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Next Thursday, February 19 the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on LB 166, a bill I introduced to create more transparency in campaign spending. Under the bill, each campaign committee must submit an end-of-the-year bank balance statement to the Accountability and Disclosure Commission. This statement will be compared against campaign committees’ end of year statements by Accountability and Disclosure Commission staff. Currently no check exists to ensure that campaign funds match campaign reports. LB 166 also prohibits loans from campaign funds, increases penalties for violations of the Accountability and Disclosure Act, and adds enforcement power for the commission to require restitution as a consequence of a violation. The hearing will take place at 1:30 in room 1507 at the Capitol. You can watch live at netnebraska.org/capitol
LB 219 Advances to Final Reading
On Wednesday, the Legislature advanced LB 219 to Final Reading, the third and final round of debate before a bill is sent to the Governor for his signature. LB 219 is a bill I highlighted in a previous update. It adopts the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act to provide a clear, legal framework for parents and judges to use to make arrangements for children subject to a Parenting Plan when a military parent is deployed. The bill creates a process that is consistent and predictable for military families during a time that is often anything but consistent and predictable. I look forward to this bill’s passage and putting the system in place to address these issues.
This Week in Urban Affairs
The Urban Affairs Committee has jurisdiction over most state and local building codes, and since 2007 has heard bills dealing with a wide variety of codes, including building codes, energy codes, and plumbing codes.
In 1987, the State of Nebraska adopted its first statewide building code to govern the construction, reconstruction, alteration, and repair of buildings in Nebraska. The goal of the state building code is to protect the life, health, property, and public welfare of Nebraskans by adopting minimum standards for building design and construction, and to provide for the use of modern and innovative construction techniques.
Like most states, Nebraska has adopted as its state building code a series of model codes published by the International Codes Council, a national association that develops model building codes and standards. The current state building code consists of three such model codes: 1) the International Building Code, or IBC, which covers all new construction except one- and two-family dwellings; 2) the International Residential Code, or IRC, which covers new construction of one- and two-family dwellings; and 3) the International Existing Building Code, or IEBC, which covers repair, alteration, addition, and change of occupancy for existing buildings. New editions of these codes are published every three years, and the state has currently adopted the 2009 versions of the codes, with the exception of the residential fire sprinkler mandate in the IRC.
In addition to a bill on the state building code, this week the Urban Affairs Committee will hear two bills dealing with first-class cities, which are cities with a population between 5,001 and 100,000:
LB 455: Clarify provisions relating to employment of a full-time fire chief by cities of the first class
LB 378: Change requirements for voter approval of borrowing money for public improvements by a first-class city
Town Hall Recap
On Thursday night, I held a town hall meeting on the campus of Bellevue University. About fifty people were in attendance. After a short overview of this year’s legislation, we had some great discussion on issues such as the learning community, military retirement taxation, and the homestead exemption application process. I appreciate everyone taking the time out of their day to come out and give their input. If you couldn’t make it, you are always welcome to contact my office with thoughts, questions, or concerns at (402)471-2615 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastor Drew of Twin Valley Church Serves as Chaplain of the Day
Last Wednesday, Pastor Drew Rietjens of Twin Valley Church in Bellevue served as the Legislature’s Chaplain of the Day. During his visit, he gave the opening prayer before the start of the day’s proceedings, visited with me and other senators, and was able to tour the Capitol and watch some of the day’s debate. It was wonderful to have a visitor from District 45 for the morning! If you know someone who would like to serve as Chaplain of the day, please have them contact my administrative assistant Courtney at (402)471-2615.
Sue in the News
Editorial in the Omaha World Herald on LB166:http://www.omaha.com/opinion/midlands-voices-hole-in-law-hides-gambling-tattoos-more/article_a2e47d63-958a-535d-8a74-05c2de6523e8.html
Omaha World Herald article on Learning Community legislation, including my bill LB392:
Omaha World Herald article on LB107 passing the first round of debate: http://www.omaha.com/news/legislature/bill-to-give-nurse-practitioners-more-independence-moves-forward/article_e6d898e6-ae31-11e4-98a1-0fa035e86fd2.html