January 20, 2017                                                                  Legislative Report Archive 

In This Issue


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introsBill Introductions Conclude, Rules Debate Begins
Following a recess day in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, senators finished introducing new bills on Wednesday, the tenth day of the session. Public hearings on the 667 new bills and five constitutional amendments began on Tuesday afternoon and will continue through March 24. A full list of introduced bills is available on the Legislature's website. A hearing schedule is available as well.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the morning's debate focused on motions made by Senator Ernie Chambers to re-refer bills to other committees. All introduced bills are referred to committees by the Reference Committee, which is made up of the nine-member Executive Board.The rules of the Legislature allow any member to object to the assignment of a bill to a committee for public hearing.  None of the bills were re-referred but several senators used the opportunity to discuss politics and the impact of term limits on institutional knowledge within the body. Others discussed the guidelines used to determine bill committee assignments.
On Thursday, Chief Justice Mike Heavican gave the 10 th annual State of the Judiciary address. He reported on the challenges facing the court system due to funding constraints and the possibility of pushing more costs to counties.
Debate on proposed changes to the Legislature's permanent rules began on Thursday following the Chief Justice's remarks and continued on Friday. The body adopted rules changes to allow the Legislature's Planning Committee to designate one priority bill and to provide for interim fiscal notes. It also adopted a new rule on the use of the Legislature's technology equipment and secure network.
Further debate on permanent rule changes is scheduled for Monday, January 23. Temporary rules have been adopted through January 27, the 17 th day.

commNACO's Legislative Committee Meeting Set for January 27
NACO's Legislative Committee will meet on Friday, January 27 to review and take positions on 2017 legislation. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the NACO office at 1335 H Street in Lincoln.
After brief introductory remarks, affiliate groups will meet for discussion of bills pertinent to their membership. After the groups have met, the NACO Legislative Committee will reconvene as a whole to review and take positions on the entire list of bills. All county officials are encouraged to attend or discuss areas of concern with their NACO Board representative prior to the meeting.The NACO Board makes up the NACO Legislative Committee.  
Because lunch will be provided, please notify the NACO office at (402)434-5660 or if you plan to attend. Because the Legislature is in session, parking around the Capitol may be limited. Public parking is not available behind the NACO office or in the MIPS lot. A parking garage is available at The Cornhusker, A Marriott Hotel at 12th and L Streets.
comhrgssetCommittee Hearings Begin
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
The formatting requirements for documents submitted for recording with registers of deeds would be amended to state that signatures could be digital or electronic pursuant to a bill heard by the Government Committee this week. Language in Neb.Rev.Stat.§86-611(3) already provides that state agencies and political subdivisions may accept digital or electronic signatures and may accept communications in electronic format. LB38 would include electronic and digital signature language in §23-1503.01.
Law clerks and law students would be considered part of the unclassified service for counties of 150,000 to 300,000 with a civil service plan under LB80. The committee advanced LB80 and it appears on Monday's General File agenda.
Persons seeking elective or appointive office would have to pay outstanding late filing fees, civil penalties, and interest imposed pursuant to the Accountability and Disclosure Act in order to be eligible to file for office under LB85. The Accountability and Disclosure Commission would maintain a website listing persons with outstanding fines for election officials to consult before accepting filings.
Counties and other political subdivisions that are parties to interlocal agreements but fail to make an annual report would be subject to a late fee of $20 per day, up to $2,000 as part of a series of changes requested by the State Auditor in LB27. According to testimony, only 59 counties reported to the State Auditor that they participated in interlocal agreements last year. The bill is similar to a measure passed last year that was vetoed due to changes in per diem reimbursement for state employees. LB101, LB90, and LB151 were also introduced at the request of the Auditor.
Judiciary Committee
Currently counties are responsible for the costs of autopsies, grand juries, and witness compensation when an incarcerated person dies within a state correctional facility. LB47 would shift those costs to the state. The Judiciary Committee heard testimony from counties and NACO in support of LB47. A similar bill, LB105, was introduced in 2015 after the issue was identified in a study of unfunded mandates on counties.
Revenue Committee
Two bills aimed at easing homestead exemption certification requirements for veterans were heard by the Revenue Committee on Thursday. LB12 would allow the exemption for veterans and their unremarried surviving spouse. LB20 would limit the exemption to veterans who are totally disabled by a non-service accident or illness.
Counties could see additional revenue from tax sales if investors bid down the interest rate they are willing to accept under LB51. Property owners would continue to pay 14 percent interest to redeem their property, but the investors purchasing the tax sales certificates could choose to accept a lower interest rate. Counties would receive the  difference. The bill would also strike the specific procedures used for a round robin sale. Senator Paul Schumacher, the introducer, has agreed to work with counties on amendments that would limit the bid-down interest amounts to whole numbers and delay the implementation to allow counties to make software changes.
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Military reservists would be eligible for Military Honor license plates under a bill heard by the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee on Tuesday. The bill would also expand the veterans notation on operators licenses to include individuals who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard reserves. LB45 was advanced by the committee and appears on Monday's agenda for possible General File debate. The committee heard and advanced a second bill, LB46, which would create Choose Life specialty license plates.
snapSnapshots of County Issues
A number of bills introduced this week could have an impact on counties. Some of these include:

