February 8, 2019                                                        Legislative Report Archive 

In This Issue


Hearings Near Midpoint,  Floor Debate Continues

Treasurer's Deed Bill Heard by Revenue Committee

Judiciary Committee Hears Court Consolidation Proposal

Revenue Committee Schedules Property Tax Reform Bills

Juvenile Justice Grant Funding Change Proposed

Snapshots of County Issues

Schedule of Selected Hearings


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hearingsHearings Near Midpoint, Floor Debate Continues
Today marks the 22nd day of the First Session of the 106th Legislature. With the first quarter of the 90-day session nearly completed, senators continue to engage in floor debate in the mornings and committee hearings in the afternoons. Committee hearings are scheduled to conclude on March 28 and full days of debate will begin on April 2.
Senators have begun designating their personal priority bills for the session. Senator Tom Brewer has selected LB155, a bill to eliminate the ability of electric suppliers to use eminent domain to acquire land for power transmission lines and facilities. Senator Anna Wishart has selected LB110, a bill to authorize the use of medical marijuana. Senators and committees must designate their priority bills by March 19. Senators must submit requests for speaker priority bills by March 14.

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treasdeedTreasurer's Deed Bill Heard by Revenue Committee
County treasurers, attorneys, bankers, property owners, tax sales investors, and NACO staff testified Friday in support of a measure to revise procedures for issuing treasurer's tax deeds. NACO hosted stakeholder meetings over the summer and worked with a group formed by Senator Matt Williams to develop the bill as introduced.
LB463 would create a checklist of items that must be submitted with an application for a treasurer's deed. A title search by a registered abstracter would be needed. Investors applying for a treasurer's deed who could not locate the property owner by other means would have to publish in a newspaper designated by the county board.
Revenue Committee members asked questions about the notice given to delinquent property owners by county treasurers and investors and opportunities to redeem the property in the three years before a tax deed is issued. Senator Williams stressed that the bill is not intended to incentivize bad behavior but to encourage the payment of taxes.
The committee took no action on the bill on Friday.

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judcdcJudiciary Committee Hears Court Consolidation Proposal
At Friday's hearing on LB490, Senator Justin Wayne asked the Judiciary Committee to hold both the introduced version of the bill to consolidate the offices of clerks of the district court and clerk magistrates and an amendment to limit the changes to ex officio clerks of the district court. He suggested a two-part interim study by the Judiciary Committee to examine court issues and the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee to review issues related to elected officials.
His interest in the bill stemmed from confusion about whether courts would be open when President Trump declared a federal holiday for former president George H.W. Bush's funeral. Senator Wayne supported the concept of the Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court being responsible for all court officials and employees, rather than some personnel being elected.
The Administrative Office of the Nebraska Supreme Court also testified in support of the concept of judicial branch oversight.
Senator Mark Kolterman, Chair of the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee, reminded the Judiciary Committee of a legislative rule requiring an actuarial study before legislation can be enacted that would have a fiscal impact on the state-administered retirement plans. Clerks of the district court and their employees would become participants in the state's retirement plan under the bill.
Clerks of the district court testified in opposition to LB490.

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revenuehrgRevenue Committee Schedules Property Tax Reform Bills
Three comprehensive tax reform proposals, LB314, LB497, and LB677, have been set for hearing by the Revenue Committee on Thursday, February 14. The hearings will begin at 12:30 p.m., rather than the regular hearing time of 1:30 p.m., to accommodate expected extensive testimony.
LB314, by Senator Tom Briese, and LB497, by Senator Curt Friesen, contain elements that would increase sales and use taxes, eliminate sales tax exemptions, and increase cigarette and alcohol taxes, among other tools intended to provide property tax relief.
LB677, by Senator Mike Groene, would reduce school district levies and send at least $224 million to schools through a revised state aid formula.
Revenue Committee Bills Advanced from General File
The Revenue Committee advanced two bills that were debated and advanced from General File on Friday. LB185 would require the owner or lessee of land consisting of five contiguous acres or less to provide an IRS Schedule F to document a profit or loss from farming for two out of the last three years in order to qualify for special valuation. The bill would take effect on January 1, 2020.
LB372 would change land capability groups used to value agricultural land to the use applied by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Currently these are based on dryland farming categories.
The Legislature also advanced LB4 that would set the minimum fee for filing a case with the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) at $40 and increase filing fees based on the value of the property. It would also allow commissioners to be reimbursed for mileage for daily travel from their residences to their offices in Lincoln and to the location of hearings. From 1996 to 2003, mileage costs were reimbursed to help offset expenses for the commissioner residing in the third congressional district. During the last biennium, a moratorium was imposed on travel by the courts so hearings were held almost exclusively in Lincoln. Senators discussed possibilities for creating efficiencies and further fee increases to help pay for travel costs before advancing the bill.
Bills Reported out of the Revenue Committee
The committee also sent LB183 and LB103 to the floor. LB183 would value ag land at one percent of its actual value for school district taxes levied to pay the principal and interest on bonds. The valuation for county purposes would not be affected. A committee amendment would change the proposed value from one percent to 30 percent of market value. It would clarify that the reduced value would apply to bonds issued after the effective date of the bill.
Under LB103, counties and other taxing entities proposing an increase in their tax asking from the prior year would have to hold a public hearing separate from the annual budget meeting and give at least 30 days' notice of the meeting through detailed criteria.
A committee amendment would remove the 30-day requirement and replace the introduced language. The new language would revise the proposed notice requirements and set out elements that would need to be included in the resolution or ordinance setting the political subdivision's property tax request.

