January 27, 2017                                                                  Legislative Report Archive 

In This Issue


on Facebook

resignSenators Address Rules Changes, Resignation this Week
Four bills were advanced to the second round of debate during a tumultuous week in the Legislature. Most of this week's floor discussion was about proposed amendments to the Legislature's rules and the body's intended response to Senator Bill Kintner's violation of Accountability and Disclosure laws and other actions. Senator Kintner submitted a letter of resignation,which will take effect on January 30. Governor Pete Ricketts is accepting applications for appointments to fill the District 2 vacancy from qualified residents of Cass County and portions of Sarpy and Otoe counties.
The following bills advanced from the first round of debate this week:
  • LB45 would expand eligibility for Military Honor License Plates to persons who have served or are serving in the Reserves, as well as current or former commissioner officers of the U.S. Public Health Service or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who were detailed directly to any branch of the active or reserve armed forces and received an honorable or general (under honorable conditions) discharge.
  • LB80 would provide for law clerks and law students to be considered unclassified employees outside of the civil service system in counties of 150,000 to 300,000. The bill was introduced at Sarpy County's request to facilitate hiring law clerks and transitioning those students into full-time positions after graduation.
  • LB56 would amend the Public Accountancy Act to revise the amount of experience in the office of the State Auditor or Department of Revenue that could be credited toward a permit to practice in Nebraska.
  • LB134 would change the Pure Food Act and repeal the Nebraska Graded Egg Act. The bill would expand the Department of Agriculture's authority to regulate those who provide eggs for human consumption.
Preliminary budget debate is scheduled for Monday. LB119 would delay deadlines related to state aid to schools through the TEEOSA (Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act) formula. LB22, which is part of the expedited FY16-17 budget adjustments proposed by Governor Ricketts, also appears on the agenda. His full budget recommendations can be found here with additional budget documents and memos here.

The Appropriations Committee's proposed revisions to FY2016-17 appropriations is available here.


comhrgssetCommittee Hearings Continue
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee hearings
LB388 would allow remote notarization in Nebraska. Currently only two states -Virginia and Montana - have adopted remote notarization. A vendor for remote notary services testified that a document could be scanned or uploaded to a website and signed on a smartphone or by typing into a computer keypad. After verifying the signer's identity over Skype or similar technology, the notary could attach a digital seal that would be locked with the document for electronic recording. The Secretary of State's office testified that a physical presence is one of the hallmarks of notarization and noted that at least one national task force is examining remote notary transactions.
Two bills would revise budget calculations for political subdivisions subject to the Nebraska Budget Act. LB431 would limit the maximum cash reserve budgeted to 50 percent of the total amount received from real and personal property taxes. LB432 would eliminate a 5 percent allowance for uncollected property taxes. Both bills were directed at entities that have accumulated sizeable cash reserves.
Budget hearings would have to be held on a separate day from other public meetings under LB479. The budget could be adopted no earlier than 30 days after the hearing. Possible amendments to replace the 30 day timeline with a "reasonable" period and allow hearings on the same day as a regular meeting were discussed during the hearing.  
The committee has taken no action on these bills.
Business and Labor Committee
Law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency responders and others killed in the line of duty would be eligible for $50,000 compensation under LB212. As written, the state would cover the costs. Participants in the NACO life insurance plan already have double indemnity coverage for deaths in the line of duty. The Business and Labor Committee took no action on the bill.
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Counties in excess of 150,000 would not have to open road and bridge bids in the presence of the county board under an amendment presented to the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee on LB86. As introduced, the bill would strike these requirements for all counties. All bids would still be open to the public and decisions on bids would be made at public meetings, but contractors would not have to wait through other agenda items for their bids to be opened during a county board meeting.
LB271 would allow the Nebraska Department of Roads to assume responsibility from the U.S. Department of Transportation for environmental and other reviews on proposed transportation projects. Eleven other states have assumed full or partial responsibility for such reviews in exchange for faster timelines and lower project costs. Kyle Schneweis, the Director of the Department of Roads, testified in support of the bill, along with several contractors and public entities.
Judiciary Committee
Counties would be responsible for providing counsel to juveniles pursuant to LB158. At the juvenile's first court appearance, the court would inform the juvenile and his or her parents about the right to continued representation. The lack of attorneys in rural areas would present challenges for counties looking for attorneys to represent juveniles. Counties were encouraged by Judiciary Committee members to consider using video arraignments and other technology to fill the gaps.
Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee
Counties could pay prior service retirement benefits on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis under a bill heard by the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee on Tuesday. Only 12 counties pay the benefits to employees hired prior to 1973. LB32 would eliminate the requirement to issue monthly checks in small amounts and instead allow the amounts to be aggregated before distribution.
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 30, 2017
Executive Board
Room 2102, 12:00 p.m.
  • LB216 (Harr) Adopt the Redistricting Act
Transportation and Telecommunications Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB55 (Schumacher) Change a duty of landowners relating to the frequency of mowing roadside weeds
  • LB584 (Friesen) Change provisions relating to mowing of weeds along roads
  • LB78 (Crawford) Change provisions relating to relinquishment or abandonment of any portion of a state highway system
  • LB339 (Friesen) Merge the Department of Aeronautics into the Department of Roads and rename as the Department of Transportation 
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

Urban Affairs Committee
Room 1510, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB256 (Briese) Adopt the Vacant Property Registration Act
  • LB304 (Crawford) Change provisions relating to the Nebraska Housing Agency Act
  • LB399 (Wayne) Change provisions relating to housing commissions

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.
  • LR18CA (Larson) Constitutional amendment to change the age for eligibility for public office
Judiciary Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB353 (Baker) Change claim, award, and judgment payment provisions under the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act
  • LB381 (Harr) Change provisions relating to jury sequestration

Thursday, February 2, 2017
Executive Board
Room 2102, 12:00 p.m.
  • LB407 (Pansing Brooks) Create and provide duties for the Whiteclay Public Health Emergency Task Force

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB127 (Groene) Change notice requirements under Open Meetings Act
  • LB365 (Blood) Change provisions relating to access to public records and provide for fees
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
  • LB321 (Lowe) Change provisions relating to unlawful possession of a firearm at a school
Revenue Committee
Room 1524, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB217 (Harr) Change provisions relating to the accrual of interest on denied and reduced homestead exemptions

Friday, February 3, 2017
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
Room 1507, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB152 (Craighead) Change and eliminate provisions relating to the fees for recording and filing certain documents
  • LB624 (Wishart) Provide procedure to withhold from the public law enforcement officers' residential addresses in county records
Judiciary Committee
Room 1113, 1:30 p.m.
  • LB84 (Blood) Provide for admissibility in any civil action of evidence of damages as a result of driving under the influence
  • LB202 (Lowe) Create the offense of obstructing government operations by refusing to submit to a chemical test authorized by search warrant

Return to top
Nebraska Association of County Officials
1335 H Street | Lincoln, NE 68508 | 402-434-5660
Join Our Mailing List