The Clerk of the Legislature shall file the certificates presented by members, and make a roll of the members who thus appear to be elected. The persons thus appearing to be elected members shall proceed to elect such other officers as may be required for the time being.
(1) When the Legislature is temporarily organized it shall elect a committee of five by ballot, which committee shall examine and report upon the credentials of those claiming to be elected members, and, when such report is made, those reported as elected shall proceed to the permanent organization of the Legislature. The Legislature shall be the sole judge of the election returns and qualifications of its own members.
(2) The Legislature may waive the requirements set forth in subsection (1) of this section whenever it is reasonably apparent to the members of the Legislature that there is not, or is not likely to be, a contest of any election result. If the provisions of subsection (1) are waived, the Legislature may, by rule, provide for the certification of members elected to the Legislature.
Any member may administer oaths in the Legislature, and while acting on a committee may administer oaths on the business of such committee.
No member of the Legislature shall be questioned in any other place for any speech or words spoken in debate in the Legislature.
The Legislature has power and authority to punish as a contempt by fine or imprisonment, or either of them, the offense of knowingly arresting a member in violation of his privilege; of assaulting or threatening to assault a member, or threatening to do him any harm, in person or property, for anything said or done as a member thereof; of attempting, by menace or other corrupt means, to control or influence a member in giving his vote, or to prevent his giving it; of disorderly or contemptuous conduct tending to disturb its proceedings; of refusing to attend or to be sworn or to be examined as a witness before the Legislature or a committee, when duly summoned; of assaulting or preventing any person going to the Legislature, or its committee, by order thereof, knowing the same; of rescuing or attempting to rescue any person arrested by order of the Legislature, knowing of such arrest; and of knowingly injuring any officer of the Legislature in the discharge of his duties as such.
Imprisonment for contempt of the Legislature shall not be for more than six hours, and shall be in the jail of the county in which the Legislature may be sitting.
Should a fine be imposed for any offense mentioned in section 50-105, it shall not exceed fifty dollars.
Fines and imprisonment shall be only by virtue of an order of the Legislature, entered on its journal stating the grounds therefor. Imprisonment shall be effected by a warrant, under the hand of the presiding officer for the time being, countersigned by the Clerk of the Legislature, running in the name of the state and directed to the sheriff of the proper county. Under such warrant, the officer of the Legislature, sheriff, and jailer will be authorized to arrest and detain the person.
Fines shall be collected by virtue of a similar warrant, directed to any proper officer of the county in which the offender has property, and executed in the same manner as executions for fines issued by courts of justice, and the proceeds shall be paid into the state treasury.
The officers of the Legislature shall consist of a speaker, chief clerk, assistant clerk, sergeant at arms, and such other officers as may be deemed necessary for the proper transaction of business, to be elected by the Legislature upon the recommendation of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council, except that the board shall make no recommendation as to the speaker.
There shall be paid to each of the several officers, except the speaker, named in section 50-111 for their official services such salaries as shall be fixed by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council, unless otherwise directed by the Legislature.
It shall be the duty of the presiding officer of the Legislature to preside over the Legislature, to keep and maintain order during the session thereof, and to do and perform the duties devolving on him by general parliamentary usage, and the rules adopted by the Legislature.
It shall be the duty of the Clerk of the Legislature to attend the sessions of the Legislature, to call the roll, read the journals, bills, memorials, resolutions, petitions, and all other papers or documents necessary to be read in the Legislature, to keep a correct journal of the proceedings in the Legislature, and to do and perform such other duties as may be imposed upon him by the Legislature or by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council.
The Clerk of the Legislature shall prepare a daily journal of the proceedings of the Legislature. The Legislative Journal shall be compiled by the clerk after each regular session of the Legislature.
The Clerk of the Legislature shall be authorized to make such charges, subject to the approval of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council, to recover costs and expenses of (1) copying files and records in the clerk's possession, (2) preparing certificates, (3) handling and mailing individual bills and bill subscriptions, and (4) such publications as may be authorized by the Legislature or the Executive Board of the Legislative Council.
(1) The Clerk of the Legislature shall periodically prepare and distribute electronically to all members of the Legislature a list of all reports received from state agencies, boards, and commissions. Such lists shall be prepared and distributed to each legislator no less frequently than once during the first ten days of each legislative session. Upon request by a legislator, the clerk shall arrange for any legislator to receive an electronic copy of any such report.
(2) A state agency, board, or commission or other public entity which is required to provide a report to the Legislature shall submit the report electronically. The Clerk of the Legislature may establish requirements for the electronic submission, distribution, and format of such reports. The clerk may accept a report in written form only upon a showing of good cause.
The Clerk of the Legislature shall retain the reports received from state agencies, boards, and commissions for three years after the date of receipt of such reports after which time the clerk may dispose of such reports.
The Clerk of the Legislature Cash Fund is hereby created. The fund shall consist of funds received by the Clerk of the Legislature pursuant to sections 49-1480.01 and 49-1482. The fund shall be used by the Clerk of the Legislature to perform the duties required by sections 49-1480 to 49-1492.01, except that transfers may be made from the fund to the General Fund at the direction of the Legislature. Any money in the Clerk of the Legislature Cash Fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act.
The assistant clerk shall be under the control and direction of the Clerk of the Legislature, and shall assist him in the proper discharge of his duties, and shall do and perform such other service as may be directed by the Legislature or by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council.
It shall be the duty of the sergeant at arms to enforce the attendance of absent members, when directed properly so to do; to arrest all members or other persons, when lawfully authorized so to do; to keep and preserve order during the sessions of the Legislature; to convey to the post office the mail matter sent by the respective members, and to receive from such office the mail matter for such members, and to deliver the same to them on each morning of the session; to obey and enforce the orders of the presiding officers of the Legislature; and to do and perform such other duties as may be enjoined on him by law and the Legislature. It shall also be the duty of the sergeant at arms to procure a banner of the State of Nebraska, as described in section 90-102, and to place the same on top of the State Capitol building, there to be kept during the time the Legislature shall be in session. The colors of the banner shall be fast colors and the cloth shall be of substantial material. The banner shall be so arranged on the staff or pole that it may be raised or lowered with ease.
Each member of the Legislature shall receive a salary in an amount equal to the maximum authorized by the Constitution of Nebraska. Such salary shall be paid in equal monthly installments.
Whenever ten or more members of the Legislature shall lodge with the Secretary of State a positive statement in writing, over their signatures respectively, setting forth the purpose or purposes for which said Legislature is convened, requesting that the Legislature meet in special session, personally delivered or transmitted by either registered or certified mail, return card requested, the Secretary of State shall forthwith certify to each of the other members of the Legislature, transmitted by either registered or certified mail, return card requested, the fact that ten or more members have lodged such statements with him and the object or objects of calling such session. If within ten days thereafter an additional number of the members of the Legislature, sufficient to make two-thirds or more, shall lodge statements in like manner as aforementioned with the Secretary of State, requesting that the Legislature meet in special session, the Secretary of State shall forthwith certify to the Governor the fact that two-thirds or more of said members have lodged said statements with him and the object or objects of calling such session. Thereupon the Governor shall, by proclamation, stating therein the purpose or purposes for which it is called, convene the Legislature to meet in special session within five days after receipt of said certificate from the Secretary of State. The Legislature shall enter upon no business except that for which it was called together.
Any Secretary of State or any Governor who shall refuse or neglect punctually to perform the duties enjoined upon them or either of them, by section 50-125, shall be deemed guilty of an act of malfeasance which works a forfeiture of office. Upon complaint of any legislator or elector of the state the Attorney General shall forthwith file an information in quo warranto against said officer as an original action in the Supreme Court of the state, without bond for costs. If it shall appear from the showing made that the officer so offending failed punctually to perform said duties, or any of them, a judgment shall be rendered that said officer so offending be ousted, and also that he pay the costs of the proceeding.
Beginning in 1987, the Legislature shall make appropriations for the expenses of state government during the regular session held in each odd-numbered year for the biennium beginning July 1 of such year and ending June 30 of the next succeeding odd-numbered year.
The Legislature hereby finds and declares (1) that the Constitution of Nebraska, by expressly providing for the legislative branch of government, implies the powers and the duty to provide the means, accessories, and instrumentalities to carry into effect the purposes for which the Legislature was created, (2) that items in the nature of expenses incidental to holding the office are not pay or perquisites within the meaning of Article III, section 7 of the Constitution of Nebraska, and (3) that the Constitution of Nebraska is construed to allow expenses to members of the Legislature, incidental to the performance of their duties as members of the Legislature, without contravening any constitutional provision as to pay, perquisites, or compensation.
