NTF WORKSHEET: NEBRASKA LEGISLATIVE BILLS, GOOD & BAD: 2018

Legwatch2018final.doc. 6-18.
NEBRASKA TAXPAYERS FOR FREEDOM WORKSHEET:
NEBRASKA LEGISLATIVE VOTING RECORD: 2018.

GOOD RESOLUTION.

LR 1CA: Murante. A constitutional amendment to ask voters in 2018 to add voter ID requirements to the state constitution. ID presented to vote must include a photo or other digital image, up to legislators to define details and exemptions of a required ID. State would provide free IDs to those unable to afford one. Those unable to provide such ID could fill out a provisional ballot. This resolution would deter voter fraud and ensure the integrity of state elections. Two Muslim Somali immigrants faced felony charges in Lexington for voting multiple times in November, 2016. Important enough that voters should decide the issue at the ballot box. Voter ID laws are not inherently discriminatory. Liberal Sen. Justin Wayne introduced am unsuccessful motion to kill this resolution. Citizens across the entire state voiced overwhelming support for voter ID to ensure the integrity of elections. The resolution language bases on an Indiana law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. Over 35 states, including Iowa, use voter ID. GOOD RESOLUTION/ GENERAL FILE

GOOD BILLS.

LB 93: Hansen. To prohibit misuse in gathering and sharing of automatic license plate readers, fixed or mobile cameras, by unauthorized parties, like law enforcement agencies and local governments, in order to insure privacy unless an emergency situation. These systems could allow law officers to monitor daily citizen activities. Violators will face civil liability. These automated readers legitimately allow law enforcement to look for missing people and stolen vehicles, pursue criminal warrants, examine unregistered vehicles, assist weigh stations, and enforce parking and traffic laws. Protection given those having domestic protection orders. Collected data purged after 60 days unless used as evidence or under court order. Agencies using these systems must adopt and post a privacy policy and policy governing use. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 100: Stinner. To require clear and convincing standards of proof for easier access to firearms by citizens cleared by state mental health board. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 117: Hilkemann. Terminally ill people by informed consent, with recommendation from personal doctors, could use experimental drugs and equipment not yet approved by the FDA for general use. Patients must have considered all other treatment options, and the experimental drugs must have cleared the basic safety phase of the FDA approval process. Insurance companies could pay for such treatments. Manufacturer of drug cannot seek reimbursement, if patient dies during treatment. Legal and professional protection for patient doctor who gives good faith recommendation and drug manufacturer. 38 other states have passed right-to-try legislation. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 198: McCollister. To terminate the unneeded Crimes Against Children Fund and transfer its money to the General Fund. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 275: Hughes. To permit a private property owner to have removed a vehicle abandoned or trespassing on property for at least 7 days by contacting law enforcement that then will contact a towing business. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 295: Smith. To allow organizations to apply to the Revenue Dept. to become certified as a scholarship-granting organization under the Opportunity Scholarships Act. Groups must be non-profit, offer one or more scholarships to eligible middle class and poor NE students to more than 1 K-12 school, and become certified for tax credits. Individual taxpayers and businesses who make one or more cash contributions to one or more organizations during a tax year can gain a non-refundable state income tax credit equal to their contribution. Estates, trusts and corporations also could make contributions and claim tax credits. This bill would offer parents educational choice for their children at private or parochial elementary and secondary schools. Total credits allowed first year: $2 million, with incremental increases annually up to $10 million. Public school districts would save money as children gravitated to alternative schools. The bill not only would lower education costs by reducing the number of public school pupils but also enhance competition that would improve achievement. These scholarships would offer students with a great education at less than the average cost for a public school student. The NE Association of School Boards and leftist Open Sky Institute opposed the bill. GOOD BILL/ GENERAL FILE

