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Appointments made to five special committees

Published April 21, 2016, in Special Committees

The Legislature’s Executive Board announced appointments April 20 to special committees dealing with innovation, bioscience, tribal economic development, evidence testing and climate change. LB1083, introduced by Gothenburg Sen. Matt Williams, creates a Venture Development and Innovation Task Force that will develop a statewide strategic plan by Dec. 1, 2016, to cultivate a climate of entrepreneurship…

Session ends, 11 senators depart

Published April 20, 2016, in Ceremonies

The second session of the 104th Legislature adjourned sine die April 20. Eleven senators are leaving the Legislature due to term limits, among them Kearney Sen. Galen Hadley, who has served as speaker for the last two sessions. Hadley commended his fellow lawmakers for their work—particularly under the time constraints of a 60-day session—on issues…

Lawmakers override veto; professional licenses approved for young immigrants

Published April 20, 2016, in Judiciary

A governor’s veto of a bill that would make additional Nebraskans eligible for professional licensure was overridden by the Legislature April 20. Lawmakers voted 31-13 to override the veto. Thirty votes were needed. Introduced by Omaha Sen. Heath Mello, LB947 allows Nebraska residents who are covered by the federal Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA)…

Independent redistricting commission vetoed, no override attempt offered

Published April 19, 2016, in Executive Board

The governor vetoed a bill April 18 that would have added an independent commission to the Legislature’s redistricting process. 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 Nebraska Board of Regents…

Audit bill vetoed

Published April 19, 2016, in Government Military and Veterans Affairs

Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed a bill April 15 that proposed several changes to the state’s audit operations. LB935, introduced by Ogallala Sen. Ken Schilz, was passed April 12 on a 37-8 vote. The bill would have authorized a penalty for a political subdivision that fails to provide the state auditor’s office with annual information relating…

Last Day of Session 2016

Published April 26, 2016, in Slideshows/Videos

Senators met for the last day of the 2016 session on April 20. Remarks were delivered by Gov. Pete Ricketts and Speaker Galen Hadley, and senators and family members wished one another well. Eleven senators are leaving the body this year due to term limits. The first session of the 105th Legislature will convene on Jan. 4, 2017.

Right of way clarification passed

Published April 13, 2016, in Transportation and Telecommunications

A bill that clarifies right of way laws for bicyclists and pedestrians was passed April 13. LB716, introduced by Omaha Sen. Rick Kolowski, specifies that any bicyclist who is riding on a designated path that intersects with a street or highway has the right of way within the crossing if he or she follows all…

Arena turnback taxes expanded

Published April 13, 2016, in Revenue

Senators passed a bill April 13 that extends the range from which cities collect state sales taxes from hotels and businesses near sports arenas and convention centers. Under current state law, 70 percent of state sales taxes generated by new and existing hotels near a convention center are turned back to the city to help…

Ag land tax credit bill passes

Published April 13, 2016, in Revenue

A bill that increases the amount of property tax credits for agricultural landowners received final-round approval April 13. Introduced by Grand Island Sen. Mike Gloor on behalf of Gov. Pete Ricketts, LB958 grants $224 million in property tax credits for tax year 2017—a continuation of credits offered last year totaling $204 million. Gloor said this…

Learning community common levy eliminated

Published April 13, 2016, in Education

Senators passed a bill April 13 that ends the Omaha learning community’s common levy and provides transition aid to member districts. The Legislature created the learning community in 2007 to share resources among the students in the broader Omaha area to help address the achievement gap of children in the city center. Introduced by Sen….

All high school students to take college admission test

Published April 13, 2016, in Education

All Nebraska 11th-graders will take a college admission test under a bill passed by lawmakers April 13. Sponsored by Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk, LB930 requires public school students in the 11th grade to take a college admission test, such as the ACT or SAT, instead of current Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) assessments. The bill…