Each member of the Legislature shall be allowed necessary expenses incurred while performing in the official capacity as a member of the Legislature.
The Executive Board of the Legislative Council shall adopt policies to carry out section 50-202. The policies shall allow each member of the Legislature to receive per diem expenses based upon ordinary and necessary business expenses as permitted by section 162 of the Internal Revenue Code which are incurred while performing in the official capacity as a member of the Legislature. The per diem expenses paid to a member shall be less than or equal to the amounts actually paid or incurred.
The Legislature finds that there is an important role that innovation and entrepreneurship play in the economic well-being of the state. It is the intent of the Legislature to promote such innovation and entrepreneurship through the Next Generation Business Growth Act.
(1) The Legislature's Venture Development and Innovation Task Force is created. The Executive Board of the Legislative Council shall appoint six members of the Legislature to the task force. The Executive Board shall appoint one of the six members as chairperson and another member as vice-chairperson.
(2) The task force shall develop a statewide strategic plan to cultivate a climate of entrepreneurship and innovation. The task force shall adopt policy criteria to be used in the development of the plan. The plan shall include: (a) An inventory of existing state-sponsored and locally sponsored programs and resources that are targeted to small businesses, microenterprises, and entrepreneurial endeavors in the state; (b) an economic impact analysis of the existing programs under the Business Innovation Act; (c) an overview of best practices from other states; (d) a review of previously issued statewide strategic plans focused on high-growth businesses; and (e) various policy options.
(3) On or before December 1, 2016, the Legislature's Venture Development and Innovation Task Force shall prepare and electronically submit the statewide strategic plan to the Clerk of the Legislature.
The Legislature's Venture Development and Innovation Task Force, in consultation with the Executive Board of the Legislative Council, shall employ a nonprofit organization to provide research, analysis, and recommendations for the development of the statewide strategic plan required by section 50-303.
It is the intent of the Legislature to appropriate seventy-five thousand dollars from the General Fund to the Legislative Council for carrying out the purposes of the Next Generation Business Growth Act.
The Next Generation Business Growth Act terminates on January 1, 2017.
There is hereby created a Legislative Council, hereinafter referred to as council, which shall consist of all of the members of the Legislature. It shall be the function of the Legislative Council to consider legislative policies between sessions of the Legislature and carry out the duties imposed by section 50-402.
(1) The Legislative Council shall have an executive board, to be known as the Executive Board of the Legislative Council, which shall consist of a chairperson, a vice-chairperson, and six members of the Legislature, to be chosen by the Legislature at the commencement of each regular session of the Legislature when the speaker is chosen, and the Speaker of the Legislature. The Legislature at large shall elect two of its members from legislative districts Nos. 1, 17, 30, 32 to 38, 40 to 44, 47, and 48, two from legislative districts Nos. 2, 3, 15, 16, 19, 21 to 29, 45, and 46, and two from legislative districts Nos. 4 to 14, 18, 20, 31, 39, and 49. The Chairperson of the Committee on Appropriations shall serve as a nonvoting ex officio member of the executive board whenever the board is considering fiscal administration.
(2) The executive board shall:
(a) Supervise all services and service personnel of the Legislature and may employ and fix compensation and other terms of employment for such personnel as may be needed to carry out the intent and activities of the Legislature or of the board, unless otherwise directed by the Legislature, including the adoption of policies by the executive board which permit (i) the purchasing of an annuity for an employee who retires or (ii) the crediting of amounts to an employee's deferred compensation account under section 84-1504. The payments to or on behalf of an employee may be staggered to comply with other law; and
(b) Appoint persons to fill the positions of Legislative Fiscal Analyst, Director of Research, Revisor of Statutes, and Legislative Auditor. The persons appointed to these positions shall have training and experience as determined by the executive board and shall serve at the pleasure of the executive board. The Legislative Performance Audit Committee shall recommend the person to be appointed Legislative Auditor. Their respective salaries shall be set by the executive board.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the executive board may contract to obtain legal, auditing, accounting, actuarial, or other professional services or advice for or on behalf of the executive board, the Legislative Council, the Legislature, or any member of the Legislature. The providers of such services or advice shall meet or exceed the minimum professional standards or requirements established or specified by their respective professional organizations or licensing entities or by federal law. Such contracts, the deliberations of the executive board with respect to such contracts, and the work product resulting from such contracts shall not be subject to review or approval by any other entity of state government.
The Executive Board of the Legislative Council may adopt policies that allow a member of the Legislature to install and use with private funds a telephone line, telephone, and telefax machine in his or her public office for private purposes.
The Legislative Council shall occupy and maintain offices in the State Capitol.
It shall be the duty of the council:
(1) To collect information concerning the government and general welfare of the state;
(2) To examine the effects of previously enacted statutes and recommend amendments thereto;
(3) To deal with important issues of public policy and questions of statewide interest;
(4) To prepare a legislative program in the form of bills or otherwise as in its opinion the welfare of the state may require, to be presented at the next session of the Legislature;
(5) To study federal aid to the state and its political subdivisions and advise the Legislature of money, land, or buildings available from the federal government, matching funds necessary, grants and aids, and what new legislation will be needed;
(6) To establish and maintain a complete and efficient bill drafting service for the purpose of aiding and assisting members of the Legislature and the executive departments of the state in the preparation of bills, resolutions, and measures and in drafting the same in proper form, and for this purpose there shall be assigned to the council for such work, rooms in the State Capitol conveniently situated in reference to the legislative chamber;
(7) To provide, through the Revisor of Statutes, for the publication of supplements and replacement volumes of the statutes of Nebraska; and
(8) To set up subcommittees within the executive board to carry out functions such as investigation of any area which it may decide is in the public interest with power to employ such additional personnel as may be needed to carry out the intent and activities of the executive board or the Legislature.
The executive board shall have power and authority to appoint committees of the Legislative Council and assign subjects to them for study and reports. No member of the Legislature shall be liable in any civil or criminal action whatever for words spoken at an authorized committee meeting when conducting an investigation authorized by the executive board or for words spoken at meetings of standing or special committees of the Legislature.
It shall be the duty of the council (1) to investigate and study the possibilities for consolidation in state government for elimination of all unnecessary activities and of all duplication in office personnel and equipment and of the coordination of departmental activities or of methods of increasing efficiency and effecting economies, (2) to investigate and study the possibilities of reforming the system of local government with a view to simplifying the organization of government, (3) to study the merit system as it relates to state and local government personnel, (4) to cooperate with the administration in devising means of enforcing the law and improving the effectiveness of administrative methods, (5) to study and inquire into the financial administration of the state government and the subdivisions thereof, the problems of taxation, including assessment and collection of taxes, and the distribution of the tax burden, and (6) to study and inquire into future planning of capital construction of the state and its governmental agencies as to location and sites for expansion.
In the discharge of any duty imposed by the Legislative Council, by statute, or by a resolution of the Legislature, the council, any committee thereof, and any standing or special committee created by statute or resolution of the Legislature may hold public hearings and may administer oaths, issue subpoenas when the committee has received prior approval by a majority vote of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council to issue subpoenas in connection with the specific inquiry or investigation in question, compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of any papers, books, accounts, documents, and testimony, and cause the depositions of witnesses to be taken in the manner prescribed by law for taking depositions in civil actions in the district court. The council or the committee may require any state agency, political subdivision, or person to provide information relevant to the committee's work, and the state agency, political subdivision, or person shall provide the information requested within thirty days after the request except as provided for in a subpoena. The statute or resolution creating a committee may prescribe limitations on the authority granted by this section.
Litigation to compel or quash compliance with authority exercised pursuant to this section shall be advanced on the court docket and heard and decided by the court as quickly as possible. Either party may appeal to the Court of Appeals within ten days after a decision is rendered.
The district court of Lancaster County has jurisdiction over all litigation arising under this section. In all such litigation the executive board shall provide for legal representation for the council or committee.
In case of disobedience on the part of any person to comply with any subpoena issued on behalf of the council or any committee thereof or of the refusal of any witness to testify on any matters regarding which he or she may be lawfully interrogated, the district court of Lancaster County or the judge thereof, on application of a member of the council, shall compel obedience by proceedings for contempt as in the case of disobedience of the requirements of a subpoena issued from such court or a refusal to testify therein.
If a witness refuses to testify before a special committee of the Legislature authorized pursuant to section 50-404 on the basis of the privilege against self-incrimination, the chairperson of the committee may request a court order pursuant to sections 29-2011.02 and 29-2011.03.
