Last week the Executive Board had a hearing on Legislative Resolution 11, which would extend the life of the Developmental Disabilities Special Investigative Committee formed by the Legislature to provide oversight for resolving problems at the Beatrice State Development Center (BSDC). We debated LR 11 on the floor and adopted the resolution with a 43-0 vote. Many problems are still not resolved and the Legislature believes the committee's oversight is necessary as the state works to address the issues at BSDC.
On February 26, the Natural Resources Committee will hear my bill, LB 651, the Water Resources Revolving Loan Fund Act. This bill was designed to redirect the loan repayments, which the Natural Resources Districts from the Republican River Basin owe the state from last session's LB 1094, to a revolving loan fund that would be accessible for loans to all NRDs throughout the state to help with eligible water projects. The revolving fund would allow funds to be available into the future without having to come to the state for another appropriation.
Moreover, I am looking possibly to amend LB 651 and use it to be the legislative vehicle in resolving any issues connected with the Supreme Court's decision proclaiming the property tax in LB 701 unconstitutional. My plan is to try to provide a way to refund all of LB 701's property taxes, and still provide a mechanism for the NRDs to pay back there loan to the state. There are still some unresolved issues. LB 701's occupation tax, and what the precedent from the current decision might mean for other funding sources for local governments. These issues will certainly affect what the Legislature decides to do, so we are trying to be patient as we move forward.
Several of my bills have upcoming hearings in the next couple of weeks. I encourage constituents to attend or to contact my Capitol office if you would like to share your concerns and input on any particular bill. The following hearings are:
LB 465 on February 19; allows educational service units (ESUs) to use videoconferencing or telephone conferencing for up to half of their board meetings.
LB 274 on February 19; allows the HYPERLINK "http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/search_by_introducer.php?Introducer=68" Director of Correctional Services the ability to send additional inmates to the McCook Work Ethic Camp, who may benefit from the program, but currently would not be eligible.
LB 429 on February 19; allows those committed to the Department of Correctional Services, and are eligible, to work on school grounds while supervised.
LB 646 on February 24; Creates the Livestock Growth Act.