March 16, 2018                                                             Legislative Report Archive 

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 bidthreshHigher Bidding Threshold Advances
The dollar amount triggering formal competitive bidding under the County Purchasing Act would be increased to $50,000 under a bill advanced from General File on Thursday. Currently the threshold requiring competitive bidding is $20,000.

If the estimated value of the purchase is greater than $10,000 and less than $50,000, three informal bids, if practicable would be required. Existing law sets the range for informal bids at greater than $5,000 to less than $20,000.

If the estimated value of the purchase is less than $10,000, bidding would not be required.The current rate is $5,000.
LB1098 was introduced by Senator Mike Hilgers and designated as a Speaker Priority.

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budbillBudget Bill Passes First Round
Senators worked until 11:35 p.m. on Tuesday to pass three bills constituting this year's budget. A cloture vote was needed to cease debate on LB944, the mainline budget bill, mainly due to controversy over Title X funding for medical clinics.
The second round of debate on the budget is set for Wednesday, March 21, which is a scheduled "late night". Adjournment on a "late night" is generally around 9 p.m. but can be as late as 11:59 p.m., depending on the day's progress. With 16 days remaining in the session and 52 priority bills remaining on General File, Speaker Jim Scheer said he expects a number of 12-14 hours days will be needed to complete the Legislature's work.

 counselCounsel for Juveniles Fails on Cloture Vote
A bill to require counties to provide counsel to juvenile offenders failed to garner enough votes for a cloture motion during Wednesday's General File debate, effectively ending debate on the bill for the year. Senator Patty Pansing Brooks introduced LB158 and designated it as her priority bill in 2017 and 2018. In 2016, she led similar efforts that resulted in a pilot program for counties to provide counsel for juveniles in Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy counties.

Opponents filibustered the bill each time, arguing that individual rights should control, rather than requiring a lawyer to become involved. They discussed the lack of attorneys in rural Nebraska and the roles of judges, prosecutors and parents in the legal process for juveniles.
When debate ended, a Judiciary Committee amendment to clarify that representation would not be needed for a juvenile who participates in a pre-trial diversion program was pending, as well as an amendment that would have imposed a $1 fee on court filings to develop a grant fund to help counties pay for public defenders for juveniles.

TIFTIF Bill Sent to Governor
Among the list of bills passed on Final Reading on Thursday was LB874, a rewrite of tax increment financing (TIF) laws. Among other provisions of the bill, tax statements would need to show the amounts of taxes that are allocated to the redevelopment project and contain a statement explaining that taxes on the real property have been divided as part of a redevelopment project for a period not to exceed 15 years.

Other bills passed by the Legislature this week include LB256 to allow municipalities to enact a registry of vacant property and asses fees to help compensate for the public costs of property vacancy. Unpaid fees and fines would become a lien on the property when notice is recorded. Such liens would be subordinate to other liens recorded previously.

LB350 would allow persons who have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony to petition the court to set aside their conviction once the sentence is completed

LB44, a bill to collect state sales taxes on Internet purchases, was debated on Final Reading but a cloture vote fell two votes short of ending a filibuster. Debate focused on the impact of a federal case on Internet sales tax that is expected to be decided in June.

snapshotsofSnapshots of County Issues
Bills Advanced by Committees
In preparation for a consent calendar later this month, committees advanced bills to General File this week. Noncontroversial bills with limited changes and no state general fund impact are candidates for consent calendar.
The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee reported the following bills to General File. LB1036 would increase the expenditure limit for recognition dinners for elected and appointed officials, employees, or volunteers. The current cap is $25. The bill would increase the maximum expenditure per person to $50. The Local Government Miscellaneous Expenditure Act regulates spending and reimbursement for meals, mileage, and other expenditures.
LB1038 would clarify that the deadline to register to vote through the state's online voter registration portal is midnight on the Friday before the election. Existing law sets the deadline as "the third Friday before the election."
LB825 would clarify that a vote at a townhall meeting to exceed levy authority is effective for one year. It would clean up a section of statute that was missed in last year's legislation providing that notice of a hearing to change a property tax request from the prior year must be given at least four calendar days prior to the hearing. A committee amendment would remove proposed language to strike references to "qualified sinking funds."
LB929 would enumerate certain rights of Nebraska National Guard members and provide for protection of their residential addresses in assessor's and register of deed's records. A committee amendment would limit the address protection to Guard members who are participating with state, county or local government in law enforcement functions prescribed by that government. Legislation was enacted last year to allow law enforcement officers to request the protection of their residential addresses.
LB682 would allow servicemembers to terminate contracts for telephone, internet and other services if they receive military orders to relocate for a period of at least 90 days. A committee amendment would clarify that the bill would not apply to leases of residential property in which a spouse of a servicemember is still a tenant.
The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee advanced LB1011. The bill would require drivers to move over when approaching a highway or utility maintenance vehicle, tow truck, or garbage truck.

The committee also advanced LB909, one of its committee priority bills, with an omnibus amendment. Bills already designated as a senator, committee, or speaker priority generally are not placed on the consent calendar.

As introduced, LB909 would amend titling provisions for assembled and kit vehicles, as well as vehicles that are reconstructed or replicas. The committee amendment would include language from LB740, LB895, LB896, LB1049, LB1092 and LB1136. LB740 would allow metropolitan utilities districts to register their motor vehicle fleet in a single county. Similar provisions were adopted for public power vehicles in 2016. Language from LB895 would create "flood damaged" salvage titles clarify that auxiliary axles on car toters or tow dollies do not have to be titled or registered. Other sections would allow state ID holders to renew them electronically. LB896 would require trailers, such as farm trailers, that are not titled to have identification numbers assigned and affixed. LB1049 would amend the definition of low-speed vehicles to include certain three-wheeled vehicles. LB1092 would change the definition of autocycles, which are vehicles that are not completely enclosed. LB1136 would allow auto auctions to get titles for vehicles by presenting an affidavit affirming that the title is unavailable to a county treasurer.

Bills Advanced from Select File
LB993, a bill to help Nebraska move forward in the implementation of next generation 911 service, was advanced from the second round of debate on Thursday. The bill would create a committee to advise the Public Service Commission. The commission would determine the allocation of funding among local government, public safety answering points, and third-party service or infrastructure providers.
Some of the other bills advanced from Select File with little or no discussion include LB931, which would prohibit extended prescriptions of opioids to persons under 19 years of age and LB697 that would redraw judicial district boundaries in Clay, Nuckolls, and Otoe counties. LB724 would provide for operators to make electronic transfers of keno funds. LB1090 would adjust Nebraska income tax statutes to reflect changes in federal law.

LB861, a bill to require the state to pay for prosecution when costs of inmate riots or other incidents exceed the amount generated by a 2.5 cent levy, was passed over due to a pending amendment.

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