County population threshold increases advance

Certain county population thresholds would change under a bill given first-round approval March 21.

Nebraska law recognizes four county classifications based on population. Counties currently are classified as follows:
• Class I has a population of at least 300,000;
• Class II has a population of at least 200,000 and less than 300,000;
• Class III has a population of at least 100,000 and less than 200,000; and
• Class IV has a population less than 100,000.

LB742, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Matt Hansen, would raise the Class I threshold to a population of 400,000 and adjust the Class II threshold accordingly.

Hansen said Lancaster County is on target to reach the current 300,000 threshold by the 2020 federal census. In order for Lancaster County to retain its Class II classification—which impacts various laws, including election of judges and county board members—that threshold needs to be raised, he said.

Hansen offered an amendment, adopted 35-0, which specifies that the population would be determined by the most recent federal decennial census. It also would require a county to comply with the bill’s provisions within six months of a determination that the new threshold requirement has been met.

The bill advanced to select file on a 34-0 vote.

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