LB183 and LB103 appear on Monday's agenda for first-round debate.

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juvfundJuvenile Justice Grant Funding Change Proposed
On Thursday, February 14, the Judiciary Committee will hear a series of bills to change juvenile justice provisions, including a measure to redirect funding through the Community-based Juvenile Services Aid Program. LB651 would restrict funding to services provided directly to juveniles or services provided to carry out express statutorily-authorized functions. Counties and other governmental entities that apply for the funds would be required to develop policies governing their distribution. The policies would have to be adopted by the governing board of the entity after a public hearing. Currently, ten percent of the grant funds, which total more than $600,000, are used for system improvements that would not be eligible for funding by the bill.
The committee will also hear LB230, LB390, and LB589. LB230 would provide parameters for room confinement in juvenile detention facilities. LB390 would set out duties for school resource officers and security guards. Law enforcement agencies and security agencies would be required to adopt a memorandum of understanding with a school district if they provide security guards to schools. The Crime Commission would develop and distribute a model agreement. LB589 would prohibit peace officers from serving as school resource officers.

Hearings Held this Week
This week the committee heard testimony on bills impacting county jails. LB376 was introduced by Senator Curt Friesen on behalf of NACO and county sheriffs. It would require the Nebraska Department of Correctional Facilities, (NDCS) to provide safekeeping for post-adjudicated inmates that county jails are unable to hold safely. County sheriffs, their representatives, and a deputy county attorney testified in support of the bill and presented examples of situations where they would be assisted by the provisions of LB376. NDCS representatives testified in opposition to the bill suggesting that prisons are not the appropriate placement for persons who have committed misdemeanor crimes.
LB216 would prohibit law enforcement officers from releasing a person from custody merely to avoid the cost of necessary medical services. Spokespersons from hospitals testified in favor of the bill by presenting scenarios of security concerns that had occurred at their facilities. NACO and county law enforcement representatives testified in opposition to the bill and explained practices for providing medical care to persons under their jurisdiction.
LB108 would limit the placement of NDCS inmates in county jails unless the jail provides the pre-release programming needed by the inmate. Prior to the hearing, an amendment was offered that would define how placements would be prioritized in county jails, including placement at a location in the offender's home county or within 100 miles of it. The Director of the Department of Corrections and a deputy sheriff testified in opposition to the bill. NACO testified in a neutral capacity.

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shotsSnapshots of County Issues
Upcoming Hearings
On Thursday, February 14, the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee will hear LB411, which would allow a county board of commissioners to place the question of the number of county board members on the ballot. Currently this question is only available through a petition process.

LB415, a bill to prohibit the recall of county and other elected officials, will be heard by the committee on February 13.

Committee Hearings Held this Week
The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee heard two bills on Wednesday to harmonize county budget notice requirements. Senator Myron Dorn introduced LB239 on NACO's behalf to change language in the County Budget Act to mirror the Nebraska Budget Act. In 2017, the time frame for publication of the notice of the budget hearing in the Nebraska Budget Act was changed from five days to four calendar days prior to the date of the hearing to codify current practice. Comparable changes were not made to the County Budget Act at that time.
LB191, introduced by Senator Andrew La Grone, would make the same change from five days to four calendar days in a different section of statute, along with other technical clean-up provisions.

Another bill introduced by Senator La Grone, LB608, was heard by the committee this week. The bill would implement the final recommendations of the Legislature's Election Technology Task Force.

The committee also heard LB246, the Secretary of State's annual clean-up bill. Election commissioners and NACO testified in support of the bill.

Cities and NACO representatives testified in opposition to LB412, a bill to require public bodies to take a vote before entering into joint public agency agreements.

The committee also heard a bill, LB148, that would require counties and other entities subject to the Open Meetings Act to publish notice of meetings in a newspaper of general circulation within their jurisdiction and place a digital advertisement on the paper's website, if available. LB148 would require budget hearings to be held separately from regularly scheduled board meetings. At the budget meeting, the board would be required to make a detailed presentation of the proposed budget statement and allow public testimony from anyone wishing to speak on the proposed budget, subject to reasonable time limits. The League of Nebraska Municipalities suggested several technical amendments, including defining the elements of the presentation.

