Over the Fence
A bi-weekly newsletter from Senator Tom Hansen
April 14, 2011
A number of major issues made their way closer to passage this week. Here are some highlights of the past week:
Bills that advanced to the second round of debate include:
LB 463 – Introduced at the request of the Governor, would require that schools have policies to deal with extended absences.
LB 500 – Makes things hanging from a rear view mirror a traffic offense rather than a Class V misdemeanor – which is a $100 fine.
LB 357 – Would authorize an increase in local option sales and use tax. It would allow cities to increase a sales tax rate of two percent. Current law limits cities to one and one half percent. Cities can use this additional authority after a vote of the people and must describe the proposed use of the revenue collected on the ballot.
Bills that advanced to Final Reading:
LB 499 – Changes provisions relating to filing for office, petitions for nomination, registering to vote, and voting under the Election Act.
LB 112 – Provides exemptions from motor carrier regulations for certain transportation by children’s service providers.
LB 305 – Adopted an amendment to the bill that would allow a study on the feasibility of establishing a state meat inspection program and a report on what resources would be needed to develop and maintain such a program. It also would recommend a fee schedule to fund the program.
LB 385 – Introduced at the request of the Governor, terminates provisions of the Low-Income Home Energy Conservation Act.
LB 35 – Increases the maximum renewal period for an oversize vehicle.
LB 204 – Requires blood-lead screening and/or testing prior to enrollment in public school for high risk children.
LB 431 – Adopts the Health Care Quality Improvement Act which revises and updates the laws governing the medical peer review process, by defining the health care providers who may conduct peer review, the activities which constitute peer review.
LB 558 – Changes provisions relating to focus schools, focus programs, and magnet schools.
LB 337 – Changes the timeframes for audits by the Auditor of Public Accounts.
LB 628 – Changes provisions relating to sale and permit donation of certain personal property of political subdivisions to non profit entities.
LB 235 – Changes provisions relating to state aid to schools. It sets state aid to schools at $822 million for 2011-2012 and $880 million for 2012-2013.
LB 229 – Changes the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund and provides an additional consideration for grants for the Water Resources Cash Fund to access $3.3 million in lottery funds for each of the next 3 years.
LB 297 – Changes the Local, Civic, Cultural, and Convention Center Act and strengthens tourism in rural Nebraska.
LB 388 – Introduced at the request of the Governor, adopts the Site and Building Development Act and changes provisions relating to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
LB 600 – Provides for a quality assurance assessment to be placed on nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities.
Bills that were discussed, but did NOT advance:
LB 512 – Would make mental health records accessible to officials doing background checks for firearm purchases. This bill was discussed, but no vote to advance was taken at this time.
LB 698 – Would have removed labeling at the pumps of gas containing ethanol. After an attempt to stall the bill by a number of senators, Sen. Christensen indefinitely postponed the bill for further consideration this year.
Under the Rules of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature the Speaker “is authorized to designate up to five bills…as major proposals during each legislative session.” This year Speaker Flood designated two major proposals: LB 84 is the roads funding bill and LB 397 is the CIR reform bill. These are two landmark bills and will be placed on the agenda soon.
Have a Great Weekend!