LINCOLN--Budget bills again highlighted this week in the Legislature, which has been focused on the impact of the state budget shortfall throughout the first 77 days of law-making.Several bills passed to final reading this week dealing with the state's budget.
LB 328, introduced by Speaker Jim Scheer of Norfolk at the request of Gov. Pete Ricketts, appropriates funds for the annual salaries of $12,000 for each of Nebraska's 49 senators.
LB 329, introduced by Scheer at the request of Ricketts, would fund salaries and benefits for judges and constitutional officers.
LB 149, introduced by Sen. John Stinner of Gering, would make adjustments to the state's budget for the current fiscal year to address budget shortfalls.
LB 331, introduced by Scheer at the request of Ricketts, would create funds and provide for fund transfers that would lower the state's minimum cash reserve requirement from 3 percent to 2.5 percent.
LB 332, introduced by Scheer at the request of Ricketts, would provide for transfers to and from the state's cash reserve fund. Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha attempted an amendment to change agriculture land valuation to lower property taxes, but the amendment failed.
Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion introduced LB 461 which also addressed property tax relief. This bill also stalled when a cloture motion to cease debate and vote on the bill failed with a 27-9 vote. Thirty-three votes are required to stop debate.
LB 415, introduced by Sen. Mark Kolterman, advanced to select file on Friday. This would eliminate or reduce "double dipping" by state school employees who retire and return to work as volunteer or substitute teachers.
Other notable bills on the agenda this week include:
LB 346, introduced by Sen. John Lowe of Kearney, would repeal a requirement for motor vehicle salespersons to obtain a special license. This bill passed final reading Wednesday with a 47-0 vote.
LB 427, introduced by Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha, would require schools to accommodate pregnant or student-parents. It passed final reading Tuesday with a 31-7 vote.
LB 645, introduced by Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln, would provide a legal definition of dyslexia. This bill passed final reading Thursday with a 46-0 vote.
LB 289, also introduced by Pansing Brooks, would increase penalties for crimes including human trafficking and sexual exploitation. This bill advanced to enrollment and review Friday.
LB 644, introduced by Sen. John Murante of Gretna, would eliminate many state-established boards and commissions. This bill advanced to select file Wednesday.