Photo by George Lauby
Sen. Tom Hansen
After many hours of debate and filibustering, first-round approval was given to a bill that would establish the Tax Modernization Commission. LB 613 lays the groundwork for tax reform discussions that will continue for the rest of the year. The Commission would continually review and recommend updates to Nebraska's tax code, considering fairness, competitiveness, simplicity and compliance, stability, adequacy and complementary tax systems as it evaluates Nebraska's current tax code.
Under the bill, the Commission will provide a preliminary report to the Legislature and the Governor by Dec. 15, 2013 with a final report due by Nov. 15, 2014. The Commission will meet at least once per year to review and evaluate the tax code.
Bills passed into law include:
LB 94 authorizes the Game and Parks Commission to issue nonresident deer permits in management units after providing residents with at least 85% of the available permits; allows an applicant to be issued a resident elk permit once every five years, changing the one permit per lifetime policy into a one harvest per lifetime policy; and allows the commission, to designate residents who are partners in a partnership, shareholders in a corporation, or beneficiaries of a trust, who own or lease at least 80 acres of the land for agricultural purposes, to be qualified for limited deer, antelope, wild turkey, or elk permits.
LB 295 adds relocation incentives for new residents to the list of permissible activities that may be included in a local option municipal economic development plan.
LB 434 requires the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency to cooperate with other emergency management agencies and public agencies in the development of emergency management registries. These registries will include persons with special needs and the families of such persons for the purpose of planning for assistance of these persons and their families before, during, and after a disaster.
LB 499 gives the Game and Parks Commission the authority to pass, by majority vote, commission orders that govern conservation orders, seasons, open and closed areas, and bag limits. A public hearing is required on each proposed order, and no order is valid until 15 days after such order has been posted on the commission's web site.
Bills Advanced to Final Reading include LB 363 contains several provisions dealing with the issue of cost of access to public records.
Bills Advanced to Second Round of debate include:
LB 203 clarifies the portion of the Environmental Protection Act which defines solid waste, which does not include slag, a product that is the result of the steel manufacturing process and is managed as an item of value in a controlled manner and not as a discarded material.
LB 464 would require criminal charges against anyone younger than 18 to be filed in juvenile court. Cases could be transferred to adult court upon a motion by the prosecutor and a hearing before the juvenile court. The intent is for fewer juvenile offenders being tried in adult court; thus, cases originating in juvenile court would give more youth a chance at rehabilitation and reduce their odds of having criminal records.
LB 528 seeks to provide medical practitioners with a tool critical to stopping the high rates of sexually transmitted diseases. The bill would allow expedited partner therapy (EPT) for the treatment of gonorrhea and chlamydia. EPT allows a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner who diagnoses an STD in a patient to prescribe, provide or dispense medications to that patient's partner(s) without examination of that partner(s).
LB 634 would help fight wildfires in rural Nebraska. The bill would place two single-engine aerial tankers in Valentine and Chadron during fire season, require the state to thin forests, and offer new training to emergency responders, in addition to other steps.
LB 634 has a fiscal note of $1.7 million.
Last week the Judiciary Committee held public hearings on a number of bills that dealt with firearms. LB 451 and LB 602 would prevent the federal government from enforcing new firearms restrictions in Nebraska. LB 352 would require the Nebraska State Patrol to design a standard sign used for places where guns are prohibited.
LB 293 would ban public disclosure of gun permit information. This session the Committee has had public hearings on 13 different proposals dealing with firearms.
As of this date, the Committee has not advanced any of them for consideration by the full Legislature.
We are in recess on Friday and Monday for the Easter break and will be back in session on Tuesday. Have a nice Easter!