LB 299: Ebke. To require legislative committee staff to evaluate the effects of proposed regulatory legislation on occupational licensing, 20% of regs annually, all regs every 5 years, compare with policies enacted in other states, and issue a report on evaluations to a legislative committee. The committee would review legislation that would enact or modify occupation licensing regs to ensure that they are the least restrictive means to achieve regulation ends. Committee would recommend if occupational regs should end or undergo modification. Regulations construed and applied to increase economic opportunities, promote competition, encourage innovation, and be the least restrictive means of achieving regulation ends. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 321: Lowe. To allow all college and university shooting sports clubs to carry and practice with any firearm on campus. These institutions have shown higher interest in creating more shooting sports teams, like trap shooting and skeet shooting. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 347: Geist. To eliminate duplicative fees and requirements for school bus permits, to remove unnecessary occupational licensing. School bus drivers already must obtain commercial drivers licenses. Bus drivers still must undergo training, a criminal background and driving record check, drug and alcohol testing, and an annual physical and mental exam. NE currently is the only state that requires a school bus permit costing $5 annually, a duplicative process that places extra burdens on drivers and the DMV. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 368: Lowe. To repeal mandatory motorcycle or moped helmets for those at least 21 but still require eye protection. NE annually loses tourism money, because motorcyclists select alternate routes to get to rallies. It is a matter of personal freedom. NE remains only 1 of 19 states requiring helmets. If not repealed, perhaps bull riders and wave riders next will be required to wear helmets. GOOD BILL/ KILLED

LB 377: Education Comm. To update and simplify education laws by eliminating Class I, II, and VI school districts, remaining Class II districts becoming Class III districts. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 682: Blood. To offer consumer protection on contracts to service members. This bill allows service members to terminate at any time a contract they may have entered into, if they must relocate for longer than 90 days due to service. These contracts include: Telecommunications companies, ISPs, gyms, satellite radios, and lease or rental agreement (if it does not violate the existing landlord/tenant act). Bill also states that a service member returning to the area after that 90 or more days must be treated as a new customer and not charged additional fees. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 701: Kolterman. To allow physicians and physician-assistants to establish patient relationships by telehealth means and prescribe drugs. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 731: Williams. A pharmacy could provide remote dispensing at a location staffed by a certified pharmacy technician and owned by a supervising pharmacy licensed and located in NE. A separate license required for the remote dispensing pharmacy. This bill would improve access to RX medications in rural NE. Many small, rural NE towns have lost pharmacies because of retirements, leaving residents with no convenient access to their RX meds. Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota already have such a law. The NE Pharmacists Assoc. supported the bill. Mutual recognition of other state licenses for physical therapy practitioners. To ease licensing for barbers, cosmetologists, and nail technologists. Mobile sites of these 3 professions could earn licenses. To exempt electrologists from requirements of 600 minimum credits.
GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 733: Thibodeau. The duration for a Class B county highway or city street superintendent license would extend for 3 years instead of 1 year, decreasing by 2/3rd the number of renewals that the Board of Examiners for Highway & City Street Superintendents must review. Such would provide more efficient use of staff and resources. Individuals holding both a Class A and Class B license could renew both simultaneously. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 738: Lindstrom. To index current SS exemptions from state taxation for inflation, like state income tax brackets, beginning in 2020. Not adjusting the income thresholds allows inflation to erode SS purchasing power. NE is only 1 of 13 states that taxes SS income. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 743: Lindstrom. To eliminate a requirement for issuance of paper certificates for completion of insurance producer continuing-education activities. To eliminate a 40 hr. education pre-licensing requirement for insurance producers. Prohibit unlicensed adjusters. Prohibit anyone from misrepresenting that they work for an insurer or from making an agreement to repair property that adjuster adjusted. The bill requires itemized description of the work, materials, labor, fees, and total amount paid furnished to the insured and insurer before commencement of repair or replacement work. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 745: Watermeier. To allow $5,000 or more of refunds of local sales and use taxes to return to localities in monthly or annual allotments. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 749: Williams. To repeal a $5 per page recording fee collected for filing a biennial nonprofit organization report. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 751: Audit Comm. To require that only reports of regulations mandated by law, instead of all regulations, reported to the Legislative Audit Committee, regarding why regulations have not begun in timely manner. No longer a requirement that the Executive Board or a standing committee receive annual reports about mandatory regulations not promulgated within the time frame required by law. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 757: Morfeld. To require companies in NE that hold personal information to implement and maintain security procedures for such data. If info given to a 3rd party, same security procedures must be in place. If a security breach, no charge for placing, lifting, or removing a security freeze. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 758: Hughes. To urge state natural resource districts and interlocal entities that purchase private land for the development of a streamflow recharging project to make voluntary payments in lieu of taxes to a county. This legislation will offset property tax revenues lost to 2 counties. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 773: Clements. To criminalize threats of physical injury or property damage or intimidation by electronic communication like a text message or email. To prohibit possession of screening devices or encoding machines to obtain information fraudulently from encoded payment cards without permission of card user, issuer, or merchant. Penalty is a Class III misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 3 months in jail, a $500 fine, or both. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 775: Stinner. To authorize the Game & Parks Commission to use the design-build and construction/manager contracting method for state parks system projects. Colleges, schools, cities, and the Dept. of Transportation already have authorization to use this method, which helps governments more quickly and efficiently build, saving state money. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 793: Riepe. To remove preferential child developmental disability services from high school graduates and those under 21. The state can maximize the use of federal and state funds to support more individuals with developmental disabilities through a waiver. The bill limits services to those transitioning from school upon reaching 21, if insufficient funding occurs. To help with options counseling so that elderly and those with disabilities remain in their homes and communities instead of going to expensive nursing homes. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 803: Stinner. To authorize the state board of education to adopt regulations that exempt a pre-K ed program from teacher and administrator certification requirements. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 812: Lindstrom. That state-chartered banks have the same rights, powers, privileges, benefits, and immunities as a federally- chartered bank doing business in Nebraska as of January 1, 2018. Because of state constitutional restrictions on delegation of legislative authority, this statute amended annually. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 865: Crawford. Currently, cities of the first class, second class, and villages prohibited from suspending the requirement that an ordinance read by title on 3 different days for ordinances related to the annexation of territory. LB865 extends this prohibition to cities of the primary and metropolitan classes. GOOD BILL/PASSED

