Business and Labor

State claims bill amended, advanced

Payment of certain claims against the state would be approved under a measure expanded and advanced from first-round debate March 25.

Sen. Merv Riepe
Sen. Merv Riepe

LB1188, introduced by Ralston Sen. Merv Riepe, would provide for payment of a series of claims against the state and agency write-offs. Riepe, chairperson of the Business and Labor Committee, introduced the bill at the request of the state Department of Administrative Services Risk Management Division.

As introduced, the bill would settle an indemnification claim for $100,000 and pay the following agency write-offs:
• $1,495 by the state Department of Health and Human Services;
• $1,690 by the State Fire Marshal;
• $8,830 by the state Department of Veterans Affairs;
• $201,000 by the state Department of Transportation;
• $931,309 by the state Department of Labor; and another
• $1.017 million by the state Department of Labor.

The State Claims Board has the authority to approve, deny or adjust claims of more than $5,000 and less than $50,000. Claims of more than $50,000 must be approved by the Legislature.

Riepe asked senators to vote down a Business and Labor Committee amendment that would have added claims settled after the public hearing on LB1188. He explained that two additional settlements needed to be added to the bill, but legislative rules do not allow committee amendments to be withdrawn. Lawmakers obliged, voting down the committee amendment 0-35.

Riepe then offered an amendment, adopted 38-0, which would include the claims in the committee amendment as well as an additional $485,000 for two workers’ compensation claims.

It also includes the remaining $7.45 million to finalize payment to the family of a Kearney man injured when his vehicle was struck by an individual involved in a high-speed chase while fleeing a stop by the Nebraska State Patrol.

A second Riepe amendment, also adopted 38-0, included an additional $200,000 for a claim related to another law enforcement high-speed pursuit.

Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha offered and later withdrew an amendment that would have added provisions of Hastings Sen. Steve Halloran’s LB341. Those provisions would allow victims of child sexual abuse to sue a political subdivision or state agency for tort claims arising out of that abuse.

Elmwood Sen. Robert Clements, chairperson of the Appropriations Committee, expressed concern about attempting to attach a substantive change in public policy onto what is generally considered a budget bill.

Wayne said he would keep working to find a vehicle for the proposal. Lawmakers then voted 40-0 to advance LB1188 to select file.

Bookmark and Share