County Operations
  • LB431 (Erdman) Change provisions relating to cash reserves under the Nebraska Budget Act (hearing 1/26/17)
  • LB432 (Erdman) Eliminate provisions of the Nebraska Budget Act relating to allowances for delinquent taxes and anticipated litigation (hearing 1/26/17)
  • LB444 (Walz) Prohibit cities and counties from canceling health insurance coverage for injured law enforcement officers
  • LB449 (Chambers) Repeal the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act
  • LB458 (Harr ) Change provisions relating to the County Purchasing Act (hearing 1/27/17)
  • LB479 (Groene) Change public hearing provisions and redefine a term under the Nebraska Budget Act (hearing 1/26/17)
  • LB508 (Hilgers) Change the population threshold for the county civil service system
  • LB510 (Ebke) Provide a restriction on installment contracts for the purchase of real or personal property by political subdivisions
  • LB567 (Bolz) Change funding for county public assistance offices
Property Tax
  • LB468 (Krist) Change revenue and taxation provisions
  • LB498 (Brewer) Change provisions relating to transfer of homestead exemptions
  • LB545 (Watermeier) Provide for fund transfers relating to the Property Tax Credit Cash Fund
  • LB555 (Smith) Change and eliminate provisions of the Tax Equalization and Review Commission Act
  • LB570 (Friesen) Provide a property tax exemption for all tangible personal property
  • LB576 (Brewer) Limit increases in property tax bills
  • LB599 (Groene) Exempt certain improvements on land from taxes as prescribed
  • LB602 (Erdman) Change and eliminate provisions relating to the valuation of agricultural land 

  • LB451 (Murante) Change various provisions relating to elections as prescribed
  • LB619 (Wayne) Permit certain counties to conduct elections by mail
  • LB653 (Murante) Adopt the Redistricting Act
  • LB434 (Ebke) Change videoconferencing provisions relating to certain juvenile hearings
  • LB446 (Chambers) Eliminate the death penalty and change and eliminate provisions relating to sentencing
  • LB447 (Chambers) Eliminate certain mandatory minimum penalties
  • LB480 (McCollister) Provide requirements relating to health benefit plan coverage for insureds in jail custody
  • LB500 (Brewer) Authorize the carrying of concealed handguns by qualified active and retired law enforcement officers
  • LB501 (Brewer ) Change prohibition on locations where permitholder may carry a concealed weapon
  • LB502 (Brewer) Adopt the Permitless Concealed Carry Act
  • LB516 (Pansing Brooks) Change provisions relating to a report on juvenile facilities
  • LB544 (Watermeier) Provide for elimination of the office of clerk of the district court as prescribed
  • LB556 (Halloran) Change provisions relating to firearms and create the offenses of use of a facsimile or nonfunctioning firearm to commit a felony and possession of a firearm by a prohibited juvenile offender
  • LB459 (Smith) Change provisions relating to governance of the statewide one-call notification center and provide for the establishment of best practices
  • LB584 (Friesen) Change provisions relating to mowing of weeds
  • LB496 (Stinner) Define and redefine terms under the Community Development Law
  • LB504 (Brewer) Provide for a moratorium on industrial development of wind energy projects and for a task force study as prescribed
  • LB531 (Harr) Change sales tax collection fees for motor vehicles
  • LB535 (Hughes) Provide an exception for filing a statement with the register of deeds when recording an oil, gas, or mineral lease
  • LB559 (Schumacher) Prohibit the collection of interchange fees on specified taxes and fees relating to electronic payment transactions
  • LB597 (Groene) Provide for application process through county assessor and Tax Commissioner prior to using tax-increment financing
  • LB624 (Wishart) Provide procedure to withhold from the public law enforcement officers' residential addresses in county records
  • LB644 (Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee) Provide, change, and eliminate provisions governing boards, commissions, and similar entities
  • LB656 (Baker) Provide for claims against the state by persons wrongfully incarcerated
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comhrgSelected Committee Hearing Schedules
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.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, January 23, 2017
Business and Labor Committee
Room 2102
  • LB212 (Hansen) Adopt the In the Line of Duty Compensation Act
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB86 (Blood) Eliminate a requirement regarding opening bridge bids
  • LB271 (Hilgers) Authorize the Department of Roads to assume certain responsibilities under federal environmental laws and provide for limited waiver of the state's sovereign immunity 
  • LB114 (Craighead) Change provisions relating to motor vehicle lighting requirements