LB 874: Urban Committee. To authorize the state auditor to audit a TIF project whenever he believes it necessary or requested by a local government. To require a planning commission hearing on a TIF plan. Require cost-benefit analyses on TIF projects made available to the public. Also require such analysis to consider the impact of a TIF project on school districts. Require that municipalities conduct a substandard and blighted analysis on whether a TIF project meets requirements. An annual TIF report provided to every municipal government. Provides that the annual report on TIF projects to the governing body also sent to the governing body of each county, school district, community college, educational service unit, and natural resources district whose property taxes affected by TIF. A test to ensure that plan redevelopment not feasible and would not occur unless a TIF and protects against tax base erosion. Allow such projects to include a provision that requires all property taxes levied on a redevelopment area paid before taxes become delinquent in order to receive TIF funding. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 902: Bostelman. To exempt from public records information gained by state, county, or locality about personal firearm registration, ownership, sale, or use contained in an application, permit, or license issued by authorities. This information could become targeted by ID thieves or criminals seeking firearms. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 909: Bostelman. No hazardous materials endorsement needed for the holder of a Class I commercial driver’s license who transports diesel fuel and works for a custom harvester, ag chemical business, farm retail outlet or supplier, or livestock feeder, and vehicle bears a flammable or combustible placard. The bill would require the DMV to incorporate into its electronic reporting system a process for salvage and junked vehicles and motorboats. To permit online auctions to obtain vehicle titles for cars bought for salvage. A motor vehicle exempt from tax if an armed service member or his or her spouse serving in Nebraska is a resident of a state other than Nebraska. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 913: McDonnell. To criminalize assault with bodily fluids against health care professionals at hospitals or clinics. This Class I misdemeanor would merit up to 1 yr. in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. A Class IIIA felony, with punishment of 3 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both, if assailant assaulting with bodily fluid has AIDS or hepatitis. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 921: Lowe. To not require a license for specific categories of farm building construction. GOOD BILL/ GENERAL FILE