Each witness who appears before the council, or any committee thereof, by its order, other than a state officer or employee, shall receive for his or her attendance the fees provided for witnesses in civil cases in courts of record and mileage as provided in section 81-1176 for state employees, which shall be audited and paid upon the presentation of proper vouchers sworn to by such witness and approved by the secretary and chairperson of the council.
Each officer, board, commission or department of state government or any local government shall make such studies for and furnish information to the council as it may require and as can be made within the limits of its appropriation.
The council shall meet at least once in each biennium. One meeting of the entire council shall be held at the call of the chairman not less than thirty nor more than sixty days prior to the next regular session of the Legislature. Twenty-five members shall constitute a quorum, but a smaller number may meet and may compel the attendance of members in order to secure a quorum.
The Governor shall have the right to send a message to the session of the council convening next after the adjournment of each session of the Legislature, and may, from time to time, send additional messages containing his recommendations and explaining the policy of the administration.
The Legislative Council and Legislature shall have access to all library reference facilities maintained by state agencies. The council is authorized to accept and use any funds made available to it through the terms of any cooperative agreement that it may make with any agency whatsoever for the accomplishment of the purposes of sections 50-401 to 50-415.
The Legislative Council shall keep complete minutes of its meetings and shall submit electronically periodical reports to the members of the Legislature.
The recommendations of the council shall be completed and made public at least thirty days prior to any regular session of the Legislature at which such recommendations are to be submitted. A copy of said recommendations shall be mailed to the address of each member of the Legislature, to each elective state officer, and to the State Library.
The members of the council shall be compensated for actual expenses incurred while attending sessions of the council and the members of any committee of the council shall be compensated for actual expenses incurred while on business of the committee as provided in sections 81-1174 to 81-1177 for state employees.
The office of Legislative Research is established within the Legislative Council. The office shall provide nonpartisan public policy and legal research for members of the Legislature and their staffs and maintain a legislative reference library for the use of members of the Legislature and their staffs. The Director of Research shall be responsible for hiring, firing, and supervising the research office staff.
The Legislature shall select five of its members who shall serve, together with the chairperson of the Appropriations Committee, as the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee. The Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee shall be a standing committee of the Legislature. The chairperson and members shall be chosen in the same manner as chairpersons and members of the other standing committees of the Legislature.
The Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee shall study any legislative proposal, bill, or amendment, other than an amendment proposed by the Committee on Enrollment and Review, affecting any public retirement system, existing or proposed, established by the State of Nebraska or any political subdivision thereof and report electronically the results of such study to the Legislature, which report shall, when applicable, include an actuarial analysis and cost estimate and the recommendation of the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee regarding passage of any bill or amendment. To assist the committee in the performance of such duties, the committee may consult with and utilize the services of any officer, department, or agency of the state and may from time to time engage the services of a qualified and experienced actuary. In the absence of any report from such committee, the Legislature shall consider requests from groups seeking to have retirement plans established for them and such other proposed legislation as is pertinent to existing retirement systems.
There shall be established within the Legislative Council the office of Legislative Fiscal Analyst. The Legislative Fiscal Analyst, with the approval of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council, may employ necessary assistants.
The Appropriations Committee shall determine the budgeting and related needs of each agency of state government before and during each session of the Legislature for the use of the Legislature. The committee, under the direction of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council, shall secure sufficient personnel and funds for the operation of the staff to go physically into each agency of state government and by observation and contact be able to defend and substantiate its recommendation and to accomplish the objective stated in this section.
(1) The Legislative Fiscal Analyst shall provide fiscal and budgetary information and assistance to the Legislature and the Appropriations Committee. During sessions of the Legislature he or she shall work under the direction of the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature. During the interim between legislative sessions he or she shall work under the direction of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council.
The Legislative Fiscal Analyst shall provide:
(a) Factual information and recommendations concerning the financial operations of state government;
(b) Evaluation of the requests for appropriations contained in the executive budget and recommendations thereon;
(c) Studies of capital outlay needs for the orderly and coordinated development of state institutions and institutional programs authorized, if not otherwise provided by law; and
(d) Plans for legislative appropriation and control of funds, with presession analysis of budgetary requirements.
(2) His or her duties shall also include examining or auditing functions or services authorized by the Legislature to determine if funds are expended according to legislative intent and whether improvements in organization and performance are possible. The examining function shall also include the appraisal of functions for needed reforms.
(3) His or her duties shall be to coordinate his or her activities with the budget officer of the Department of Administrative Services.
(4) All information and reports of the fiscal analyst and Appropriations Committee shall be available to any and all members of the Legislature.
(5) The Legislative Fiscal Analyst shall provide revenue-forecasting information and assistance to the Legislature, the Revenue Committee of the Legislature, and the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature. For the purposes of this subsection, he or she shall work under the direction of the Revenue Committee of the Legislature and the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature. The revenue-forecasting information provided under this subsection shall include:
(a) The estimated revenue receipts for each year of the following biennium;
(b) General Fund reserve requirements;
(c) A list of express obligations; and
(d) A summary of economic conditions affecting the State of Nebraska.
The Legislative Fiscal Analyst shall present to the Appropriations Committee, beginning the fifth legislative day, an evaluation of the operations of the state government including those issues, policies, and problems which have come to his or her attention or which resulted from analyses and in which improvement in performance and organization is possible. The Legislative Fiscal Analyst shall, if requested, recommend alternatives to the identified problems and related needs.
(1) On November 15, 2016, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst shall prepare and electronically submit a revenue volatility report to the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature. Every two years thereafter the Legislative Fiscal Analyst shall prepare a revenue volatility report to append to the annual report required under section 77-2715.01. The report shall also be posted on the Legislature's web site.
(2) The report shall:
(a) Evaluate the tax base and the tax revenue volatility of revenue streams that provide funding for the state General Fund budget;
(b) Identify federal funding included in the state budget and any projected changes in the amount or value of federal funding or potential areas in which federal funding could be lost;
(c) Identify current and projected balances of the Cash Reserve Fund;
(d) Analyze the adequacy of current and projected balances of the Cash Reserve Fund in relation to the tax revenue volatility and the risk of a reduction in the amount or value of federal funding or potential areas in which federal funding could be lost;
(e) Include revenue projections for the ensuing two fiscal years included in the impending biennial budget; and
(f) Contain any other recommendations that the Legislative Fiscal Analyst determines are necessary.
Each officer, board, commission, and department of state government, including the Accounting Administrator of the Department of Administrative Services, shall furnish to the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, upon request, any information in its possession, including records received from other officers, boards, commissions, or departments of state government, whether such information is retained in computer files or otherwise, if such information is directly related to the performance of the official duties of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst under sections 50-418 to 50-420.
The office of Legislative Audit is established within the Legislative Council. The office shall conduct performance audits. The Legislative Auditor shall be responsible for hiring, firing, and supervising the performance audit staff.
The Education Committee of the Legislature shall conduct a study of potential uses of the funds dedicated to education from proceeds of the lottery conducted pursuant to the State Lottery Act. The committee shall submit a report electronically on the findings and any recommendations to the Clerk of the Legislature on or before December 31, 2014. Factors the study shall consider, but not be limited to, include:
(1) The educational priorities of the state;
(2) What types of educational activities are suited to being funded by state lottery funds as opposed to state general funds;
(3) Whether state lottery funds should be used for significant projects requiring temporary funding or to sustain ongoing activities; and
(4) Whether periodic reviews of the use of lottery funds for education should be scheduled.
(1) The Legislature finds that:
(a) In order to continue the pursuit of the good life in Nebraska, a common statewide vision must be refined to address the potential of all students across the state; and
(b) Individuals and businesses making reasoned decisions about where to locate often place the quality of education as one of the primary considerations. Quality education not only serves as an indicator of the current quality of life in a community but also as a determinant for what lies ahead.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature to focus educational resources from all sources in our state toward a common statewide vision for the future through collaborative efforts to achieve the best possible results for all Nebraskans, our communities, and our state.
The Education Committee of the Legislature shall conduct a strategic planning process to create the statewide vision for education in Nebraska described in section 50-426 which shall include aspirational goals, visionary objectives, meaningful priorities, and practical strategies. The committee or subcommittees thereof may conduct meetings, work sessions, and focus groups with individuals and representatives of educational interests, taxpayer groups, the business community, or any other interested entities. The committee shall also hold at least three public hearings to receive testimony from the general public in locations that represent a variety of educational situations. The committee shall submit a report regarding such process electronically to the Clerk of the Legislature on or before December 31, 2014.
The Education Committee of the Legislature shall conduct a study of postsecondary education affordability in Nebraska and alternatives for supporting students and families with the cost. The committee shall electronically report its recommendations to the Clerk of the Legislature on or before December 31, 2015.