Bills Advanced from General File
Senators advanced 18 bills from General File, the first round of debate, on Friday, February 8. Some of these bills include:
Online Notary Public Act
LB186 would create the Online Notary Public Act. Signers would not have to be in the physical presence of the notary but could appear through communications technology. Online notaries would have to register with the Secretary of State and maintain secure, detailed electronic records. A committee amendment was adopted that would require all counties to begin e-recording real estate documents by July 1, 2020. The amendment would eliminate language creating an exception from formatting requirements for an electronically filed document.
Protection of Residential Addresses
LB152 would enumerate rights of National Guard members and grant the same protection of residential addresses that is available to law enforcement. A committee amendment was adopted to narrow the address protection to Guard members who are serving as law enforcement officers. Existing law allows law enforcement officers to request that their residential address is not disclosed in records of the county assessor and register of deeds without a written request.
On Friday, the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee heard a related bill, LB118, that would allow physicians and osteopathic physicians to request the same protection of their residential address. Committee members discussed the roles of privacy and security in requests to limit disclosure of residential addresses.The committee has not reported any action on LB118.
No hearing has been set for LB633, a bill to prohibit the disclosure of residential addresses unless a written request is made for the information.
Pledged Collateral
Banks and other financial institutions could aggregate amounts of collateral pledged to cover public funds in excess of FDIC limits through a single-bank pooled method under LB622. Banks would be allowed to base the amount of pledged collateral on the total of public funds accepted, rather than pledging collateral individually for each public entity's deposits. The Director of the Department of Banking could designate a bank or other financial institution to administer the program. At the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee hearing, Senator Matt Williams, the introducer, proposed an amendment to require, rather than permit, delegation of administrative duties. The amendment would eliminate the costs for the Department of Banking and remove the fiscal note. The amendment was adopted and the bill advanced.

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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 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
Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee
Room 1507 12:00 p.m.
LB565 (Bolz) State legislative intent relating to a designated beneficiary determination under certain retirement systems

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

Wednesday, February 13
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Room 1507 1:30 p.m.
LB415 (Friesen) Repeal recall provisions for political subdivisions

Judiciary Committee
Warner Chamber 1:30 p.m.
LB282 (Hansen, M.) Change provisions relating to bail
LB335 (Hansen, M.) Authorize a 24/7 sobriety program permit for operating a motor vehicle as a condition of bail
LB457 (Lathrop) Define and redefine terms relating to industrial hemp under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act
LB500 (Morfeld) Prohibit participation in pretrial diversion programs for certain driving under the influence and driver's license offenses
LB579 (Quick) Authorize issuance of ignition interlock permits to persons who caused serious bodily injury while driving under the influence
LB646 (Chambers) Eliminate cash bail bonds, appearance bonds, and related provisions

Thursday, February 14
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Room 1507 1:30 p.m.
LB411 (Scheer) Provide an additional method of changing the number of county commissioners

Judiciary Committee
Warner Chamber 1:30 p.m.
LB132 (Pansing Brooks) Change penalties for certain felonies committed by persons under nineteen years of age
LB230 (Pansing Brooks) Provide for room confinement of juveniles as prescribed
LB390 (Pansing Brooks) Provide duties regarding school resource officers and security guards
LB391 (Hansen, M.) Change duties of peace officers taking juveniles into custody or interrogating juveniles and prohibit use of statements taken in violation of the rights of a juvenile
LB589 (Chambers) Prohibit peace officers from serving as school resource officers
LB651 (Wayne) Change funding provisions for the Community-based Juvenile Services Aid Program

Revenue Committee
Room 1524 12:30 p.m.
LB314 (Briese) Adopt the Remote Seller Sales Tax Collection Act and change revenue and taxation provisions
LB497 (Friesen) Adopt the School District Property Tax Authority Act and change revenue and taxation provisions
LB677 (Groene) Change provisions of the Property Tax Credit Act and provide school district property tax relief aid

Friday, February 15 -- Recess Day
Monday, February 18 - President's Day Holiday

Tuesday, February 19
Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee
Room 1507 1:30 p.m.
LB672 ( Clements)  Change provisions of the Motor Vehicle Registration Act relating to a named driver insurance policy

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

Wednesday, February 20
Judiciary Committee
Warner Chamber 1:30 p.m.
LB240 (Hansen, M.) Change procedures for determining competency to stand trial
LB510 (  McCollister)Change applicability of Sex Offender Registration Act to certain out-of-state juvenile adjudications

Thursday, February 21
Judiciary Committee
Warner Chamber 1:30 p.m.
LB474 (Dorn) Change provisions relating to claims against the state for wrongful incarceration and conviction
LB621 (Kolowski) Change provisions relating to solar energy and wind energy, declare certain instruments void and unenforceable, and provide for a civil cause of action

Friday, February 22
Judiciary Committee
Warner Chamber 1:30 p.m.
LB43 (Bolz) Adopt the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights Act
LB249 (Howard) Change the statute of limitations for civil actions arising from a sexual assault
LB516 (Pansing Brooks) Change provisions relating to child abuse, the Child Protection and Family Safety Act, human trafficking, and child welfare services
LB532 (Cavanaugh) Change provisions relating to harassment protection orders, sexual assault protection orders, and domestic abuse protection orders
LB539 (Walz) Redefine abuse under the Adult Protective Services Act
LB680 (DeBoer) Adopt the Uniform Civil Remedies for Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act

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