LB 923: Morfeld. Offer civil liability immunity for law enforcement officers, agency contractors, and their employees who administer naloxone to drug abusers. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 944: Scheer. Spending would grow only 0.5% over the next 2 fiscal years. To lower state agency operations budget by only 2% in FY 2018-19. The NU and state and community college budgets would see only a 1% reduction that fiscal year. Under the proposed budget, the U. system would lose $11 million in funding in FY 2017-18 and $23 million in FY 2018-19. The University system pays former liberal State Sen. Heath Mello $165,000 annually as a lobbyist to lobby the state for more money for the U. system. NU enrollment has risen by 7%, admin salaries by 40% since 2011. An explosion of administrators bloats the college budget. State spending on admin and managerial U. positions rose over 3 years ending in 2017 more than other state employees. The U. could spend millions from its cash reserves and lower admin costs with no damage to its bond rating. It always threatens to raise tuition rates in order to rouse students and their families against spending cuts. To reduce appropriations by $48 million, 1%-2% across the board for NE departments and agencies. Sec. 71 would disallow funds for organizations that perform abortions, assists with them, counsels, or refers for them. Sec. 71 would bring NE into compliance with federal intent for Title X funding of preventive health services, cancer screenings, and family planning. These federal grants cannot fund abortions, so the bill clause seeks to deny funding for entities that legally, physically, and financially offer abortions or counseling or referrals for abortions, thereby excluding Planned Parenthood. Currently, NE entities are using these funds for abortion services and counseling and referrals for abortions, in violation of federal and state law, according to 2 state audits. The ACLU and NE Planned Parenthood opposed the bill. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 953: Albrecht. To require the worker compensation court to approve a lump sum cash settlement when employee eligible for Medicare or is a Medicare beneficiary, thereby streamlining the settlement process. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 957: Lowe. Specifically allow the method of payment by check, direct deposit, prepaid card, or similar electronic payment system, if the employer, worker compensation insurer, or risk management pool and the employee agree that payment made by these methods. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 990: Wayne. Anyone under 25 prohibited from owning a gun if adjudicated in juvenile court of a felony, fugitive status, misdemeanor domestic violence, or subject of a domestic violence, harassment, or sex assault protection order and violated such order. Exceptions for military service and law officers on duty or during training. Violators of a 1st offense will face a Class IV felony and 2 yrs. in prison, $10,000 fine, or both. Violators will face a Class IIIA felony for a 2nd or subsequent offense, with penalty of up to 3 years in prison and 18 months post-release supervision, a $10,000 fine, or both. The NE Fraternal Order of Police, Omaha Police Dept., law officer unions, and Douglas County Attorney office supported the bill. The NE Criminal Defense Attorneys Assoc. opposed it. The bill will reduce gun violence. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 993: Friesen. Amends various provisions of the 911 Service System Act in order to move Nebraska forward in its implementation, coordination, operation, management, funding, and modernization of its Emergency 911 service system. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 1000: Briese. Bonds cannot become issued under the Public Facilities Construction Act without a vote of the people at a primary or general election. GOOD BILL/PASSED

LB 1008: Bostelman. To increase the amounts of liquidated damages for anyone who illegally sells, buys, or possesses wildlife like mountain sheep, elk, or whitetail deer. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 1015: Briese. To withhold from public worker compensation injury reports information that reveals employee identity. GOOD BILL/ GENERAL FILE

LB 1034: Riepe. Other child care program facilities that operate in accredited schools can meet standards for care and protection for kids under the same Education Dept. regulations as the school. To provide another method to obtain an alcohol and drug counseling license or mental health practice license through state reciprocity. To exempt from licensing rules doctors licensed in good standing in laws of other state jurisdictions who accompany sports teams or organizations for events. Exemption limited to treatment of team members. The NE Medical Association supported the bill. Every other state in the Big Ten Conference has such a law. To authorize Nebraska to participate in the EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact (REPLICA). Licensed Nebraska EMS personnel will gain the ability to practice in other participating states, and those licensed in other REPLICA states could provide services in Nebraska. All participating states must meet background check and safety standards to ensure quality care. There are currently 12 states participating in the compact, including Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming. The bill also states that member states shall expedite the processing of licensure applications submitted by veterans, active military service members, their spouses, and members of the National Guard.  The NE Emergency Medical Services Assoc. supported the bill. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 1038: Thibodeau. To extend the deadline for online voter registration to vote in person to midnight of the 3rd Friday before the election. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 1065: Murante. Permit use of electronic poll books and digital images for confirmation of voter identity. Books will include the registration information and the digital signatures for the registered voters of each precinct. Digital signatures in the possession of the Secretary of State, the election commissioner, or county clerk are not public records. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 1069: Brasch. To update teaching of foundational knowledge of civics, geography, American history, and social studies in our state public schools. That students should learn to be competent and patriotic citizens and understand our U.S. and NE constitutions. All 8th & 11th Graders must take a 100-question civics test similar to one given immigrants. Student scores would go to parents or guardians. School districts now do not comply with current state law about teaching American history, government, and traditional values. Ernie Chambers opposed the bill. GOOD BILL/ GENERAL FILE

