Over the Fence
A bi-weekly newsletter from Senator Tom Hansen
April 1, 2011
Well, it was a week of compromises. An issue that was sure to create a lot of debate appears to have been worked out. A compromise plan to overhaul the state’s collective bargaining system for public workers has been offered by Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop, chairperson of the Business and Labor Committee. The plan has been amended into LB 397 and will most likely be on the agenda for debate next week.
Another compromise was reached on a bill that will divert half of the funds from the Nebraska Environmental Trust to help pay for river recovery projects. LB 229 introduced by Valentine Sen. Deb Fischer was amended by reducing the withdrawals from the Water Resources Cash Fund to $3.3 million per year for three years, with the possibility of extending them for an additional three years. The bill was advanced to the second round of debate.
Bills that advanced to second round of debate include:
LB 35 – Introduced by Scottsbluff Sen. John Harms would increase the maximum renewal period for an oversize permit for a vehicle transporting sugar beets, grain, or other seasonally harvested products.
LB 204 – Introduced by Omaha Sen. Brenda Council would require blood-lead testing of high risk children prior to enrollment in school.
LB 431 – Introduced by Kearney Sen. Galen Hadley 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 and the types of committees that can conduct peer review.
LB 558 – Introduced by Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist changes provisions relating to focus schools, focus programs, and magnet schools.
LB 512 – Introduced by Imperial Sen. Mark Christensen would make mental health records accessible when conducting background checks for firearm purchases.
LB 628 – Introduced by Omaha Sen. Tanya Cook would allow a county, city, village or public utility to donate any motor vehicle that has reached the end of its useful life to any charitable organization described in the Internal Revenue Code.
LB 112 – Introduced by Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash exempts motor carriers engaged in DHHS comprehensive services transport from motor carrier regulations by the Public Service Commission.
LB 305 – Introduced by O’Neill Sen. Tyson Larson, would implement a state meat and poultry inspection program.
LB 286 – Introduced by Omaha Sen. Bob Krist would continue support of the wine and grape industry. The current application fee of $500 for this license will go to the Winery and Grape Producers Promotional Fund indefinitely.
LB 479 – Introduced by Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop would allow eighteen year olds who are victims of a sexual assault or domestic violence to be examined and treated by a physician without the consent of or notification of their parent, parents, guardian, or any other person having custody of the victim.
LB 200 – Introduced by Omaha Sen. Brenda Council establishes the Nebraska Healthy Food Financing Act which would establish a financing program for public and private entities to increase access to fresh and nutritional food in underserved communities.
LB 176 – Introduced by Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery authorizes the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission to order violators to pay hearing costs in contested cases.
Bills that advanced to Final Reading include:
LB 100 – Introduced by Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash, establishes that temporary mental illness induced by voluntary intoxication cannot be the basis of a not responsible by reason of insanity defense. It also eliminates the use of voluntary intoxication to negate state of mind elements such as premeditation or intent which may be required to prove a criminal offense.
LB 387 – Introduced by Kearney Sen. Galen Hadley, at the request of the Governor, creates a new fund, using both new and existing resources to support research, innovation and development in Nebraska small businesses and public and private colleges and universities. The bill asks for over $5 million from the General Fund.
LB 389 – Introduced by Bellevue Sen. Abbie Cornett, at the request of the Governor, adopts the Angel Investment Tax Credit Act. This bill asks for $145,500 in General Funds the first year and in the second year there is a reduction of $2 million in revenue.
LB 546 – Introduced by Grand Island Sen. Mike Gloor, changes provisions relating to the state building code and local building or construction codes.
LB 421 – Introduced by Louisville Sen. Dave Pankonin, increases the state park entry permit fees $5.00.
Last week the Legislature advanced a bill that directs sales taxes to fund roads projects. Under LB 84, introduced by Valentine Sen. Deb Fischer, one half percent of the state’s 5.5 percent sales tax would be dedicated to road projects for 20 years. Estimates from the Department of Revenue indicate that the revenue from the half percent sales tax will equal $125 million in FY13-14 and $144 million in FY14-15. Several amendments are pending including one that would cap the allocation to $125 million, another one that would eliminate bonding, and also one to reduce the first year allocation amount from $125 million to $75 million.
And finally…if you can…please stop by my Town Hall meeting (sponsored by the Lincoln County Farm Bureau) on Saturday, April 2 at the Holiday Inn in North Platte 9:00 am to 12:00 noon!