Welcome and Contact Information

January 8th, 2014

Phone: (402) 471-2610
Address: Room 1212, State Capitol, Lincoln NE 68509

The Urban Affairs Committee is responsible for processing legislation involving the following subject areas:

  • state natural gas regulation
  • cities and villages; organization; powers and services; officers and employees; funds; annexation and zoning; planning
  • sanitary and improvement districts
  • Metropolitan Utilities District; Business Improvement District Act
  • housing authorities
  • community antenna television service
  • handicapped parking (for municipal responsibilities)
  • tax increment financing

During session, the Urban Affairs Committee meets on Tuesdays in Room 1510 on the 1st Floor of the Capitol.

This Week in Urban Affairs

January 24th, 2015

Each week during committee hearings, the Urban Affairs website will feature a brief overview of the issues being heard by the committee in the coming week.  The first week of hearings focused on a handful of municipal-related bills that were heard by the committee in 2014 but failed to become law due to time constraints.  This week, the committee’s hearings will shift to sanitary and improvement districts, or SIDs. SIDs are a type of limited-purpose political subdivision that is unique to Nebraska.  First created in the late-1940s, SIDs are primarily utilized in urban areas to facilitate growth outside of city limits, with the expectation that the SID will eventually be annexed by the nearby municipality.  Of the roughly 325 SIDs statewide, more than 80% are located in either Douglas or Sarpy County.  While a helpful development tool, SIDs present a wide variety of unique challenges for residents, particularly in cases where an SID is not annexed by a city that “grows around” it.  Most SID boards provide for basic services through contract or inter local agreement, but SID residents are often unaware that they cannot access city services without paying separate fees that are not charged to city residents.  Similarly, SID residents are unable to vote in city elections since they are outside of city limits. This week, the Urban Affairs Committee will hear four bills, three dealing with SIDs, and a fourth dealing with business improvement districts:

  • LB 168: Authorize expansion of existing business improvement districts
  • LB 116: Change election procedures and membership for certain SID boards of trustees
  • LB 131: Change provisions relating to annexation and prohibit SIDs from spending certain assets
  • LB 149: Change provisions relating to election procedures for SIDs

To watch these and all other hearings online , visit: http://www.netnebraska.org/basic-page/television/live-demand-state-government

Meet the Urban Affairs Staff: Courtney Breitkreutz, Committee Clerk

January 23rd, 2015

Courtney

In addition to serving as Senator Crawford’s administrative aide, Courtney will also fulfill the clerk duties for the Urban Affairs Committee.  As the committee clerk, she helps keep committee records on bills reported to the committee in order to assist the Clerk’s office and Transcribers’ office with their records.  Courtney has been at the legislature since October 2013.  She is originally from Plattsmouth, and she makes many trips back to visit her family, including nephews Leo and Elijah.

She and her husband Paul, who is an academic advisor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, live in Lincoln. She comes to us after receiving graduate degrees in sociology and education from UNL. Before going back to school, she worked for a non-profit agency in Lincoln that provides assistance to Nebraska’s seasonal and migrant farmworkers. When not at the legislature, Courtney enjoys spending time with Paul and their dogs Pax and Greyson.

Meet the Urban Affairs Staff: Trevor Fitzgerald, Legal Counsel

January 23rd, 2015

Trevor

Trevor started working in the Legislature in 2009, and is originally from Louisville, Nebraska.  Trevor earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from UNL, and a law degree from Creighton University.  Prior to joining the Urban Affairs Committee as legal counsel this past September, Trevor served as legislative aide for former Senator Bob Giese of South Sioux City and Senator Heath Mello of Omaha.  More recently, Trevor also served as research analyst for the Appropriations Committee, advising the committee chair on legal, procedural, and policy issues related to the state budget process.

In his role as legal counsel, Trevor reviews and analyzes legislation assigned to the committee, coordinates committee hearings and briefings, researches legal and policy issues for the committee, and monitors activities related to the committee’s jurisdiction.  The Urban Affairs Committee primarily deals with the statutes governing municipalities (cities and villages) in Nebraska, and also has jurisdiction over state natural gas regulation, building codes, handicap parking, and various types of special districts, including Sanitary and Improvement Districts (SIDs), Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD), mass transit authorities, housing authorities, and business improvement districts.

Trevor and his wife Bonnie, who is a history professor at Metropolitan Community College, live in the Maple Village neighborhood in Northwest Omaha with their soon-to-be 4-year-old son, Jack.  Trevor also serves as president of the Maple Village Neighborhood Association, enjoys traveling to and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, and is an avid baseball fan.