(1) The Intergenerational Poverty Task Force is created. The executive committee of the task force shall consist of the following voting members:
(a) The chairperson of the Health and Human Services Committee of the Legislature;
(b) The chairperson of the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature; and
(c) Three at-large members appointed by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council.
The voting members of the executive committee shall choose a chairperson and vice-chairperson from among the voting members.
The chief executive officer of the Department of Health and Human Services or his or her designee, the Commissioner of Labor, and the Commissioner of Education shall be nonvoting, ex officio members of the executive committee of the task force.
(2) The remaining members of the task force shall be nonvoting members appointed by the executive committee of the task force through an application and selection process, representing (a) advocacy groups that focus on childhood poverty issues and education issues, (b) academic experts in childhood poverty or education, (c) service providers, (d) educational institutions, (e) workforce development agencies, and (f) experts in early childhood education. The members appointed pursuant to this subsection shall constitute the advisory committee to the task force.
The Intergenerational Poverty Task Force shall, with respect to programs, including, but not limited to, the aid to dependent children program described in section 43-513, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program established pursuant to 7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq., as such sections existed on January 1, 2015, the child care assistance program described in section 68-1206, and the Employment First program developed pursuant to the self-sufficiency contract described in sections 68-1719 to 68-1724 and rules and regulations of the Department of Health and Human Services:
(1) Share, examine, and analyze data and information regarding intergenerational poverty in the state with a primary focus on data and information regarding children who are at risk of continuing the cycle of poverty unless outside intervention is made and develop effective and efficient plans, programs, and recommendations to help such children escape the cycle of poverty;
(2) Encourage participation and input from academic experts, advocacy groups, nonprofit corporations, local governments, and faith-based institutions in exploring strategies and solutions to help children who are victims of intergenerational poverty escape the cycle of poverty;
(3) Study, evaluate, and report on the status and effectiveness of policies, procedures, and programs implemented by other states and by nongovernmental entities that address the needs of and that provide services to children affected by intergenerational poverty;
(4) Identify policies, procedures, and programs, including any lack of interagency data sharing, lack of policy coordination, or current federal requirements, that are impeding efforts to help children in the state affected by intergenerational poverty escape the cycle of poverty and recommend changes to those policies and procedures;
(5) Create a long-range strategic plan containing:
(a) Measurable goals and benchmarks, including future action needed to attain those goals and benchmarks, for decreasing the incidence of intergenerational poverty among the state's children and increasing the number of the state's children who escape the cycle of poverty; and
(b) Recommended data-supported changes to policies, procedures, and programs to address the needs of children affected by intergenerational poverty and to help those children escape the cycle of poverty, including the steps that will be required to make the recommended changes and whether further action is required by the Legislature or the federal government; and
To accomplish its duties, the Intergenerational Poverty Task Force may:
(1) Request and receive from any state or local governmental entity or institution information relating to poverty in the state, including reports, audits, data, projections, and statistics; and
(2) Appoint special committees to advise and assist the task force. Members of any such special committee shall be appointed by the chairperson of the task force and may be members of the task force or individuals from the private or public sector. A special committee shall report to the task force on the progress of the special committee. Members of a special committee appointed under this section may not receive reimbursement or pay for work done in relation to the special committee.
(1) On or before December 15, 2015, the Intergenerational Poverty Task Force shall submit a preliminary report and on or before December 15, 2016, the task force shall submit a final report (a) to the Governor and (b) electronically to the Executive Board of the Legislative Council.
(2) The preliminary report and the final report shall:
(a) Include the long-range strategic plan required pursuant to section 50-430;
(b) Describe how the task force fulfilled its statutory purposes and duties during the time period covered by the report;
(c) Describe policies, procedures, and programs that have been implemented or modified to help break the cycle of poverty for children affected or at risk of being affected by intergenerational poverty; and
(d) Contain recommendations on how the state should act to address issues relating to breaking the cycle of poverty for children affected or at risk of being affected by intergenerational poverty.
The Intergenerational Poverty Task Force terminates on December 31, 2016.
(1) The Legislature finds that while serious crime in the State of Nebraska has not increased in the past five years, the prison population continues to increase as does the amount spent on correctional issues. The Legislature further finds that a need exists to closely examine the criminal justice system of the State of Nebraska in order to increase public safety while concurrently reducing correctional spending and reinvesting in strategies that decrease crime and strengthen Nebraska communities.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that the State of Nebraska work cooperatively with the Council of State Governments Justice Center to study and identify innovative solutions and evidence-based practices to develop a data-driven approach to reduce correctional spending and reinvest savings in strategies that can decrease recidivism and increase public safety and for the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of Nebraska state government to work with the Council of State Governments Justice Center in this process.
(3) The Committee on Justice Reinvestment Oversight is created as a special legislative committee to maintain continuous oversight of the Nebraska Justice Reinvestment Initiative and related issues.
(4) The special legislative committee shall be comprised of five members of the Legislature selected by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council, including the chairperson of the Judiciary Committee of the Legislature who shall serve as chairperson of the special legislative committee.
(5) The Committee on Justice Reinvestment Oversight shall monitor and guide analysis and policy development in all aspects of the criminal justice system in Nebraska within the scope of the justice reinvestment initiative, including tracking implementation of evidence-based strategies as established in Laws 2015, LB605, and reviewing policies to improve public safety, reduce recidivism, and reduce spending on corrections in Nebraska. With assistance from the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the committee shall monitor performance and measure outcomes by collecting data from counties and relevant state agencies for analysis and reporting.
(6) The committee shall prepare and submit an annual report of its activities and findings and may make recommendations to improve any aspect of the criminal justice system. The committee shall deliver the report to the Governor, the Clerk of the Legislature, and the Chief Justice by September 1 of each year. The report to the clerk shall be delivered electronically.
There is hereby created the Nebraska Legislative Shared Information System Cash Fund, which fund shall consist of fees received from services provided by the Legislature. Transfers may be made from the fund to the General Fund at the direction of the Legislature. Any money in the Nebraska Legislative Shared Information System Cash Fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act.
There is hereby created the Legislative Council Retirement Study Fund. The fund shall consist of money appropriated to it by the Legislature and transfers made pursuant to subdivision (2)(f) of section 84-1503. Money in the fund shall only be used for a comprehensive study of the retirement systems listed in subdivision (1)(a) of section 84-1503. Any money remaining in the fund eighteen months after the date of transfer shall be transferred by the State Treasurer back to the retirement systems for credit to the various retirement funds. Any money in the Legislative Council Retirement Study Fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act.
The State-Tribal Relations Committee is hereby established as a special legislative committee with the intent of fostering better relationships between the state and the federally recognized Indian tribes within the state. The Executive Board of the Legislative Council shall appoint seven members of the Legislature to the committee. The appointments shall be based on interest and knowledge. The chairperson and vice-chairperson of the State-Tribal Relations Committee shall also be designated by the executive board. All appointments shall be made within the first six days of the legislative session in odd-numbered years. Members shall serve two-year terms corresponding with legislative sessions and may be reappointed for consecutive terms. The committee shall meet as necessary to, among other things, consider, study, monitor, and review legislation that impacts state-tribal relations issues and to present draft legislation and policy recommendations to the appropriate standing committee of the Legislature.
The Legislature finds that the ruling of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska in Jones v. Gale, 405 F. Supp. 2d 1066, D. Neb. 2005, and subsequent rulings on appeal affirming such ruling holding Article XII, section 8, of the Constitution of Nebraska to be invalid, enjoined, or limited in application has significant implications for the future structure, development, and progress of agricultural production in Nebraska.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to support and facilitate a study by the Agriculture Committee of the Legislature to identify policy instruments available to the Legislature and the people of Nebraska, including, as appropriate, but not necessarily requiring or limited to, modification of Article XII, section 8, of the Constitution of Nebraska, in order to foster and enhance legal, social, and economic conditions in Nebraska consistent with and which advance those state interests that exist in the structure, development, and progress of agricultural production.
(2) Within the limits of funds appropriated for such purpose, the Executive Board of the Legislative Council may, in coordination and cooperation with the Agriculture Committee of the Legislature, commission experts in the fields of agricultural economics, agricultural law, commerce clause jurisprudence, and other areas of study and practice to provide assistance, specific research or reports, or presentations in order to assist the Agriculture Committee of the Legislature in carrying out the intent of the Legislature under this section.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that the Attorney General perform, acquire, and otherwise cause to be made available such research as may be appropriate to inform and assist the Agriculture Committee of the Legislature in identifying policy instruments available to the Legislature and the people of Nebraska, including, as appropriate, but not necessarily requiring or limited to, modification of Article XII, section 8, of the Constitution of Nebraska, in order to foster and enhance legal, social, and economic conditions in Nebraska consistent with and which advance those state interests that exist in the structure, development, and progress of agricultural production in Nebraska.
