the Legislature's website.
If you are not testifying in person and would like to submit written testimony to be included as an exhibit for the hearing, it must be delivered to the office of Judiciary Committee Chair Steve Lathrop by 5:00 p.m. on the last work day prior to the public hearing. The letter must include your name and address, your position for, against, or neutral on the bill, and a request for the letter to be included as part of the public hearing record.
The other members of the Judiciary Committee are:
Senator Ernie Chambers

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treasdeedTreasurer's Deed Bill Set for February 8 Hearing
A bill to create a checklist of items that must be submitted with an application for a treasurer's deed will be heard on February 8 by the Revenue Committee. The checklist was requested by county treasurers and became part of a bill that also requires applicants to provide additional notice of a possible treasurer's deed to property owners. LB463 was introduced by Senator Matt Williams and co-signed by Senators Tom Brandt, Tom Briese, Ernie Chambers, Robert Clements, Myron Dorn, Curt Friesen, Mike Groene, Mark Kolterman, and John Stinner.
NACO hosted stakeholder meetings last summer for county treasurers, county attorneys, registers of deeds, tax sales investors, bankers, title industry representatives and others to consider revisions to tax sales procedures. Treasurers decided to pursue the checklist, as well as requiring submission of a title search by a registered abstractor with the application for a treasurer's deed, and revisions to § 77-1837.01's language having tax sales certificates sold between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2017 governed by the law as it existed in 2009.
Later in the summer, the Nebraska Supreme Court's decision in Wisner v. Vandelay and resulting media exposure generated more interest in the issue and brought additional stakeholders to the table. The result was LB463, which contains the elements requested by treasurers as well as requiring publication in the newspaper designated by the county board when the property owner cannot be given personal notice by other methods. The bill does not eliminate treasurer's deeds.
The February 8 hearing on LB463 will begin at 1:30 p.m. in Room 1524 of the State Capitol and will be livestreamed on NET.

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 zoningZoning Changes for Wind Energy Heard
Counties wishing to host wind energy facilities would need specific wind energy elements in their zoning regulations under LB373 , which was heard by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday, January 31. Of the 83 counties that have zoning, many already have wind energy components.
The bill would require written permission from owners of residential dwellings located within three miles of wind turbines and would create a cause of action for damages for failure to comply. Beginning July 1, 2021, zoning regulations in counties with wind projects would have to address setbacks, noise, and decommissioning concerns.

The bill was introduced by Senator Tom Brewer, who represents a number of Sandhills counties that have been identified as having potential for wind energy development.
Proponents and opponents of the bill argued about local control and property rights. The committee has not taken action on the bill.

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County Retirement Changes Proposed
Investment options in the defined contribution county retirement plan would be modernized under a bill heard by the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee on Tuesday and advanced to the floor. LB32 is the result of a review of all state-administered retirement plans by the Nebraska Investment Council. The changes are intended to keep the plan in line with private sector investment options and add more flexibility.The bill appears on the Legislature's agenda for first-round debate on Monday, February 4.

On February 5, the committee will hear two other bills, LB34 and LB35, that affect the county plan. LB34 would remove a provision that allows a member who has been terminated and filed a grievance to withdraw up to $25,000 from his or her retirement account. Although the withdrawal may have a short-term benefit, it can be challenging for the member to repay if they are reinstated and there may be income tax implications.

LB35 would clarify that a full-time permanent employee must be 18 years of age to be eligible to participate in the county retirement plan. The bill adds guidance for members who leave county employment and later return.

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 safekeeperJudiciary Committee to Hear Safekeeper Bill
County jails will be the focus of three Judiciary Committee
hearings on Wednesday, February 6 at 1:30 p.m. in the Warner Chamber of the State Capitol.
LB376 was introduced by Senator Curt Friesen on behalf of NACO and county sheriffs. Prior to August 2017, county jail inmates being held on misdemeanor charges or sentences were allowed to be transferred to a Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) facility for safekeeping in the event they needed a higher level of care or security than could be provided in a county jail. Due to a change in the interpretation of § 28-106, only pre-adjudicated jail inmates charged with a misdemeanor are currently allowed to be transferred to a prison facility for safekeeping. Post-adjudicated jail inmates serving misdemeanor sentences can no longer be held at NDCS facilities.
LB376 would require NDCS to again accept prisoners for safekeeping if the county jail is not staffed or equipped to safely keep the prisoner for any reason, including but not limited to the medical or mental health needs of the prisoner or because the prisoner presents a danger to himself, herself, or others. Counties would be responsible for the costs of keeping and maintaining the prisoner.
LB216 would prohibit law enforcement officers from releasing a person from custody merely to avoid the cost of necessary medical services. If the officer is satisfied that probable cause no longer exists to believe that the person committed a crime or if the prosecuting attorney gives notice that no charges will be filed, the officer could release the person from custody and notify the hospital that the law enforcement agency would no longer be responsible for the cost of the person's medical care. NACO opposes the bill.
LB108 would limit the placement of NDCS inmates in county jails unless the jail provides the pre-release programming needed by the inmate. Counties contracting to hold these inmates would have to agree to offer the services. Offenders without pre-release programming requirements could be held in county jails where programming is not offered. Only inmates within one year of parole or release eligibility or those requiring only community-based or minimum-security supervision could be housed in county jails.

