Changes proposed to state claims process, state vehicle identification

The Business and Labor Committee heard testimony Feb. 26 on a bill that would make a number of technical revisions to current statute.

Sen. Mike Hilgers

In 1992, the Legislature consolidated the State Claims Board and the Office of State Risk Management into one division under the state Department of Administrative Services. Before consolidation, the State Claims Board administered the state workers’ compensation program.

LB1096, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Mike Hilgers, would remove several references to the State Claims Board from statute to reflect that the state risk manager now administers the workers’ compensation program.

Hilgers said the bill would allow for a more efficient, streamlined state claims process.

Under current law, claims against the state that arise from the same set of circumstances and facts must be aggregated, meaning one claim cannot be paid until all the claims are settled. The bill would modify this requirement so that any claim under $50,000 could be paid at the time of settlement.

Under LB1096, the State Self-Insured Liability Fund could be used by the state to pay claims against the state or its agencies, officials or employees for which there is a specific provision of law for the resolution of such claim, but which are not otherwise payable from the State Insurance Fund, State Self-Insured Property Fund, State Self-Insured Indemnification Fund, Workers’ Compensation Claims Revolving Fund or Tort Claims Fund.

Such claims would include payments for awards, settlements and associated costs, including appeal bonds and reasonable costs associated with a required appearance before any tribunal.

Finally, the bill would exempt the state Department of Justice from a statute requiring that all motor vehicles used or controlled by a state agency be marked with identifying information. The change would remove “State of Nebraska Attorney General’s Office” from the vehicles.

Doug Wilken, assistant general counsel to DAS, spoke in support of the bill.

“Currently, a claim cannot be paid until all claims arising out of the same circumstances can be paid,” he said. “This would make for more efficient administration and processing of claims.”

No one testified in opposition to the bill and the committee took no immediate action on it.

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