LB 1089: Smith. To streamline and simplify the homestead exemption program by merging the classification for an un-remarried spouse of a serviceperson who died while on active duty into the classification granted for disabled veterans or their spouses, clarify language regarding transfers of homestead exemptions after a recipient moves, eliminate the difference between original applications for a homestead exemption and the certification that nothing has changed in later years, and require the notice of rejection of a homestead exemption for any reason sent within 10 days after the rejection. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 1090: Smith. To stop Nebraska taxpayers from paying more in state income tax resulting from the federal tax alterations. This tax revision ended the personal exemption credit and altered standard and itemized deductions. New state exemptions and increased standard deduction amounts, $6,750 for singles and $13,000 for couples. This bill would allow Nebraskans to retain their personal and family exemptions. For the 2018 tax year, each credit is worth $134 for individuals and each dependent, adjusted annually for inflation. Individual income brackets would adjust, personal exemption credit and standard deduction based on the CPI. With no adjustment, a family of 4 typically would pay additional $536 annually, some couples suffering a 160% increase, and the state would have gained $226 million. Liberal Senators Harr and Krist opposed the bill. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 1110: Vargas. To require the Ed Dept. to classify and report to the public the performance of all public schools and school districts annually on or before December 31 of each calendar year. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 1119: Riepe. To begin a 3-year direct primary care health care pilot program plan within the state insurance program. College systems not included. A high deductible and low deductible option for state employees. This concept is expanding because of its cost effectiveness. A provider would offer primary care, coordinate care, oversee care transitions, and minimize the risk of care gaps. Health risk assessments. Providers would receive a monthly payment of a per-member, per-month fee for each patient. Minimum standards and patient satisfaction measurements which providers continually monitor. Individuals with direct primary care agreements see doctors more often, resulting in early interventions, fewer emergency room and urgent care visits, and better health results. CHI Health was the first health system to offer direct primary care to its employees. The result: better care at lower cost. Providers can offer wholesale prices for RX medicines, medical imaging, medical equipment, and lab services. Afterwards, the dept. could continue to offer direct primary care health plans. Patients need not worry about co-pays, deductibles, or insurance claims. Individuals would receive at least 50% of an insurer saved costs for each service chosen from a company participating in the Right to Shop Act. This option has saved New Hampshire $12 million and patients there $1 million. Participating insurers must offer incentives for those who choose services from network providers. Participating insurers also must disclose allowed amount for non-emergency admission, procedure, or service within 3 working days and ID out of pocket costs. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 1120: Larson/Thibodeau. To require stripper bottle clubs to abide by state liquor control commission regulations and obtain $300 state licenses like bars, reviewed by local governments. Such private clubs have underage drinking, drunkenness, and sex in private rooms. Law officers cannot enter without a search warrant. In 2011, the commission denied an owner a liquor license in Lincoln, after which he filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against the liquor board and Lincoln officials. To require aggressive music licensing agencies to register with the state revenue dept. and file a yearly electronic copy of each performing rights agreement that provides for payment of royalties from NE proprietors to licensing agencies regarding music copyrights. GOOD BILL/ PASSED

LB 1130: Kuehn. Tax exempt organizations under 501©3 and 501©4 that contribute to several state candidates must report to the state accountability and disclosure commission the names of all donors and all sources of revenue, if income for a candidate exceeds $1,000 from such groups, only under current IRS disclosure rules. GOOD BILL/ GENERAL FILE

LB 1132: Pansing Brooks. To allow victims of sex trafficking to petition a court following conviction to set aside and seal the conviction. Under this provision, conviction, civil disabilities, and other disqualifications nullified. Those who receive pardons also can request criminal records sealed. GOOD BILL/ PASSED


BAD BILLS.