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 mvMotor Vehicle Inspection Bill Heard
LB80, which was heard by the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee on Monday, January 28, would create an expedited process for sheriffs' inspections of motor vehicles. The bill was introduced by committee chair Curt Friesen to require sheriffs to establish a process to enter into agreements with motor vehicle franchisees to collect information about the motor vehicles in the franchisee's inventory in the county. The franchisee would submit a photo or digital image of the vehicle, the vehicle identification number (VIN), and odometer reading along with the other ownership documents. The sheriff would complete the inspection using the information provided. The New Car Dealers Association supported the bill and testified that the intent is only to change who looks for the VIN.

Next Tuesday February 5, the committee will hear bills to require one license plate, rather than two, on vehicles operated in Nebraska ( LB38) and a number of bills to provide for specialty license plates: LB128 - Wildlife Conservation; LB138 - Military Honor and Support Our Troops; LB215 - Prostate Cancer Awareness; LB546 - Spay and Neuter; and LB691 - Ornate Box Turtle Conservation Plates.   Other bills would change and eliminate fee provisions ( LB696, LB697, LB356, and LB699).

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shotsSnapshots of County Issues
Upcoming Hearings
Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee
Banks could furnish collateral based upon the aggregate amount of public funds held in a measure introduced by Banking Committee Chair Matt Williams. Under LB622, the Department of Banking would have oversight over the single-bank collateral pools. The bill was introduced due to concerns that banks "over-collateralize" the deposits of public funds. The bill will be heard on Monday, February 4.
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Permitting fees for the installation of small cell wireless facilities used to implement 5G would be capped under LB184. Access to public right of ways would be guaranteed and the time for local governments to review permits would be limited. The bill follows a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order intended to hasten the deployment of 5G. Lawsuits have been filed at various stages of the FCC process and further challenges are expected. The hearing on LB184 will be on Monday, February 4 at 1:30 p.m. in the Warner Chamber.
Urban Affairs Committee
Next Tuesday, February 5, the Urban Affairs Committee will hear two bills to clarify energy assessments under the PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) Act. LB23 would recognize PACE as an economic development tool and change the standards for determining eligibility. LB124 would clarify the authority of two municipalities to create and administer clean energy districts. PACE is a system of long-term private financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in which annual assessments are collected in the same manner as property taxes.
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
LB239, which was introduced by Senator Myron Dorn at NACO's request, would harmonize budget hearing dates in the Nebraska Budget Act and the County Budget Act. In 2017, the Nebraska Budget Act was amended to move the publication of notice of the budget hearing from five days to four calendar days prior to the date of the hearing. Comparable changes were not made to the County Budget Act. LB239 would harmonize the two Acts.
A similar change will be proposed by LB191. The bill would harmonize the time for publication in § 77-1601.02.
The committee will also hear LB148 that would require governing bodies to hold budget hearings separately from any regularly scheduled meeting of the body. The meeting could not have a time limit and any member of the public wishing to speak would have to be given a reasonable amount of time to do so. The governing body would have to make a detailed presentation of the budget and make at least three copies available to the public. Notice of the meeting would have to be published in a newspaper, and, if available, in a digital advertisement on the newspaper's website.
The hearings on LB239, LB191, and LB148 will be on Wednesday, February 6, at 1:30 p.m.
On Thursday, February 7, the committee will hear LB246, an omnibus election bill introduced by Senator Tom Brewer on behalf of the Secretary of State. The bill contains a number of clean-up provisions, including language requested by NACO to harmonize the deadline to place elections to change from a township form of government to a commissioner form on the ballot.
The committee will also hear LB412, which would require a vote of the people to create a joint public agency with authority to levy taxes, and LB608, which updates references to election technology. 
Hearings This Week 
Revenue Committee
The Revenue Committee heard bills on determining eligibility for special valuation ( LB185 and LB250) and using land capability groups to value agricultural and horticultural land ( LB372). Other bills before the committee would provide for the collection of online sales taxes ( LB18, LB284, and LB291). A Department of Revenue clean-up bill would create a process for valuing property destroyed by a majority calamity ( LB512). The committee wrapped up its hearings this week with three shell bills intended to serve as vehicles for future Revenue Committee bills ( LB288, LB289, and LB290).

