Session Review: Appropriations

Lawmakers made adjustments to the state’s two-year budget with four bills passed this session.

LB905, introduced by York Sen. Greg Adams on behalf of the governor, is the mainline budget bill and passed on a 40-8 vote.

Among other provisions, the bill included the following adjustments:
• $25 million to the state’s Property Tax Relief Fund;
• $14 million to address issues in the state’s correctional system;
• $10 million to the Job Training Cash Fund;
• $5 million to provide service to individuals on the developmental disability waiting list; and
• $3.7 million for the early childhood grant program.

LB906, also introduced by Adams at the request of the governor and passed on a 41-7 vote, authorizes various fund transfers.

Among other provisions, the bill creates the following funds and transfers:
• $21 million to the Water Sustainability Fund;
• $15 million to the Game and Parks Improvement and Maintenance Fund; and
• $12.5 million to the Vehicle Title Registration System Replacement and Maintenance Cash Fund.

LB130, introduced by Appropriations Committee chairperson Omaha Sen. Heath Mello, makes transfers from the state’s cash reserve, including $50 million to the General Fund and $14.5 million to the Nebraska Capitol Construction Fund to begin work to upgrade the State Capitol heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system.

The bill passed on a 44-4 vote.

Finally, LB949, introduced by the Business and Labor Committee, approves claims against the state and agency write-offs. The bill includes approval of a $2 million claim made by the family of Joyce Meeks, who was killed in a vehicle accident in Lincoln by an inmate authorized to drive a state vehicle. LB949 passed 48-0.

Gov. Dave Heineman subsequently vetoed approximately $65 million in general, federal and cash funds from three of the budget bills including the following items from LB905:
• $11.7 million in Nebraska capital construction funds for the first three years of the State Capitol heating, ventilation and air conditioning system renovation project;
• $10 million in general funds to the Job Training Cash Fund;
• $7.4 million in general funds to the state Supreme Court for a juvenile services project contingency program; and
• $7.4 million in cash reserve funds to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for state park deferred maintenance.

Mello filed a motion to override those and most other line-item vetoes in LB905. Senators voted 37-11 to adopt the motion.

Among other gubernatorial vetoes were the following transfers authorized in LB906: $12.5 million to a fund to replace a vehicle title and registration system and $1.1 million of a $21 million transfer to the Water Sustainability Fund.

Senators voted 39-9 to pass LB906 and LB130 notwithstanding the line-item objections of the governor.

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