State budget adjustments approved

Lawmakers gave final approval March 24 to three bills comprising the Appropriations Committee’s mid-biennium budget adjustment package.

LB956, introduced by Kearney Sen. Galen Hadley at the request of the governor, makes adjustments to appropriations for state operations, aid and construction programs.

Among other provisions, the bill appropriates $1.5 million in general funds this fiscal year to recruit and retain quality staff in workforce shortage areas within the state Department of Correctional Services.

The bill also includes $1.8 million to address capacity and programming needs within the department while the Lincoln Community Corrections Center project is being completed.

The bill passed on a 46-1 vote.

LB957, also introduced by Hadley at the request of the governor, authorizes various fund transfers.

The bill includes Cash Reserve Fund transfers of $27.3 million to the Nebraska Capital Construction Fund to cover the three-year cost of adding capacity to the Lincoln Community Corrections Center, and $13.7 million to the Military Installation Infrastructure Fund.

LB957 passed on a 47-0 vote.

Finally, LB981, introduced by the Business and Labor Committee, approves claims against the state and agency write-offs.

Among the claims approved in the bill are:
• $800,000 for a tort claim against the state Department of Roads involving a vehicle accident resulting from a traffic control system problem;
• $243,000 for a tort claim against the state Department of Health and Human Services for failure to provide Medicaid coverage for medically necessary autism treatment;
• $230,000 in negotiated attorney fees to Nebraska Appleseed for a claim settled by the state regarding non-timely processing of applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; and
• $185,000 in negotiated attorney fees to the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska for a claim filed by seven couples who challenged the Nebraska constitutional prohibition against same-sex marriage.

The bill passed 46-0.

The governor must sign, veto or line item veto the budget within five calendar days, excluding Sunday.

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