(2) The Attorney General may contract with experts in the fields of agricultural economics, agricultural law, commerce clause jurisprudence, and other areas of study and practice to assist the Attorney General in carrying out the intent of the Legislature under this section.
(1) The Bioscience Steering Committee is created. The committee shall consist of the chairperson of the Revenue Committee of the Legislature or his or her designee, the chairperson of the Appropriations Committee or his or her designee, and three members of the Legislature selected by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council. The executive board shall appoint a chairperson and vice-chairperson of the committee.
(2) The committee shall conduct a study to measure the impact of the bioscience economy in Nebraska and prepare a strategic plan for growing the bioscience economy in Nebraska. The strategic plan shall report on any progress or remaining work since the last study conducted on the bioscience industry. The strategic plan shall further propose strategies for developing the bioscience economy and shall include, but not be limited to, strategies to (a) stimulate job growth in the fields of science, technology, and engineering throughout Nebraska, (b) encourage individuals and organizations engaged in the biotechnology businesses to locate and expand in Nebraska, (c) capture and commercialize technology that is discovered and developed in Nebraska, (d) grow Nebraska’s investment capital market and incentivize investment in life science start-up companies, and (e) develop Nebraska’s biotechnology workforce in cooperation with higher education institutions. The strategic plan shall estimate the wealth and number of jobs generated from expanding the bioscience economy.
(3) The committee, in consultation with the executive board, shall commission a nonprofit corporation to provide research, analysis, and recommendations to the committee for the development of the study and strategic plan. The nonprofit corporation shall be incorporated pursuant to the Nebraska Nonprofit Corporation Act, shall be organized exclusively for nonprofit purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code as defined in section 49-801.01, shall be engaged in activities to facilitate and promote the growth of life sciences within Nebraska, and shall be dedicated to the development and growth of the bioscience economy.
(4) The committee shall prepare and present electronically to the Legislature a statewide strategic plan for the bioscience economy during the One Hundred Fifth Legislature, First Session, for consideration by the Legislature.
(5)(a) The Biotechnology Development Cash Fund is created. The money in the fund shall be used to commission the nonprofit corporation and provide access to resources necessary for developing the study and strategic plan.
(b) The fund may receive gifts, bequests, grants, or other contributions or donations from public or private entities. Any money in the fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act.
The Department of Administrative Services shall, on or before December 1 of each year, present its plan regarding the management of the state's health care insurance programs and the health care trust fund to the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature. This presentation shall include, but is not limited to, the amount of reserves in the trust fund.
The University of Nebraska shall, on or before December 1 of each year, present its plan regarding the management of the university's health care insurance programs and its health care trust fund to the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature. This presentation shall include, but is not limited to, the amount of reserves in the trust fund.
The Legislature finds that:
(1) Nebraska's water resources are finite and must be wisely managed to ensure their continued availability for beneficial use;
(2) The state must invest in: (a) Research and data gathering; (b) further integrating the management of Nebraska's water supplies; (c) improving the state's aging and antiquated water supply infrastructure; (d) building new water supply infrastructure; (e) promoting coordination and collaboration among all water users; and (f) providing information to policymakers to justify a stable source of project funds;
(3) To determine the costs of effective conservation, sustainability, and management of Nebraska's water resources, the state's identified water needs must be compiled and organized and a process must be established in order to identify statewide projects and research recommendations; and
(4) To facilitate the creation of a funding process, a collaborative effort of experts representing all water interests and areas of the state is important to ensure fair and balanced water funding.
(1) The Water Funding Task Force is created. The task force shall consist of the members of the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission and eleven additional members to be appointed by the Governor. The Director of Natural Resources or his or her designee, the chairperson of the Natural Resources Committee of the Legislature or his or her designee, and five additional members of the Legislature appointed by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council shall be nonvoting, ex officio members of the task force. In appointing members to the task force, the Governor:
(a) Shall seek to create a broad-based task force with knowledge of and experience with and representative of Nebraska's water use and economy;
(b) Shall give equal recognition to the importance of both water quantity and water quality;
(c) Shall appoint one member from each of the following categories: Public power; public power and irrigation districts; irrigation districts; a metropolitan utilities district; municipalities; agriculture; wildlife conservation; livestock producers; agribusiness; manufacturing; and outdoor recreation users; and
(d) May solicit and accept nominations for appointments to the task force from recognized water interest groups in Nebraska.
(2) The members of the task force appointed by the Governor shall represent diverse geographic regions of the state, including urban and rural areas. Such members shall be appointed within thirty days after June 5, 2013. Members shall begin serving immediately following notice of appointment. Members shall be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses incurred in carrying out their duties as members as provided in sections 81-1174 to 81-1177.
(1) The Water Funding Task Force may consult with other groups in its work, including, but not limited to, the University of Nebraska, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Game and Parks Commission, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Geological Survey, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Bureau of Reclamation, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.
(2) For administrative and budgetary purposes, the task force shall be housed within the Department of Natural Resources. Additional advisory support may be requested from appropriate federal and state agencies.
(3) The task force may meet as necessary and may hire a consultant or consultants to facilitate the work and meetings of the task force and enter into agreements to achieve the objectives of the task force. The task force may create and use working groups or subcommittees as it deems necessary. Any contracts or agreements entered into under this subsection shall not be subject to the Nebraska Consultants' Competitive Negotiation Act or sections 73-301 to 73-306 or 73-501 to 73-510.
(4) The Water Funding Task Force terminates on December 31, 2013.
(1) On or before December 31, 2013, the Water Funding Task Force shall develop and provide a report electronically to the Legislature which contains the following:
(a) Recommendations for a strategic plan which prioritizes programs, projects, and activities in need of funding. The recommendations shall give equal consideration to and be classified into the following categories:
(i) Research, data, and modeling needed to assist the state in meeting its water management goals;
(ii) Rehabilitation or restoration of water supply infrastructure, new water supply infrastructure, or water supply infrastructure maintenance;
(iii) Conjunctive management, storage, and integrated management of ground water and surface water; and
(iv) Compliance with interstate compacts or agreements or other formal state contracts or agreements;
(b) Recommendations for ranking criteria to identify funding priorities based on, but not limited to, the following factors:
(i) The extent to which the program, project, or activity provides increased water productivity and otherwise maximizes the beneficial use of Nebraska's water resources for the benefit of its residents;
(ii) The extent to which the program, project, or activity assists the state in meeting its obligations under interstate compacts or decrees or other formal state contracts or agreements;
(iii) The extent to which the program, project, or activity utilizes objectives described in the Annual Report and Plan of Work for the Nebraska State Water Planning and Review Process issued by the Department of Natural Resources;
(iv) The extent to which the program, project, or activity has been approved for, but has not received, funding through an established state program;
(v) The cost-effectiveness of the program, project, or activity relative to achieving the state's water management goals;
(vi) The extent to which the program, project, or activity contributes to the state's ability to leverage state dollars with local or federal government partners or other partners to maximize the use of its resources; and
(vii) The extent to which the program, project, or activity contributes to multiple water supply management goals, including, but not limited to, flood control, agricultural uses, recreation benefits, wildlife habitat, conservation of water resources, and preservation of water resources for future generations;
(c) Recommendations for legislation on a permanent structure and process through which the programs, projects, or activities described in this section will be provided with funding, including:
(i) A permanent governing board structure and membership;
(ii) An application process;
(iii) A statewide project distribution mechanism; and
(iv) A timeframe for funding allocations based on the list of programs, projects, and activities provided for in this section;
(d) Recommendations for the annual funding amount and the start date for distribution of funds; and
(e) Recommendations for statutory changes relating to regulatory authorities and to funds and programs administered by, and boards and commissions under the direction of, the department, based on the task force's evaluation of the efficiency of such funds, programs, boards, and commissions.
(2) The task force shall make every effort to identify and consult with all water-use stakeholder groups in Nebraska on the development of the recommendations required under sections 50-504 to 50-507.
The Department of Natural Resources shall establish a separate budget subprogram to account for funds appropriated to carry out sections 50-504 to 50-507. No later than February 1, 2014, the department shall notify the Natural Resources Committee of the Legislature and the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature regarding the projected unexpended and uncommitted balance remaining in the separate budget subprogram.
