Government Military and Veterans Affairs

Omnibus election bill amended, advanced to final round

Lawmakers added provisions of three bills to an omnibus elections measure March 15 before advancing the proposal to final reading.

Sen. Tom Brewer
Sen. Tom Brewer

As amended on general file, LB287, sponsored by Gordon Sen. Tom Brewer, became an elections cleanup proposal that includes the provisions of several bills heard by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs committee this session.

The measure was amended on select file to add the provisions of three additional proposals.

Under current law, the state attorney general is required to file an action in the appropriate court within 10 days of any state officer’s refusal to implement an act that has been deemed unconstitutional by a prior attorney general’s written opinion.

Lincoln Sen. Danielle Conrad offered an amendment during select file debate to include provisions of her LB1191, which would repeal that section of state law. Conrad said Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers testified in favor of the bill at its public hearing and that the measure had no opposition.

The amendment was adopted 34-0.

Another amendment, offered by Brewer and adopted 33-0, added the provisions of his LB1152. The bill is an annual cleanup measure that contains suggested revisions from the Nebraska secretary of state’s office including, among other provisions:
• changes to procedures for voter registration removal;
• presidential elector meeting locations and dates; and
• verification of driver’s licenses or state identification cards.

The Brewer amendment also includes provisions of LB861, sponsored by Elkhorn Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, which would change the processes for removing a signer’s name from a petition.

The amendment would eliminate the current requirement of a signed, sworn affidavit executed in the presence of an election commissioner, county clerk or notary public. Instead, a signer would be able to remove their name by signing and delivering a written letter to the secretary of state, election commissioner or county clerk.

Election officials would be required to verify the signature on the removal letter with the signature appearing in voter registration records. The criminal penalty for falsifying a signature withdrawal letter would be the same as the penalty for signing a petition when not legally qualified to do so.

As amended on general file, LB287 also includes provisions of:
• LB47, introduced by Sen. Myron Dorn of Adams, which would amend the Open Meetings Act to authorize rural fire districts to post notice of their meetings prominently in three conspicuous places, instead of the current requirement to publish in a newspaper of general circulation in the public body’s jurisdiction;
• LB269, sponsored by Bayard Sen. Steve Erdman, which would remove obsolete language in state law related to the 2021 redistricting process;
• LB302, introduced by Linehan, which would make a number of changes to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Act regarding salary and conflict of interest disclosures;
• LB313, sponsored by Kearney Sen. John Lowe, which would amend state election law regarding the process for filling vacancies in Nebraska’s delegations to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives; and
• LB513, introduced by Brewer, which would provide for alternative means of public notice under the Open Meetings Act when timely newspaper publication is unavailable and add two categories of public bodies that may expand use of videoconferencing for their public meetings.

Following the 30-0 adoption of an additional technical amendment, lawmakers advanced LB287 to final reading by voice vote.

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