LB 42: Hilkemann. Another state mandate, to require safety seats for kids until 8 instead of until 6 and mandate that kids ride in rear-facing seats until 2. Children younger than 8 could not ride in a front seat. Parents, not the state, can make best decisions for children safety. Fines of $25 plus court costs. BAD BILL/ PASSED

LB 44: Watermeier. To force all businesses without an outlet in the state to charge Nebraska sales tax for online sales if sales are 200+ or if over $100,000 in total sales annually. Each online business must forward annual sales report paperwork records for each purchaser to the state revenue dept. and send every buyer an annual reminder of purchases and how much each owes. Retailers must turn in their own customers. $10 fine for each failure to report. A $2,500-$10,000 fine for noncompliance. The dept. of revenue could not know how large a fine to levy, because it would not know the number of purchases by customers. This measure would influence some online businesses to quit operating in our state, depriving our citizens of market choices, because of non-compliance fines. Home-based and other small businesses would suffer while selling online because of high overhead costs. Requiring Internet companies to remit sales taxes is a congressional issue. Lawsuits would ensue because of a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling against such a tax. Liberal senators only want to raise more revenue. BAD BILL/ KILLED

LB 81: Blood. To raise from $5 to $25 the fee charged for each application for a handgun permit to cover the cost of a criminal history background check, a bill to target lawful gun owners. A permit fee should not be a profit maker for county governments. BAD BILL/KILLED

LB 98: Friesen. To extend a 3c temporary maximum property tax levying authority through FY 2025-2026 to several NRDs. NRDs already have a 4.5c base levy and 1c supplemental levy that they can use for groundwater management projects. BAD BILL/ KILLED

LB 158: Pansing Brooks. To require all counties to pay for legal representation for youths in juvenile court throughout the legal process, unless juvenile is in a pre-trial diversion program, adding another expensive unfunded mandate to counties. Many counties have no attorney familiar with juvenile law and thus unable to provide adequate counsel. 90 counties without juvenile justice court systems handle cases effectively with no state mandate. The Douglas County Attorney’s Office predicted an additional $7,500+ per year cost to the county, if LB158 passed. Amendments to create a Juvenile Indigent Defense Fund to offer grants to counties to provide legal counsel to poor delinquents would result in a $1 hike in county, district, and juvenile court filing fees and erode parental rights to choose legal counsel.  BAD BILL/ GENERAL FILE

LB 194: Vargas. An individual pay day loan could not exceed $500. Minimum length of loan contract restricted to 6 months. A borrower unable to pay could obtain a 1 year extension. A lender can collect 1 returned check charge for each delayed deposit but not to exceed $15 and court costs. The leftist NE Appleseed supported the bill. Current regulations already prevent borrowers from continuing rolling over old loans when unable to pay. System already offers people small loans when banks will not loan them money. Few complaints against these companies in NE. A similar law passed in Colorado saw 2/3rds of payday loan businesses close. BAD BILL/ PASSED

LB 256: Briese. To establish a new bureaucracy with identification and registration database in NE cities to force owners to register residential and commercial properties vacant for 180 days or longer. Owner residential fees of $250, commercial fees of $1,000, levied annually or every 6 months. Unpaid fees and fines will lead to liens. Cities will acquire buildings that they cannot sell or afford to demolish, adding to expenses. Exempt are Omaha and Lincoln. Not exempt are properties used temporarily, as for hunting. The NE Realtors Assoc. opposed the bill. BAD BILL/PASSED

LB 350: McCollister. To allow criminals sentenced to jail or prison to petition to have convictions eliminated once freed. BAD BILL/ PASSED/VETOED.

LB 449: Chambers. To repeal the prairie dog management act that allows county officials to enter private property to eliminate prairie dog colonies, if the landowner had not done so within 60 days. Landowners who do not comply can face a fine of up to $1,500. A county can file a foreclosure lawsuit to recover such debt. The costs of controlling prairie dog populations would transfer to invaded property taxpayers but should remain the responsibility of landowners who choose to allow prairie dogs to spread from their land. LB 449 is not a landowner protection bill, because repeal of these statutes actually would infringe on the property rights of responsible landowners. BAD BILL/ PASSED/ VETOED

LB 496: Stinner. To allow counties with less than 100,000 people in rural and poverty areas and in cities with high unemployment and poverty, after a public hearing and housing study, to use tax increment financing to construct housing for workers. TIF passed as a way to implement urban renewal in blighted areas, not as a statewide economic development tool. Using TIFs to build housing will mean more kids in the local schools, which will have less property tax because of the TIF property tax deferments. Only the developers will benefit. The bill will place other developers at a disadvantage and distort the valuation system, also cause more TIF abuse. BAD BILL/ PASSED

LB 515: Bolz. To create a bureaucratic state integrated education and training grant program to community colleges while funds available. High schools already should be handling such duties to instill skills. BAD BILL/ GENERAL FILE