(1) The State of Nebraska is hereby divided into forty-nine legislative districts. Each district shall be entitled to one member in the Legislature. The Legislature adopts the official population figures and maps from the 2010 Census Redistricting (Public Law 94-171) TIGER/Line Shapefiles published by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.
(2) The numbers and boundaries of the legislative districts are designated and established by maps identified and labeled as maps LEG11-1, LEG11-1A, LEG11-43002E-2, LEG11-43002E-2A, LEG11-2B, LEG11-3, LEG11-4, LEG11-5, LEG11-6, LEG11-7, LEG11-8, LEG11-9, LEG11-10, LEG11-11, LEG11-12, LEG11-13, LEG11-14, LEG11-15, LEG11-16, LEG11-17, LEG11-18, LEG11-19, LEG11-20, LEG11-21, LEG11-21A, LEG11-22, LEG11-23, LEG11-24, LEG11-25, LEG11-25A, LEG11-26, LEG11-27, LEG11-28, LEG11-29, LEG11-30, LEG11-30A, LEG11-31, LEG11-32, LEG11-32A, LEG11-33, LEG11-34, LEG11-34A, LEG11-35, LEG11-36, LEG11-37, LEG11-37A, LEG11-38, LEG11-38A, LEG11-39, LEG11-40, LEG11-41, LEG11-42, LEG11-43002E-43, LEG11-44, LEG11-45, LEG11-46, LEG11-43002E-47, LEG11-48, and LEG11-43002E-49, filed with the Clerk of the Legislature, and incorporated by reference as part of Laws 2011, LB703.
(3)(a) The Clerk of the Legislature shall transfer possession of the maps referred to in subsection (2) of this section to the Secretary of State on May 27, 2011.
(b) When questions of interpretation of legislative district boundaries arise, the maps referred to in subsection (2) of this section in possession of the Secretary of State shall serve as the indication of the legislative intent in drawing the legislative district boundaries.
(c) Each election commissioner or county clerk shall obtain copies of the maps referred to in subsection (2) of this section for the election commissioner's or clerk's county from the Secretary of State.
(d) The Secretary of State shall also have available for viewing on his or her web site the maps referred to in subsection (2) of this section identifying the boundaries for the legislative districts.
The changes made to this section and section 50-1153 by Laws 2011, LB703 shall become operative on May 27, 2011, except that members of the Legislature from the odd-numbered districts shall be nominated at the primary election in 2012 and elected at the general election in November 2012 for the term commencing January 9, 2013. The members of the Legislature elected or appointed prior to May 27, 2011, shall represent the newly established districts for the balance of their terms, with each member representing the same numbered district as prior to May 27, 2011.
(1) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that pursuant to section 50-402 it is the duty of the Legislative Council to do independent assessments of the performance of state government organizations, programs, activities, and functions in order to provide information to improve public accountability and facilitate decisionmaking by parties with responsibility to oversee or initiate corrective action.
(2) The purpose of the Legislative Performance Audit Act is to provide for a system of performance audits to be conducted by the office of Legislative Audit as directed by the Legislative Performance Audit Committee.
(3) It is not the purpose of the act to interfere with the duties of the Public Counsel or the Legislative Fiscal Analyst or to interfere with the statutorily defined investigative responsibilities or prerogative of any executive state officer, agency, board, bureau, commission, association, society, or institution, except that the act shall not be construed to preclude a performance audit of an agency on the basis that another agency has the same responsibility. The act shall not be construed to interfere with or supplant the responsibilities or prerogative of the Governor to monitor and report on the performance of the agencies, boards, bureaus, commissions, associations, societies, and institutions under his or her administrative direction.
For purposes of the Legislative Performance Audit Act:
(1) Agency means any department, board, commission, or other governmental unit of the State of Nebraska acting or purporting to act by reason of connection with the State of Nebraska, including the Office of Probation Administration and the Office of Public Guardian, but does not include (a) any court, (b) the Governor or his or her personal staff, (c) any political subdivision or entity thereof, or (d) any entity of the federal government;
(2) Auditor of Public Accounts means the Auditor of Public Accounts whose powers and duties are prescribed in section 84-304;
(3) Business day means a day on which state offices are open for regular business;
(4) Committee means the Legislative Performance Audit Committee;
(5) Committee report means the report released by the committee at the conclusion of a performance audit;
(6) Legislative Auditor means the Legislative Auditor appointed by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council under section 50-401.01;
(7) Majority vote means a vote by the majority of the committee's members;
(8) Office means the office of Legislative Audit;
(9) Performance audit means an objective and systematic examination of evidence for the purpose of providing an independent assessment of the performance of a government organization, program, activity, or function in order to provide information to improve public accountability and facilitate decisionmaking by parties with responsibility to oversee or initiate corrective action. Performance audits may have a variety of objectives, including the assessment of a program's effectiveness and results, economy and efficiency, internal control, and compliance with legal or other requirements;
(10) Preaudit inquiry means an investigatory process during which the office gathers and examines evidence to determine if a performance audit topic has merit;
(11) Tax incentive performance audit means an evaluation of a tax incentive program pursuant to section 50-1209; and
(12) Working papers means those documents containing evidence to support the office's findings, opinions, conclusions, and judgments and includes the collection of evidence prepared or obtained by the office during the performance audit or preaudit inquiry.
(1) The Legislative Performance Audit Committee is hereby established as a special legislative committee to exercise the authority and perform the duties provided for in the Legislative Performance Audit Act. The committee shall be composed of the Speaker of the Legislature, the chairperson of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council, the chairperson of the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature, and four other members of the Legislature to be chosen by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council. The executive board shall ensure that the Legislative Performance Audit Committee includes adequate geographic representation. The chairperson and vice-chairperson of the Legislative Performance Audit Committee shall be elected by majority vote. For purposes of tax incentive performance audits authorized in section 50-1209, the committee shall include as nonvoting members the chairperson of the Revenue Committee of the Legislature or his or her designee and one other member of the Revenue Committee, as selected by the Revenue Committee. The Legislative Performance Audit Committee shall be subject to all rules prescribed by the Legislature. The committee shall be reconstituted at the beginning of each Legislature and shall meet as needed.
(2) The Legislative Auditor shall ensure that performance audit work conducted by the office conforms with performance audit standards contained in the Government Auditing Standards (2011 Revision) as required in section 50-1205.01. The office shall be composed of the Legislative Auditor and other employees of the Legislature employed to conduct performance audits. The office shall be the custodian of all records generated by the committee or office except as provided by section 50-1213, subsection (11) of section 77-2711, or subdivision (10)(a) of section 77-27,119. The office shall inform the Legislative Fiscal Analyst of its activities and consult with him or her as needed. The office shall operate under the general direction of the committee.
The committee shall:
(1) Adopt, by majority vote, procedures consistent with the Legislative Performance Audit Act to govern the business of the committee and the conduct of performance audits;
(2) Ensure that performance audits done by the committee are not undertaken based on or influenced by special or partisan interests;
(3) Review performance audit requests and select, by majority vote, agencies or agency programs for performance audit;
(4) Review, amend, if necessary, and approve a scope statement and an audit plan for each performance audit;
(5) Respond to inquiries regarding performance audits;
(6) Inspect or approve the inspection of the premises, or any parts thereof, of any agency or any property owned, leased, or operated by an agency as frequently as is necessary in the opinion of the committee to carry out a performance audit or preaudit inquiry;
(7) Inspect and examine, or approve the inspection and examination of, the records and documents of any agency as a part of a performance audit or preaudit inquiry;
(8) Administer oaths, issue subpoenas, compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of any papers, books, accounts, documents, and testimony, and cause the depositions of witnesses either residing within or without the state to be taken in the manner prescribed by law for taking depositions in civil actions in the district court;
(9) Review completed performance audit reports prepared by the office, together with comments from the evaluated agency, and adopt recommendations and incorporate them into a committee report;
(10) Release the committee report to the public and distribute it electronically to the Clerk of the Legislature with or without benefit of a public hearing;
(11) Hold a public hearing, at the committee's discretion, for the purpose of receiving testimony prior to issuance of the committee report;
(12) Establish a system to ascertain and monitor an agency's implementation of the recommendations contained in the committee report and compliance with any statutory changes resulting from the recommendations;
(13) Issue an annual report each September, to be prepared by the Legislative Auditor and approved by the committee, summarizing recommendations made pursuant to reports of performance audits during the previous fiscal year and the status of implementation of those recommendations;
(14) Consult with the Legislative Auditor regarding the staffing and budgetary needs of the office and assist in presenting budget requests to the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature;
(15) Approve or reject, within the budgetary limits of the office, contracts to retain consultants to assist with performance audits requiring specialized knowledge or expertise. Requests for consultant contracts shall be approved by the Legislative Auditor and presented to the Legislative Performance Audit Committee by the Legislative Auditor. A majority vote shall be required to approve consultant contract requests. For purposes of section 50-1213, subsection (11) of section 77-2711, and subsections (10) through (13) of section 77-27,119, any consultant retained to assist with a performance audit or preaudit inquiry shall be considered an employee of the office during the course of the contract; and
(16) At its discretion, and with the agreement of the Auditor of Public Accounts, conduct joint fiscal or performance audits with the Auditor of Public Accounts. The details of any joint audit shall be agreed upon in writing by the committee and the Auditor of Public Accounts.
