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LB788 & LB900
Another busy week of hearings and debate has passed at the Unicameral, and as with every week it is my priority to keep everyone in District 1 informed on key legislation at the Capitol. This past week, two of my bills that will cut out unnecessary red tape and improve government efficiency were heard in committee. LB 788 and LB 790 will both assist in the goal of making the government work more efficiently and work more for the people.
LB 788 would amend the due date for the annual Worker Training Board Report from the start of the fiscal year (July 1) to the end of the calendar year (December 31). This report is submitted yearly to the Governor and details the activities of the program financed by the Nebraska Training and Support cash fund. The bill additionally makes it easier on contractors to become registered by amending the application fee away from a set fee of $40, and replacing it with a flexible fee of up to $40. LB788 will also cut back at unnecessary red tape by repealing three laws. First, the Employee Agency Laws states that no person, firm or corporation in this state shall open, operate, or maintain a private employment agency for hire or help without first obtaining a license from the Commissioner of Labor. We used a completely different employment model than we did when this bill passed in 1921, and only two Private Employment Agencies are currently licensed in the state. It is unlikely that either actually meets the requirement of the law, and it is unknown why either is even registered. Second, the Service Letter Law states that an employee of any public service corporation or a contractor who works for one may request upon discharge or voluntary quitting a service letter from the employer including the service rendered by the employee, the duration of employment and the cause of discharge or quitting. Repeal of this law is being sought as it is redundant, because most information included in this law must already be provided for unemployment purposes. Finally, the High Voltage Law states that before any operations are to be performed within ten feet of any overhead high voltage conductors, or whenever any equipment in transit can come within four feet of any high voltage conductors, those responsible for the work done or moving of equipment shall be responsible for compliance with the law. Such person or persons shall notify the operator of the conductors and the Commissioner of Labor on forms detailing the time, place, duration, and nature of the work, as well as precautions taken against accidental contact. Neither the department nor OSHA has a record of receiving notification because of this law in the past ten years.
LB 790 is a bill that I introduced that authorizes the Department of Administrative Services to use group contracts entered into with political subdivisions of other states, and also authorizes the State Purchasing Bureau to take the lead in negotiating when collaborating with other government entities. Nebraska is currently a member of the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO), which is a non-profit focused on helping its members achieve success as public procurement leaders in their states. Currently, NASPO is made up of the central procurement offices in all fifty states, plus the District of Columbia and the territories of the United States. As a member, Nebraska has the ability to purchase off of and negotiate with Nebraska subdivisions such as cities for goods and services. This bill would allow the state of Nebraska to enter into similar contracts with subdivisions of other states for technology and other interests. As a member of NASPO, states can be designated as “lead states” for contract negotiation purposes, which can lead to lower prices of goods and more rebates for Nebraska as a lead state. However, under current statutes Nebraska cannot be named a lead state and LB 790 would change that. There are currently 23 states that are leading at least one project and another 13 states are leading more than one project. Passing LB 790 would be extremely beneficial to Nebraska, and gives the state another tool to negotiate and purchase products and give more opportunities for lower costs.
Both bills will improve the state of Nebraska, and both are beneficial for increasing government efficiency. LB 788 will make it easier for contractors to gain certification with the state and cut out unnecessary or outdated practices. LB 790 improves the State’s ability to cooperate with other states while gaining additional cost savings.
As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: firstname.lastname@example.org