Legislative Update

Legislative Update

The 105th Nebraska Legislature concluded its Second Session and adjourned sine die on April 18, 2018.  Along with bills that carried over from the First Session, this year’s legislative session saw senators deal with newly introduced bills addressing budget adjustments for the remainder of the current biennium, property tax proposals, school funding concerns, and numerous other topics.  In total, 469 new legislative bills were introduced in this year’s session.   During the combined First and Second Sessions of the 105th Legislature, 1136 bills were introduced.

In January of 2019, the Nebraska Legislature will convene for the First Session of the 106th Legislature, which will be 90 days in length.  The Legislature will install newly elected senators and establish leadership positions for the 106th Legislature.  At least 8, and possibly more, new senators will join the Legislature.

Below is a brief summary of legislation passed during the 2018 session of importance for Nebraska sheriffs.

LB 773 (Clements) – Change intimidation by telephone call provisions

Includes intimidation by electronic communication as a criminal offense. Defines “electronic communication” as any writing, sound, visual image or data of any nature that is received or transmitted by an electronic communication device.

LB 776 (McCollister) – Provide requirements for inmate access to telephone or videoconferencing systems in county and city jails.

Requires that phone calls or videoconference sessions between an inmate and an attorney are free of charge and prohibits monitoring or recording of such communications. Authorizes the Jail Standards Board to consider the acceptable rates set by the Federal Communications Commission in setting comparable rates for city and county jails.  Allows cities and counties to continue receiving revenue for the reasonable operating costs of a telephone system, but prohibits the payment of “excessive commissions or bonus payments.”

LB 792 (Ebke) - Change powers and duties of the Nebraska State Patrol, law enforcement agencies, the executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, and the Attorney General.

Requires law enforcement agencies to document and maintain records related to the reason for and circumstances surrounding an officer’s separation of service from that agency.  Law enforcement agencies are required to submit a detailed report to the Nebraska Crime Commission if an officer is terminated from employment or allowed to resign in lieu of termination for conduct that would constitute incompetence, neglect of duty, incapacity, dishonesty, a guilty plea to a felony charge, a felony conviction or another violation of the officer’s oath of office, code of ethics or statutory duties.  A law enforcement officer is required to sign a waiver upon application for employment with a new agency to allow the prospective employer to contact the officer’s former agency and obtain information detailing his or her separation from previous service.

LB 902 (Bostelman) – Authorize the withholding from the public of information regarding firearm registration, possession, sale, or use.

Authorizes the withholding of certain public information regarding firearm registration, possession, sale or use obtained by a government entity for an application or permit. Such information will be available to any federal, state, county or local law enforcement agency.

LB 909 (Bostelman) – Change provisions relating to motor carriers, hazardous materials regulations, and titling, registration, sales, and operation of motorboats and motor vehicles.

Requires that certificates of title for assembled and kit vehicles include the year, make and model the vehicle resembles. The title also must indicate that the vehicle is reconstructed.

 LB 913 (McDonnell) – Change provisions relating to assault with a bodily fluid against a public safety officer

Establishes enhanced assault penalties for health care providers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and firefighters. Any person who knowingly and intentionally strikes a public safety officer with a bodily fluid can be charged with a Class IIIA felony rather than a Class I misdemeanor if the person committing the assault strikes a person’s eyes, mouth or skin and knows that the fluid is infected with HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C at the time the assault is committed.

LB 923 (Morfeld) – Provide immunity for certain law enforcement employees administering naloxone and change provisions relating to immunity for person reporting or experiencing alcohol overdose.

Expands immunity for administering naloxone to law enforcement employees who, as part of their duties, handle or process evidence or property which may include opioids. The bill also provides that in the case of an alcohol overdose, persons older than age 18 but younger than age 21, who make a good faith effort to request emergency medical assistance, remain on the scene and cooperate with law enforcement will not be charged with a violation.

LB 989 (Wishart) - Authorize testing of autonomous vehicles by a city of the primary class on its roadways.

Authorizes the testing of autonomous vehicles statewide under a special permit authorized by the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Authorizes the operation of an autonomous vehicle on all state roads and highways as long as the vehicle is capable of operating in compliance with traffic and motor vehicle safety laws. An autonomous vehicle may or may not contain a human driver. If a human driver is present in the vehicle, he or she must be a licensed driver and covered by insurance.  The operation of an on-demand autonomous vehicle network, which can provide transportation of persons or goods, including for-hire transportation or public transportation is permitted. Political subdivisions will be prohibited from imposing any additional performance requirements or taxes that relate specifically to the operation of an autonomous vehicle. Requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to consult with railroad companies before providing an exemption that allows fully autonomous vehicles to cross railroads.

LB 990 (Wayne) – Create the offense of possession of a firearm by a prohibited juvenile offender.

Prohibits a person under 25 from possessing a firearm if they have been adjudicated in juvenile court of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge or any felony. The prohibition will not apply to the possession of firearms by members of the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard, Reserve Officers Training Corps, or law enforcement officers while on duty or during training. The penalty for first offense is a Class IV felony and for any subsequent offense the penalty is a Class III A felony.

LB 993e (Friesen) – Create the 911 Service System Advisory Committee and change the 911 Service System Act and eliminate the act’s termination date.

Creates the 911 Services System Advisory Committee to assist the Public Service Commission in its mission to fully implement the 911 service system. The commission is tasked with creating a mechanism for determining the level of funding available to local governing bodies, public safety answering points and third-party service or infrastructure providers from the 911 Service System Fund. Costs incurred for providing 911 service, acquiring new equipment, training personnel and maintaining, upgrading or modifying services are eligible for funding under the bill. Additionally, the commission will be able to apply for federal funds available for next-generation 911 service and can distribute the funds accordingly. The bill provides legal immunity to individuals installing, maintaining or providing service, except in cases of failure to use reasonable care or for intentional acts.

LB 1009 (Murante) – Provide a super-two rural highway classification and change maximum highway speed limits as prescribed.

Authorizes the department of Transportation to increase the maximum speed limit from 60 mph to 65 mph on any four-lane divided highway that is not part of the state highway system and any part of the state highway system other than an expressway or freeway.

Speeds would increase from 65 mph to 70 mph on expressways that are part of the state highway system and freeways that are a part of the state highway system but not part of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. The maximum speed limit will be increased from 60 mph to 65 mph on any portion of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways located in Douglas, Lancaster and Dakota counties.

 

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