Performance audits done under the terms of the Legislative Performance Audit Act shall be conducted in accordance with the generally accepted government auditing standards for performance audits contained in the Government Auditing Standards (2011 Revision), published by the Comptroller General of the United States, Government Accountability Office.
(1) Requests for performance audits may be made by the Governor, any other constitutional officer of the State of Nebraska, a legislator, the Legislative Auditor, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, or the Director of Research of the Legislature.
(2) Performance audit requests shall be submitted to the committee chairperson or Legislative Auditor by letter or on a form developed by the Legislative Auditor.
(3) When considering a performance audit request, if the committee determines that the request has potential merit but insufficient information is available, it may, by majority vote, instruct the Legislative Auditor to conduct a preaudit inquiry.
(4) Upon completion of the preaudit inquiry, the committee chairperson shall place the request on the agenda for the committee's next meeting and shall notify the request sponsor of that action.
(5) Tax incentive performance audits shall be initiated as provided in section 50-1209.
The committee may develop criteria to be used to screen requests for performance audits. The committee shall consult with the Legislative Auditor in the application of the screening criteria.
(1) The committee shall, by majority vote, adopt requests for performance audit. The committee chairperson shall notify each requester of any action taken on his or her request.
(2) Before the office begins a performance audit, it shall notify in writing the agency director, the program director, when relevant, and the Governor that a performance audit will be conducted.
(3) Following notification, the office shall arrange an entrance conference to provide the agency with further information about the audit process. The agency director shall inform the agency staff, in writing, of the performance audit and shall instruct agency staff to cooperate fully with the office.
(4) After the entrance conference, the office shall conduct the research necessary to draft a scope statement for consideration by the committee. The scope statement shall identify the specific issues to be addressed in the audit. The committee shall, by majority vote, adopt, reject, or amend and adopt the scope statement prepared by the office.
(5) Once the committee has adopted a scope statement, the office shall develop an audit plan. The audit plan shall include a description of the research and audit methodologies to be employed and a projected deadline for completion of the office's report. The audit plan shall be submitted to the committee, and a majority vote shall be required for its approval. Upon approval of the audit plan, the agency shall be notified in writing of the specific scope of the audit and the projected deadline for completion of the office's report. If the office needs information from a political subdivision or entity thereof to effectively conduct a performance audit of an agency, the political subdivision or entity thereof shall provide information, on request, to the office.
(6) If the performance audit reveals a need to modify the scope statement or audit plan, the Legislative Auditor may request that the committee make revisions. A majority vote shall be required to revise the scope statement or audit plan. The agency shall be notified in writing of any revision to the scope statement or audit plan.
(1) Tax incentive performance audits shall be conducted by the office pursuant to this section on the following tax incentive programs:
(a) The Angel Investment Tax Credit Act;
(b) The Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act;
(c) The Nebraska Advantage Act;
(d) The Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit Act;
(e) The Nebraska Advantage Research and Development Act;
(f) The Nebraska Advantage Rural Development Act;
(g) The Nebraska Job Creation and Mainstreet Revitalization Act;
(h) The New Markets Job Growth Investment Act; and
(i) Any other tax incentive program created by the Legislature for the purpose of recruitment or retention of businesses in Nebraska. In determining whether a future tax incentive program is enacted for the purpose of recruitment or retention of businesses, the office shall consider legislative intent, including legislative statements of purpose and goals, and may also consider whether the tax incentive program is promoted as a business incentive by the Department of Economic Development or other relevant state agency.
(2) The office shall develop a schedule for conducting tax incentive performance audits and shall update the schedule annually. The schedule shall ensure that each tax incentive program is reviewed at least once every three years.
(3) Each tax incentive performance audit conducted by the office pursuant to this section shall include the following:
(a) An analysis of whether the tax incentive program is meeting the following goals:
(i) Strengthening the state's economy overall by attracting new business to the state, expanding existing businesses, increasing employment, creating high-quality jobs, and increasing business investment;
(ii) Revitalizing rural and other distressed areas of the state;
(iii) Diversifying the state's economy and positioning Nebraska for the future by stimulating entrepreneurial, high-tech, and renewable energy firms; and
(iv) Any other program-specific goals found in the statutes for the tax incentive program being evaluated;
(b) An analysis of the economic and fiscal impacts of the tax incentive program. The analysis may take into account the following considerations in addition to other relevant factors:
(i) The extent to which the tax incentive changes business behavior;
(ii) The results of the tax incentive for the economy of Nebraska as a whole. This consideration includes both direct and indirect impacts generally and any effects on other Nebraska businesses; and
(iii) A comparison to the results of other economic development strategies with similar goals, other policies, or other incentives;
(c) An assessment of whether adequate protections are in place to ensure the fiscal impact of the tax incentive does not increase substantially beyond the state's expectations in future years;
(d) An assessment of the fiscal impact of the tax incentive on the budgets of local governments, if applicable; and
(e) Recommendations for any changes to statutes or rules and regulations that would allow the tax incentive program to be more easily evaluated in the future, including changes to data collection, reporting, sharing of information, and clarification of goals.
(1) Upon completion of a performance audit, the office shall prepare a report of its findings and recommendations for action. The Legislative Auditor shall provide the office's report concurrently to the committee, agency director, and Legislative Fiscal Analyst. The committee may, by majority vote, release the office's report or portions thereof to other individuals, with the stipulation that the released material shall be kept confidential.
(2) When the Legislative Auditor provides the report to the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst shall issue an opinion to the committee indicating whether the office's recommendations can be implemented by the agency within its current appropriation.
(3) When the Legislative Auditor provides the report to the agency, the agency shall have twenty business days from the date of receipt of the report to provide a written response. Any written response received from the agency shall be attached to the committee report. The agency shall not release any part of the report to any person outside the agency, except that an agency may discuss the report with the Governor. The Governor shall not release any part of the report.
(4) Following receipt of any written response from the agency, the Legislative Auditor shall prepare a brief written summary of the response, including a description of any significant disagreements the agency has with the office's report or recommendations.
(1) The committee shall review the office's report, the agency's response, the Legislative Auditor's summary of the agency's response, and the Legislative Fiscal Analyst's opinion prescribed in section 50-1210. The committee may amend and shall adopt or reject each recommendation in the report and indicate whether each recommendation can be implemented by the agency within its current appropriation. The adopted recommendations shall be incorporated into a committee report, which shall be approved by majority vote.
(2) The committee report shall include, but not be limited to, the office's report, the agency's written response to the report, the Legislative Auditor's summary of the agency response, the committee's recommendations, and any opinions of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst regarding whether the committee's recommendations can be implemented by the agency within its current appropriation.
(3) The committee may decide, by majority vote, to defer adoption of a committee report pending a public hearing. If the committee elects to schedule a public hearing, it shall release, for review by interested persons prior to the hearing, the office's report, the agency's response, the Legislative Auditor's summary of the agency's response, and any opinions of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst. The public hearing shall be held not less than ten nor more than twenty business days following release of the materials.
(4) When the committee elects to schedule a hearing, a summary of the testimony received at the hearing shall be attached to the committee report as an addendum. A transcript of the testimony received at the hearing shall be on file with the committee and available for public inspection. Unless the committee votes to delay release of the committee report, the report shall be released within forty business days after the public hearing.
(5) Once the committee has approved its report, the committee shall, by majority vote, cause the committee report to be released to all members of the Legislature and to the public. The report submitted to the members of the Legislature shall be submitted electronically. The committee may, by majority vote, release the committee report or portions thereof prior to public release of the report. Each tax incentive performance audit report shall also be presented at a joint hearing of the Appropriations Committee and Revenue Committee of the Legislature.
(1) Within forty business days following the release of the committee report, the agency shall provide to the committee a written implementation plan describing the action planned and timeframe for accomplishment of each of the recommendations contained in the committee report, except that the committee may waive such requirement for tax incentive performance audits.
