Winner-take-all election bill advances after cloture

Published March 2, 2015, in Government Military and Veterans Affairs

After four days of general file debate, lawmakers voted March 2 to cease debate and advance a bill to select file that would reinstate a winner-take-all system for allocating Nebraska’s presidential electoral votes. Currently, the winner of Nebraska’s statewide popular vote receives two Electoral College votes. The state’s three congressional districts also award one electoral…

Schnoor jumps into new role at the Legislature

Published February 27, 2015, in Senator Features

Sen. David Schnoor’s time in the military was supposed to be short. He told himself that he would serve one tour and be done. But four enlistments and 20 years later, the farmer and cattle feeder from Scribner can look back on an Air Force career that took him around the world. “I just found…

Stricter domestic violence penalties proposed

Published February 27, 2015, in Judiciary

The Judiciary Committee heard a bill Feb. 27 that would change penalties and definitions regarding domestic violence and stalking. Introduced by Omaha Sen. Rick Kolowski, LB307 would update statutes relating to stalking and domestic violence to: • increase the penalty from a Class III to a Class II felony for a first degree assault against…

Three investigative committees reauthorized

Published February 27, 2015, in Executive Board

Senators passed three resolutions Feb. 27 that continue the work of three special investigative committees. The resolutions were introduced by Omaha Sen. Bob Krist, chairperson of the Executive Board. LR32 provides for continuation of the Developmental Disabilities Special Investigative Committee. The committee has been providing ongoing oversight of the placement and care of the developmentally…

Independent redistricting commission proposed

Published February 27, 2015, in Executive Board

The Legislature’s redistricting process would include the help of an independent commission under a bill heard by the Executive Board Feb. 27. Currently, the Legislature is responsible for drawing new governmental boundaries every 10 years after the decennial census for districts pertaining to the U.S. House of Representatives, the Legislature, Public Service Commission, University of…

Educational training funds sought

Published March 2, 2015, in Appropriations

The Appropriations Committee heard testimony March 2 on two bills intended to provide funds for postsecondary education in key fields of study. Heartwell Sen. John Kuehn, sponsor of LB565, said the bill would provide financial aid to students enrolled in fields of study or training that are integral to the future economic well-being of Nebraska….

Legislative authorization of gaming stalls

Published March 2, 2015, in General Affairs

After briefly debating the issue March 2, senators voted to indefinitely postpone a proposal that would allow the Legislature to authorize gaming in Nebraska. The vote ended further action on the proposal. Currently, the Nebraska Constitution specifically prohibits the Legislature from authorizing any additional games of chance. Gaming can be expanded in Nebraska only through…

Plan for disposition of veterans’ remains advances

Published February 27, 2015, in Health and Human Services

Veterans whose remains go unclaimed could be buried in a veteran cemetery under a bill advanced from general file Feb. 27. LB146, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford, would authorize crematoriums and funeral establishments to relinquish control of unclaimed remains to veterans service organizations, who then would provide a burial in a veteran cemetery. Crawford…

Property tax relief bills proposed

Published February 27, 2015, in Appropriations

The Appropriations Committee heard several proposals Feb. 27 to provide property tax relief to Nebraskans. Three of the bills would make transfers from the General Fund to the Property Tax Credit Cash Fund in the following amounts in fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17: LB309, introduced by Hyannis Sen. Al Davis, would transfer $25 million each…

Tax exemption proposed for disabled veterans

Published February 27, 2015, in Revenue

Disabled veterans would be exempt from paying motor vehicle taxes under a bill heard by the Revenue Committee Feb. 27. Under LB428, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Tommy Garrett, veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability would be eligible for the motor vehicle tax exemption for one vehicle owned and used for their personal transportation. Garrett…