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Attending public hearings on two of my bills to aid veterans
LB 109 changes residency requirements for veterans attending a public college or university. It brings a bill we passed last year, LB 740, in compliance with new federal law. Under LB 109, veterans and their spouses and dependents who leave active duty service within the past three years are able to receive resident tuition right away. The bill advanced from the Education Committee on a 8-0 vote. LB 272 creates a voluntary veterans preference in private employment for veterans and spouses of 100% disabled veterans. The Government Committee advanced LB 272 on an unanimous vote.
LB 219 adopts the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act, creating a more thorough, clear and predictable process for military families under a parenting plan and facing deployment. The intent of the legislation is to create a framework for judges and parents to establish a plan for reducing disruption for the child when a military member with parenting time gets deployed. Any arrangements made to accommodate deployment end when deployment ends. The Judiciary Committee advanced LB 219 on a 5-0-2 vote, with two members present not voting.
LB 107 eliminates integrated practice agreements for nurse practitioners. This bill reduces unnecessary government regulation and improves access to healthcare for Nebraskans, particularly in rural areas, at no cost to Nebraska taxpayers. This change is supported by groups such as AARP, the Center for Rural Affairs, Americans for Prosperity and the Nebraska Association of School Boards. LB 107 advanced unanimously for the Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday. I anticipate floor debate on these bills to begin as early as next week.
What is a Committee Statement?
When a bill is reported out of the Executive Board or one of the 14 standing committees, the committee clerk files a committee statement summarizing the content of the bill and committee action on the bill. If there is a committee amendment, the statement summarizes the amendment and how it changes the underlying bill. The committee statement reports how senators on the committee voted on the motion to advance the bill to General File.
For example, if you look at the committee statement for LB 272 (which can be found here [link to http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/104/PDF/CS/LB272.pdf]), you can see a list of the testifiers who spoke in support of the legislation and their affiliation. The committee statement also tells you whether or not a bill faced opposition at the hearing.
Health and Human Services Committee Hearings Held
Last week, the Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on LB 23 regarding the credentialing of Engineers and Architects. LB 23, a bill introduced by Senator Bob Krist, was drafted with the support of both professional organizations. The bill advanced unanimously from the committee and currently sits on General File. The Department of Health and Human Services oversees the licensing of engineers and architects, which is why LB 23 was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee. One of the Department’s important roles is oversight over the licensing and credentialing of professionals in the state.
This Week in Urban Affairs
Discussions in the Urban Affairs Committee this week will return to the statutes governing cities and villages in Nebraska. Two of three bills being heard by the committee this week deal with municipalities’ extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction, commonly referred to as the ETJ. A municipality’s ETJ consists of the contiguous unincorporated land within a certain radius of its corporate limits.
Municipalities have the authority to enforce certain ordinances and regulations within their ETJ, including subdivision regulations, zoning regulations, building codes, and nuisance ordinances. This is generally intended to ensure that infrastructure within the ETJ meets city standards, so that cities do not bear the cost of fixing substandard infrastructure upon annexation.
The size of a municipality’s ETJ varies according to the classification of the city or village. State law currently classifies Nebraska municipalities into five categories based on population: 1) cities of the metropolitan class (300,000 or more); 2) cities of the primary class (100,001 to 299,999); 3) cities of the first class (5,001 to 100,000); 4) cities of the second class (801 to 5,000); and villages (100 to 800). Cities of the metropolitan (i.e. Omaha) and primary (i.e. Lincoln) class have a three-mile ETJ, cities of the first class (i.e. Bellevue) have a two-mile ETJ; and cities of the second class (i.e. Springfield) and villages (i.e. Murray) have a one-mile ETJ.
This week, the Urban Affairs Committee will hear three bills, all of which deal with municipalities:
LB 295: Require municipalities to have county approval before enforcing ordinances in the extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction.
LB 304: Adopt the Municipal Custodianship for Dissolved Homeowners Associations Act.
LB 266: Change provisions relating to jurisdiction for municipalities to enforce nuisance ordinances.
To watch these and all other hearings online , visithttp://www.netnebraska.org/basic-page/television/live-demand-state-government
Town Hall meeting
I will be holding a town hall meeting on Thursday, February 12th at 6:30 in the Symposium room in the Muller Administration Building on the Bellevue University Campus (1000 Galvin Rd. South, Bellevue, NE 68005). Follow the signs to the Administration building, enter the glass doors, and take the elevator to the lower level. I look forward to updating everyone on legislation introduced so far this session and addressing any questions or concerns you may have. See you there!