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
On Wednesday, the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee heard the first of three bills to protect residential addresses from disclosure. Under LB152, certain members of the Nebraska National Guard who assist law enforcement in activities that are typically classified would be allowed to request that their residential address is not disclosed in records of the county assessor and register of deeds. The information would be disclosed pursuant to a written request.
LB118, which will be heard on February 8, would expand the process used to protect law enforcement officers' residential addresses to licensed physicians and osteopathic physicians.

LB633, which has not yet been set for hearing, would repeal the provisions specific to law enforcement and require records held by registers of deeds, assessors, and other officials to be protected unless the information was requested in writing.

Bills Advanced from General File
Interlocal Agreements for Nuisance Abatement
Counties and cities would be given specific authority to enter into interlocal agreements for nuisance abatement in the city's extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction under LB11. The Urban Affairs Committee heard the bill on Tuesday and it was advanced from first-round debate (General File) on Friday. It is identical to a measure introduced last year, LB735. LB735 was amended into the Urban Affairs Committee's omnibus bill that passed but was vetoed due to other parts of the bill.
Certification of One-and-Six Year Plans
Counties would certify completion of the reports, rather than submit copies, of their One-and-Six year road plans and SSAR (Standardized System of Annual Reporting) under LB82 that advanced from General File on Monday. The bill would also allow the Board of Classifications and Standards more flexibility to hold a single hearing to address design standards in similar projects. Senator Curt Friesen, the introducer, said that 22 bridges on Interstate 80 between Lincoln and Grand Island are functionally obsolete because they are two feet shorter than the standard width. Existing law requires 22 separate hearings to relax the design standards on these bridges. LB82 would allow the hearings to be consolidated into a single hearing. He has offered an amendment to be addressed on Select File that would harmonize references to plans, programs, and standards. The bill appears on Monday's agenda.

Department of Transportation Bidding Practices
LB117, a bill to streamline bidding practices by the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT), was also advanced from General File and appears on Monday's Select File agenda. The bill would replace the need to pre-qualify as bidders on projects. Rather than sending a certified financial statement to NDOT, the bonding agent would provide a certification of bonding capacity. The bill would also allow NDOT to transmit bid documents electronically, rather than by mail.
Filing of Condominium Officers
Condominium board officers would need to annually register with the county under LB42. The registration would provide contact information for the service of legal notices and other information. A committee amendment was adopted that would place the filing in the register of deeds office, rather than the county clerk. An amendment is anticipated on Select File that would limit the filing to unincorporated condominium associations.
Expedited Liquor Licenses
LB56 would allow counties and municipalities to expedite the issuance of special designated liquor licenses. The licenses could be issue 12 days, rather than 21 days before the event. The bill was heard by the General Affairs Committee on Monday and advanced from General File on Friday.

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selhrgSchedule of Selected 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. Due to construction at the Capitol, the Judiciary and Transportation and Telecommunications Committees will meet in the Warner Chamber.
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. For tips about testifying at a hearing, click here.
Monday, February 4, 2019
Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee
Room 1507 1:30 p.m.
LB622 (Williams) Change provisions and provide for pooled collateral under the Public Funds Deposit Security Act
Business and Labor Committee
Room 1524 1:30 p.m.
LB305 (Crawford) Adopt the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act
LB311 (Crawford) Adopt the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Warner Chamber 1:30 p.m.
LB270 (Friesen) Change licensing, registration, and titling provisions for motor vehicles and other vehicles as prescribed
LB184 (Friesen) Adopt the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act
LB208 (Walz) Provide an exception for leasing dark fiber or providing certain telecommunications and related services by a state agency or political subdivision
LB549 (Brandt) Provide for creation and maintenance of a geographic information system map as prescribed under the Nebraska Telecommunications Regulation Act
Tuesday, February 5
Agriculture Committee
Room 1524 1:30 p.m.
LB320 (Albrecht) Change various provisions of the Pesticide Act and update federal references
Nebraska Retirement Systems
Room 1507 12:00 p.m.
LB34 (Kolterman) Eliminate provisions relating to benefits payable after the filing of a grievance or appeal and change provisions relating to employee reinstatement under the County Employees Retirement Act and State Employees Retirement Act
LB35 (Kolterman) Change provisions relating to reemployment, reinstatement, repayment, and age eligibility for certain members under the County Employees Retirement Act and State Employees Retirement Act
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Warner Chamber 1:30 p.m.
LB38 (Hilkemann) Provide for one license plate and In Transit decal per vehicle
LB128 (Hughes) Provide for Wildlife Conservation Plates
LB138 (Blood) Provide for additional Military Honor Plates and Support Our Troops Plates
LB696 (Bostelman) Change provisions relating to Military Honor Plates
LB697 (Bostelman) Eliminate a fee for issuance of military related license plates
LB215 (Linehan) Provide for Prostate Cancer Awareness Plates
LB356 (Scheer) Change fee distribution for certain specialty license plates
LB546 (Wishart) Create Spay and Neuter Awareness license plates and a low-income spay and neuter grant program
LB691 (Cavanaugh) Provide for Ornate Box Turtle Conservation license plates
LB699 (Bostelman) Change provisions relating to transporter plates
Urban Affairs Committee
Room 1510 1:30 p.m.
LB23 (Kolterman) Change the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act
LB124 (Crawford) Change provisions relating to jointly created clean energy assessment districts under the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act
Wednesday, February 6
Government, Military and Veteran Affairs Committee
Room 1507 1:30 p.m.
LB191 (La Grone) Change provisions relating to budgets and public hearing notice for certain governmental entities
LB148 (Groene) Change requirements for public hearings on proposed budget statements and notices of meetings of public bodies
LB239 (Dorn) Change requirements for notice of hearing on county budget - NACO bill
Judiciary Committee
Warner Chamber 1:30 p.m.
LB108 (Bolz) Change provisions relating to placement of Department of Correctional Services inmates in county jails
LB114 (Blood) Change provisions relating to reductions of good time
LB216 (Kolterman) Prohibit releasing a person in custody to avoid medical costs
LB376 (Friesen) Provide for safekeeping of prisoners
Thursday, February 7
Government, Military and Veteran Affairs Committee
Room 1507 1:30 p.m.
LB412 (Geist) Require an election regarding creation of a joint public agency
LB608 (La Grone) Change and eliminate provisions regarding counting methods under the Election Act
LB246 (Brewer) Change provisions relating to elections