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee
Room 1525, 12:00 p.m.
  • LB32 (Kolterman) Eliminate a duty of the Public Employees Retirement Board and change provisions relating to prior service retirement benefit payments for county employees
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB164 (Geist) Change provisions relating to trailers, commercial motor vehicle disqualification provisions, accident reports, and motor vehicle records disclosure and authorize the Department of Motor Vehicles to keep and sell certain registration and certificate of title records
  • LB177 (Bostelman) Change provisions relating to apportionable and fleet vehicles, motor fuel tax collections and enforcement, and powers and duties of the Director of Motor Vehicles

Urban Affairs Committee
Room 1510, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB130 (Urban Affairs Committee) Change municipal annexation provisions relating to certain districts
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Judiciary Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB146 (Hansen) Provide for set-asides of convictions for infractions
  • LB167 (Ebke) Include cannabidiol as a Schedule V controlled substance
  • LB293 (Larson) Include U-47700 as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act
  • LB350 (McCollister) Provide for setting aside certain misdemeanor and felony conviction
Revenue Committee
Room 1524, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB233 (Smith) Change revenue and taxation provisions

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB388 (Lindstrom) Authorize remote electronic notarial acts

Thursday, January 26, 2017
Judiciary Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB158 (Pansing Brooks) Change provisions relating to appointment of counsel for juveniles
  • LB180 (Bolz) Provide for bridge orders transferring juvenile court jurisdiction of a juvenile to a district court
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB431 (Erdman) Change provisions relating to cash reserves under the Nebraska Budget Act
  • LB432 (Erdman) Eliminate provisions of the Nebraska Budget Act relating to allowances for delinquent taxes and anticipated litigation
  • LB479 (Groene) Change public hearing provisions and redefine a term under the Nebraska Budget Act
Friday, January 27, 2017
Judiciary Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB162 (Krist) Change provisions relating to criminal mischief and change and provide additional penalties for bribing or tampering with witnesses, informants, or jurors
  • LB199 (McCollister) Eliminate certain state aid to counties for law enforcement and jail operations
  • LB349 (Hilkemann) Change provisions relating to the maintenance and administration of the State DNA Sample and Data Base Fund

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB200 (Lowe) Provide that the county surveyor shall perform the duties of county highway superintendent in certain counties as prescribed
  • LB209 (Watermeier) Amend the Administrative Procedure Act by redefining a term and changing provisions relating to an index
  • LB458 (Harr) Change provisions relating to the County Purchasing Act

January 30, 2017
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB216 (Harr) Adopt the Redistricting Act
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee
Room 1525, 12:00 p.m.
  • LB219 (Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee) Change retirement system provisions relating to authorized benefit elections and actuarial assumptions

Thursday, February 2, 2017
Judiciary Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB81 (Blood) Change the application fee for handgun certificates
  • LB100 (Stinner) Change provisions relating to removal of firearm-related disabilities under the Nebraska Mental Health Commitment Act

February 10, 2017
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs
Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB68 (Hilgers) Prohibit certain regulation of firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories by counties, cities, and villages as prescribed

Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee
Room 1525, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB414 (Kolterman) Provide an employer contribution and a state contribution for judges' retirement as prescribed and change provisions relating to distribution and remittance of court fees

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