April 17, 2006
The Legislature concluded its 2006 session and adjourned at 5:54 pm on April 13. This also represented the end of public service in the Legislature for 20 Senators due to term limits.
Big Issues Update
The Legislature spent most of its last week debating LB 1024, the Omaha school bill. On its last day, the Legislature approved LB 1024 on Final Reading by a 31-16 vote. The Governor signed the bill into law.
The provision of LB 1024 that received most attention was the division of the Omaha Public School district into three separate districts based on current attendance patterns. The bill also includes a state aid stabilization factor for school districts with declining enrollments that have property tax levies at or below 99 cents; this will apply primarily to rural schools, and is estimated to provide an additional $2 million in state aid to rural schools in its first year of implementation.
Most provisions of LB 1024 do not take effect until 2008. Several Senators asserted this will force OPS and its neighbors to discuss the issues with a deadline facing them, thus allowing them to resolve the issues before LB 1024 takes effect and then allowing the Legislature to change LB 1024. It’s important to recognize, however, that any agreement reached by OPS and the neighboring school districts must now also meet the approval of the Legislature.
The Legislature also voted on April 12 to impeach University of Nebraska regent David Hergert. The vote to impeach was 25-22. The Nebraska Supreme Court will now try the matter similar to a civil trial. Two-thirds of the justices must vote to convict Hergert for him to be removed from office. Upon the vote of the Legislature to impeach, Hergert was suspended from his duties as Regent until the Supreme Court acts.
All pending bills not disposed of by becoming law were Indefinitely Postponed (killed) on April 13 just before the final motion to adjourn. One bill on our weekly list did receive action in the last week of the session.
LB 990P (Wehrbein and others) – Created tax credits for livestock modernization projects under the Nebraska Advantage Rural Development Act and amended the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act. On April 11, the Governor signed the bill into law.
Legislative action and news does not end with adjournment of the session. Next week we will provide news on important and relevant Interim Study Resolutions introduced in the final days of the session and a list of candidates for legislative seats in the May 9 primary.