LB 548 Am. 2595: Lindstrom. To allow school districts additional bonding authority to fund deficits in pension systems. A majority of a school board could vote to float a bond, without a vote of district residents. OP$ requested this bill amendment, because its total unfunded liability over 30 years will reach $900 million, requiring a huge property tax hike. OPS also has enormous other debt. Currently, the state and legislature have no enforcement mechanism to ensure that OPS complies with its funding commitments. BAD AMENDMENT/ KILLED

LB 611: Stinner. To require comprehensive yearly reporting of federal funds received by state agencies, funds involved in the state budget process. Fed funds constitute 30% of the total budget now. This reporting would improve senator ability to plan and prioritize. However, the bill excluded divulging of information by state universities and colleges. BAD BILL/ SELECT FILE

LB 614: Wayne. To allow cities to use more than the current 4/10ths of 1% of taxable valuation of the city to spend local dollars on economic development programs, thus allowing cities to splurge additional tax money on schemes favoring only specific constituents. Such economic incentives never have helped cities with economic results. The liberal League of NE Municipalities supported the bill. BAD BILL/ PASSED

LB 776: McCollister. To force every city and county jail to make available to prisoners a prepaid phone call system, collect phone call system, or a combination of both, including videoconferencing. Fees for collect calls could reach only 25c per minute, 21c per minute from a debit account. An 11-member Jail Standards bureaucracy will ensure reasonable rates. Current phone fees pay for inmate services educational programming like GED classes, behavior management, re-entry programs, and employment preparation, expenses that otherwise would consume property taxes. The bill creates new legal rights for criminals and a new excuse for litigation. This bill would cost Douglas County Jail about $616,000 annually, adversely impacting the ability of the jail to offer programs to inmates, like job and life-skills training, GED testing, and job-readiness training. Private companies may no longer want to provide services to smaller counties. The ACLU and Ernie Chambers supported this bill, another unfunded mandate. BAD BILL/ PASSED

LB 841: Pansing-Brooks. If the state prison population runs over 140% of design capacity in July, 2020, an overcrowding emergency exists, and the Parole Board must immediately consider additional inmates for accelerated parole until inmate population drops to 125% of capacity. The Parole Board must submit to the Legislature a plan before Dec. 2018 that shows the process to implement the accelerated parole. The bill will place citizens at risk of harm. The ACLU supported the bill. BAD BILL/ PASSED

LB 873: Urban Affairs. Comm. To allow cities to convey property for use as public spaces, community gardens, and wildlife conservation areas and allow for issuance of debt and a Land Bank to issue bonds without a vote of the people. To force each large NE city to adopt a comprehensive plan or plan update for early childhood education that assesses the number of qualified licensed early childhood education programs for kids under 6, evaluates their ability and quality, and promotes such. To allow 1st & 2nd class cities to make grants and loans for early childhood infrastructure development. BAD BILL/ PASSED/ VETOED

LB 986: Hansen. To allow creation of Neighborhood Improvement Districts that may impose property taxes upon each property within the district. City councils, except in Omaha, could draw boundaries and appoint a board or designate a current neighborhood association board as the improvement district board. 30% of the assessable property in a neighborhood could petition a city to create a district. The city then could impose a special property tax, despite opposition from many residents. This arrangement closely resembles the communist activist-inspired neighborhood bands in Cuba and Venezuela. BAD BILL/ GENERAL FILE

LB 998: Walz. To provide every educational service unit with a social worker to train teachers and other school personnel and cooperate with parents and behavioral mental health providers to provide social services. The ESU would hire a program director. Social workers would use screening and assessment tools to ID students they believe need services and match students with appropriate mental health providers, notwithstanding parental wishes or input regarding screening, referrals, and treatment. Each school building must designate 1 staffer to work with the social worker. Maintaining case files on individual students would not guarantee privacy. Initial cost: $3.6 million. Ongoing cost: $1.2 million annually, all from private funding that might not all materialize. The program duplicated existing HHS programs and would sunset in 2022. The teachers union supported the bill. BAD BILL/ PASSED/ VETOED

LB 1052: Pansing Brooks. To force all NE school districts to offer special reading instruction for students with dyslexia, even if not medically diagnosed. Teacher education must include instruction in dyslexia. The teachers union supported this bill. BAD BILL/ PASSED

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