Revenue Committee
Room 1524 1:30 p.m.
LB153 (Brewer) Change provisions relating to the taxation of military retirement benefits
LB263 (Clements) Change provisions relating to the taxation of military retirement benefits
LR3CA (Erdman) Constitutional amendment to provide income tax credits for property taxes paid
Friday, February 8
Government, Military and Veteran Affairs Committee
Room 1507 1:30 p.m.
LB16 (Briese) Provide for the withholding of records relating to certain critical infrastructure
LB150 (Brewer) Change provisions relating to access to public records and provide for fees
LB118 (Arch) Provide a procedure to withhold residential addresses of physicians in county records
LB123 (Crawford) Add an exemption from the Taxpayer Transparency Act for certain contracts
Judiciary Committee
Warner Chamber 1:30 p.m.
LB309 (Lathrop) Increase the number of district court judges in Douglas County
LB490 (Wayne) Consolidate offices of clerk of the district court and clerk magistrates
Revenue Committee
Room 1524 1:30 p.m.
LB76 (Williams) Change provisions relating to the nameplate capacity tax
LB393 (Groene) Increase the documentary stamp tax
LB463 (Williams) Change provisions relating to treasurer's tax deeds and tax sale certificates
LB523 (Linehan) Provide a documentary stamp tax exemption for certain deeds and a property tax exemption for certain charitable organizations
Monday, February 11
Business and Labor Committee
Room 1524 1:30 p.m.
LB217 (Pansing Brooks) Prohibit retaliation against employees for communicating about wages
LB383 (Quick) Provide for an annual adjustment to the minimum wage
LB361 (Hansen, M.) Prohibit retaliation under the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act and the Wage and Hour Act
LB362 (Hansen, M.) Require payment of unpaid wages for violations of the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Warner Chamber 1:30 p.m.
LB462 (Friesen) Change provisions of the One-Call Notification System Act
LB616 (Hilgers) Provide for build-finance projects under the Build Nebraska Act and the Transportation Innovation Act
Tuesday, February 12
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Warner Chamber 1:30 p.m.
LB378 (Hansen, B.) Change helmet provisions for autocycles, motorcycles, and mopeds
LB371 (Erdman) Change provisions relating to requirements for all-terrain vehicles and utility-type vehicles
LB612 (Erdman) Authorize the display of roadside memorials
LB665 (Friesen) Authorize the use of electric foot scooters
LB719 (Hughes) Provide for reporting to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information system for wreckers and salvage dealers
Urban Affairs Committee
Room 1510 1:30 p.m.
LB96 (Wayne) Change local building code provisions
LB95 (Wayne) Change applicability provisions for building codes
Tuesday, February 19
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Warner Chamber 1:30 p.m.
LB550 (Vargas) Require voter approval of fees and taxes on wireless services and eliminate the Prepaid Wireless Surcharge Act
Urban Affairs Committee
Room 1510 1:30 p.m.
LB424 (Quick) Change the Nebraska Municipal Land Bank Act
LB68 (Hansen, M.) Change provisions of the Business Improvement District Act as prescribed
LB197 (Urban Affairs Committee) Provide a procedure for detachment of real property from the corporate limits of a city or village and eliminate existing detachment provisions

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