Audit bill vetoed

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 to interlocal agreements. The penalty for noncompliance would have been $20 per day, not to exceed $2,000 per delinquency.

At the auditor’s discretion, a political subdivision that failed to provide the requested information could be subjected to an audit at the expense of the political subdivision. In addition, an interest rate of 14 percent per annum would be assessed on delinquent fees owed to the auditor’s office.

In his veto message, Ricketts focused on provisions of the bill originally introduced by Omaha Sen. Bob Krist as LB1099. Those provisions would have changed reimbursement procedures for state employees to a per diem based on the federal rate.

The governor said the change would increase costs to the state and create a potential for misuse of tax dollars. Ricketts said he and State Auditor Charlie Janssen have agreed to study the issue further and will present a new alternative next year.

LB935 included provisions from two additional bills:

LB993, originally introduced by Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash, would have allowed the state auditor to have his or her designee serve on the state Suggestion Award Board and would have allowed the auditor to share audit working papers with the Legislature, IRS, FBI, state tax commissioner, Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission and specified law enforcement agencies.

LB1084, originally introduced by Gering Sen. John Stinner, would have prevented state agencies and the state purchasing bureau from extending contracts for more than 50 percent of the initial contract term and would have prohibited more than one duration amendment per contract.

Schilz did not file a motion to attempt a veto override.

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