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Legislature considers Medicaid, texting, minimum wageTell North Platte what you think
 
Photo by George Lauby
Sen. Tom Hansen

Advanced to the second stage of debate was LB 144, which provides for the write-in candidacy of a candidate for county, city, village, or school district office who is defeated in a tiebreaker in a primary election.

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Currently, primary elections that result in a tie are decided by chance, usually by the flip of a coin or by drawing from a deck of cards.

This bill does not apply to federal, statewide, or legislative races.


Winner-take-all primary

A lengthy floor debate took place on LB 382, which would reinstate the winner-take-all system for electing presidential and vice-presidential candidates, awarding all five electoral votes to the candidates who receive the highest number of votes in the state. Several amendments and motions are on file.


Also, bills of interest in public hearings include:

• LB 671 eliminates provisions relating to hunting and killing of mountain lions.

• LB 675 removes the property tax exemption for property owned and used by religious organizations.

• LB 678 increases the minimum percentage of funds from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund which must be allocated to each congressional district.

• LB 675 eliminates tax exemptions on all real property, tangible depreciable personal property and motor vehicles owned or used by religious organizations, effective Jan. 1, 2015.

• LB 686 allows eligible natural resources districts to levy an occupation tax on the activity of irrigation and allows producers to opt out of such occupation tax if not irrigating that season.

• LB 710 requires that a board of a Natural Resources District who wants to enter into a ground water augmentation project outside their district boundaries have a public hearing to allow public testimony on the project. It would also require a two-thirds vote by the board to enter into such a ground water augmentation project.

• LB 807 makes several driving violations a primary offense, which means it would allow a police officer to stop someone without having another reason. Those violations are:

¨¨– texting while driving;

¨¨– failure to use seatbelts – in both front and back seats – for everyone 6 and older;

¨¨– failure of young drivers to adhere to requirements of provisional, learner’s and school permits.

• LB 814 provides that the sales and use tax proceeds derived from the sale or lease of motorboats and personal watercraft shall be deposited into the newly created Game and Parks Commission Capital Maintenance Fund and used for the repair/maintenance, etc., of Game and Park’s infrastructure.

• LB 841 provides that the sales and use tax proceeds derived from the sale or lease of all-terrain and utility-type vehicles shall be deposited into the newly created Game and Parks Commission Capital Maintenance Fund and used for the repair/maintenance, etc., of Game and Park’s infrastructure.

• LB 848 stimulates housing for low income property by giving the developer and homeowner a benefit. It will provide an incentive to build, live and maintain property ownership by giving money up front from the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

• LB 857 changes the application provisions under the Concealed Handgun Permit Act regarding members of the armed forces to include spouses of such members.

• LB 884 (my bill) protects the health and safety of Nebraska’s livestock by more closely regulating the types of livestock animals being bought, sold or bartered through exotic animal auctions or swap meets, especially sheep and goats. Each animal changing ownership would be subject to veterinary inspection within 30 days.

• LB 887 provides health care coverage to approximately 55,000 uninsured and under insured newly eligible individuals, age 19 through 65 between 0 and 133% of the Federal Poverty Limit, who are not otherwise qualified for Medicaid, through a Medicaid expansion demonstration waiver.


Upcoming bills of interest in public hearings:

• LB 673 repeals the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act. The bill removes the black-tailed prairie dog from a list of animals that are injurious to livestock, poultry, and game animals and therefore will no longer be managed and controlled by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

• LB 943 changes the current minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour over a period of 4 years.


Youth legislature

I’d like to inform you that Registration for the 2014 Unicameral Youth Legislature is now open. Scheduled for June 8-11, the Unicameral Youth Legislature offers high school students the opportunity to learn what it’s like to serve as a state senator. Student senators will discover the unique process of our nation’s only unicameral by sponsoring bills, conducting committee hearings and debating legislation.

Participants will learn the details of the Nebraska Legislature directly from senators, staff and lobbyists using bill topics based on actual legislation considered during the most recent unicameral session. Students will conduct their legislative duties in the historic Warner Chamber, the former home of the Nebraska Senate.

If you know of a student who has an interest in law, government, leadership or public speaking, encourage them to visit the Unicameral Youth Legislature website to learn more about this unique four-day event.

Early-bird registration is available until April 1. Registration and scholarship application forms can be obtained from NebraskaLegislature.gov/uyl or bigredcamps.unl.edu. The registration deadline is May 15.


Sen. Tom Hansen represents Lincoln County in the Legislature. His email is thansen@leg.ne.gov.


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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 2/3/2014
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