Straight Talk From Steve
February 23, 2022 | View PDF
Whenever a bill in the Nebraska State Legislature receives no opposition testimony at its public hearing and the committee members all support the bill, it becomes eligible for the consent calendar.
The Speaker of the Legislature is the keeper of the consent calendar. Once the Speaker of the Legislature decides to place a bill on the consent calendar, it gets only 15 minutes of debate on the floor of the Legislature.
Today I would like to tell you about four bills of mine that I have requested the Speaker to place on the consent calendar.
The first bill that qualifies for the consent calendar is LB 742. This is a bill which allows public bodies to store their meeting minutes electronically. Prior to this year Nebraska State Statutes were unclear about allowing public bodies to store their meeting minutes electronically. Some lawyers read the law as only allowing K-12 public school boards and Educational Service Units to store their meeting minutes electronically.
LB 742 clarifies the law so that all public bodies can store their meeting minutes electronically.
LB 744 is another candidate for the consent calendar. I introduced this bill to clarify how the Brand Committee was intending to regulate electronic identification and inspection of cattle. The bill as originally written would have prevented the Brand Committee from implementing their plan.
However, after talking with the members of the Brand Committee, I learned about their need to protect the privacy of cattlemen. So, I changed the entire nature of this bill with an amendment. This amendment, which now becomes the bill, protects the private information of cattlemen.
This kind of sensitive information will no longer be available to those who want to adversely disrupt Nebraska’s ranching operations.
The next consent calendar bill is LB 1122, a bill that will permit land surveyors to enter private lands. Because many landowners live out of state, getting permission to enter private lands for surveying purposes has become a problem. For example, when private surveyors need to find section corners they may have to travel several miles from the original site in order to find a reference point marker. Surveyors may not know which properties they need to access and getting permission from every landowner delays the time it takes for them to complete their work. So, LB 1122 allows land surveyors to access private lands lawfully. The bill also holds them accountable for any damages they might do to property or crops while doing their work.
Finally, LB 1124 allows heirs to avoid probate court. This bill raises the maximum value of personal property in a deceased person’s estate from $50,000 to $200,000 for small estate affidavits. Small estate affidavits are used to avoid probate court whenever a deceased person has no will or living trust.
This bill will save Nebraska’s heirs thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal fees. To my surprise no lawyers came out to oppose this bill!
The ideas for these consent calendar bills came from constituents who just needed some help. It has been an honor to serve the people of Western Nebraska, and it always makes my job more rewarding when I know that my bills are easing the burden of government for the people of Nebraska.