State entity financial disclosure broadened

A bill that broadens the scope of a financial transparency law aimed at state government was given final approval April 13.

LB851, sponsored by Omaha Sen. John McCollister, modifies the Taxpayer Transparency Act to include quasi-public entities such as boards and commissions created by the Legislature. Entities are required to submit all expenditures of state receipts to the state treasurer for inclusion on the state’s spending transparency website.

The bill defines a state entity as any agency, board, commission or department of the state and any other body created by state statute that includes a person appointed by the governor, the head of any state agency or department, an employee of the state of Nebraska or any combination of such persons that is empowered to collect and disburse state receipts.

State receipts are limited under the bill to revenue or income received by a state entity used to pay the expenses necessary to perform the state entity’s functions and reported to the state treasurer in total amounts by category of income.

Transfer of funds between two state entities, expenditure of pass-through funds and federal funds are not subject to the bill’s provisions. Also exempted from the bill’s disclosure requirements are contracts entered into by the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority for the purpose of providing a specific service or financial assistance to a specifically named individual or his or her family.

Data collected will be available on the state spending website beginning in fiscal year 2016-17.

LB851 passed 48-0.

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