(2) The agency director shall make every effort to fully implement the recommendations that can be implemented within the limits of the agency's current appropriation. For those recommendations which require additional appropriations or the drafting of legislation, the committee shall work with the appropriate standing committee of the Legislature to ensure legislation is introduced.
(3) The Legislative Performance Audit Committee shall establish a system to ascertain and monitor agency conformity to the recommendations contained in the committee report and compliance with any statutory changes resulting from the report recommendations.
(4) Based on the tax incentive performance audit report, the Revenue Committee of the Legislature shall electronically report its recommendation about whether to extend the sunset date for the audited program to the Legislature by December 1 of the year prior to such program's sunset date.
(1) The office shall have access to any and all information and records, confidential or otherwise, of any agency, in whatever form they may be, including, but not limited to, direct access to all agency data bases containing relevant program information or data, unless the office is denied such access by federal law or explicitly named and denied such access by state law. If such a law exists, the agency shall provide the committee with a written explanation of its inability to produce such information and records and, after reasonable accommodations are made, shall grant the office access to all information and records or portions thereof that can legally be reviewed. Accommodations that may be negotiated between the agency and the committee include, but are not limited to, a requirement that specified information or records be reviewed on agency premises and a requirement that specified working papers be securely stored on agency premises.
(2) Upon receipt of a written request by the office for access to any information or records, the agency shall provide to the office as soon as is practicable and without delay, but not more than three business days after actual receipt of the request, either (a) the requested materials or (b)(i) if there is a legal basis for refusal to comply with the request, a written denial of the request together with the information specified in subsection (1) of this section or (ii) if the entire request cannot with reasonable good faith efforts be fulfilled within three business days after actual receipt of the request due to the significant difficulty or the extensiveness of the request, a written explanation, including the earliest practicable date for fulfilling the request, and an opportunity for the office to modify or prioritize the items within the request. No delay due to the significant difficulty or the extensiveness of a request for access to information or records shall exceed three calendar weeks after actual receipt of such request by any agency. The three business days shall be computed by excluding the day the request is received, after which the designated period of time begins to run. Business day does not include a Saturday, a Sunday, or a day during which the offices of the custodian of the public records are closed.
(3) Except as provided in this section, any confidential information or confidential records shared with the office shall remain confidential and shall not be shared by an employee of the office with any person who is not an employee of the office, including any member of the committee.
(4) Except as provided in subsection (11) of section 77-2711 and subdivision (10)(d) of section 77-27,119, if any employee or former employee of the office knowingly divulges or makes known, in any manner not permitted by law, confidential information or confidential records, he or she shall be guilty of a Class III misdemeanor and, in the case of an employee, shall be dismissed.
(5) No proceeding of the committee or opinion or expression of any member of the committee or office employee acting at the direction of the committee shall be reviewable in any court. No member of the committee or office employee acting at the direction of the committee shall be required to testify or produce evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding concerning matters relating to the work of the office except in a proceeding brought to enforce the Legislative Performance Audit Act.
(6) Pursuant to sections 84-712 and 84-712.01 and subdivision (5) of section 84-712.05, the working papers obtained or produced by the committee or office shall not be considered public records. The committee may make the working papers available for purposes of an external quality control review as required by generally accepted government auditing standards. However, any reports made from such external quality control review shall not make public any information which would be considered confidential when in the possession of the office.
(1) By majority vote, the committee may decide not to include in any document that will be a public record the names of persons providing information to the office or committee.
(2) No employee of the State of Nebraska who provides information to the committee or office shall be subject to any personnel action, as defined in section 81-2703, in connection with his or her employment as a result of the provision of such information.
(3) Any person exercising his or her supervisory or managerial authority to recommend, approve, direct, or otherwise take or affect personnel action in violation of subsection (2) of this section shall be guilty of a Class III misdemeanor and shall be subject to personnel action up to and including dismissal from employment with the state.
Any person who willfully fails to comply with the provisions of section 50-1213 or who otherwise willfully obstructs or hinders the conduct of a performance audit or preaudit inquiry or who willfully misleads or attempts to mislead any person charged with the duty of conducting a performance audit or preaudit inquiry shall be guilty of a Class II misdemeanor.
The Legislature finds that state government actions have produced an increase in the numbers of boards, commissions, and similar entities that support, advise, direct, or administer various state programs. The process has evolved without sufficient legislative and executive oversight and without a system of checks and balances. Because the Legislature is responsible for the expenditure of public money and the shaping of the administration of state government and is held accountable for fiscal policy, the Legislature should also be responsible for the termination, continuation, or modification of such boards, commissions, and similar entities so that it may be assured that its directives have been faithfully carried out.
(1) Every four years, beginning in 2008, the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee of the Legislature shall prepare and publish a report pertaining to boards, commissions, and similar entities created by law that are made part of or are placed in the executive branch of state government. The committee may also include entities created by executive order or by an agency director. The report shall be submitted electronically to the Legislature on December 1 of such year.
(2) The report shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) The name of each board, commission, or similar entity;
(b) The name of a parent agency, if any;
(c) The statutory citation or other authorization for the creation of the board, commission, or entity;
(d) The number of members of the board, commission, or entity and how the members are appointed;
(e) The qualifications for membership on the board, commission, or entity;
(f) The number of times the board, commission, or entity is required to meet during the year and the number of times it actually met;
(g) Budget information of the board, commission, or entity for the four most recently completed fiscal years; and
(h) A brief summary of the accomplishments of the board, commission, or entity for the past four years.
(1) The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee of the Legislature may randomly select and conduct an evaluation of any board, commission, or similar entity. An evaluation conducted by the committee shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) A review of the basic assumptions underlying the creation of the board, commission, or entity;
(b) A statement of the impact and effectiveness of the programs, policies, services, or activities administered by, or under the supervision of, the board, commission, or entity; and
(c) A recommendation as to whether the board, commission, or entity should be terminated, continued, or modified.
(2) If the committee believes that a more extensive evaluation of a board, commission, or entity is necessary, the chairperson of the committee, on the committee's behalf, may request the Legislative Performance Audit Committee to conduct a performance audit pursuant to the Legislative Performance Audit Act. Nothing in this section shall be construed to give requests for performance audits under this section priority over other requests under consideration by the Legislative Performance Audit Committee.
(1) All agencies, boards, commissions, and departments of the state shall furnish such information, reports, aid, services, and assistance as may be requested by any standing committee of the Legislature in the performance of its duties.
(2) The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee of the Legislature shall use its staff and may also request assistance from the Director of Research of the Legislature, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, or any other division within the Legislature as may be necessary in the performance of the duties set forth in sections 50-1301 to 50-1304.
The Legislature finds and declares that:
(1) State government has significant challenges to face. An ever-changing global economy, an aging population, outmigration of educated young people, and constantly expanding needs for services, among other issues, require that the Legislature consider the long-term trends and factors affecting the welfare of Nebraskans and the long-term implications of the decisions made by the members of the Legislature;
(2) It is necessary for the Legislature to identify emerging trends, assets, and challenges of the state;
(3) It is vital for Nebraska to have continuity in policy;
(4) It is necessary to establish a process of long-term state planning within the Legislature; and
(5) It is the duty of the Legislature to assess the long-range needs of Nebraska and to adopt legislation which meets those needs.
The Legislature's Planning Committee is hereby established as a special legislative committee to exercise the authority and perform the duties provided for in this section. The committee shall be comprised of the Speaker of the Legislature, the chairperson of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council, the chairperson of the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature, and six other members of the Legislature to be chosen by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council. The executive board shall ensure that the Legislature's Planning Committee includes adequate geographic representation. The chairperson and vice-chairperson of the committee shall be elected by majority vote of the committee. The committee shall be subject to all rules prescribed by the Legislature. The initial members of the committee shall be appointed as soon as possible after May 14, 2009, and thereafter the committee shall be appointed at the beginning of each regular legislative session and shall meet as needed. The committee shall have staff support from the various legislative divisions and staff.
The Legislature's Planning Committee shall:
(1) Collect and analyze data about Nebraska, including, but not limited to, demographics, workforce, education, wages, wealth, tax structure, revenue, natural resources, assets, challenges, trends, and growth and efficiency of government;
(2) Identify long-term issues significant to the state;
(3) Set goals and benchmarks;
(4) Issue a yearly report of its findings; and
(5) Propose legislation.
In order to fulfill its duties, the Legislature's Planning Committee may:
(1) Hold public hearings;
(2) Obtain data and information from state agencies, the University of Nebraska, and private entities that contract with the state;
(3) Contract for assistance, including consultants, with the approval of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council; and
(4) Exercise any other authority or powers as granted from time to time by the executive board.