107th Nebraska Legislature, Second Session – Legislature Adjourns Sine Die
The Second Session of the 107th Nebraska Legislature adjourned sine die on April 20, 2022. This chart provides the status of all Second Session bills related to economic development, energy and renewable energy, government and municipal law, healthcare, real estate and financial transactions, taxation, and telecommunications.
In our first update, available here, we addressed 45 bills from days one through five of bill introduction. In our second update, available here, we identified 34 additional bills of interest.
Below are summaries of nine particularly relevant bills from the Second Session.
Open Meetings Act
LB 742 (Erdman) amends the Open Meetings Act to allow public entities to keep minutes as electronic records. On April 12, 2022, the Legislature passed the bill. On April 18, 2022, Governor Ricketts approved the bill. The bill takes effect on July 21, 2022.
LB 908 (McDonnell) expands the use of virtual conferencing under the Open Meetings Act. Under this bill, a public body could hold a meeting by virtual conferencing so long as the meeting’s subject would also be the subject of a later in‑person meeting, no final action would occur at the virtual meeting, and the public received notice and an opportunity to participate. On April 12, 2022, the Legislature passed the bill. On April 18, 2022, Governor Ricketts approved the bill. The bill takes effect on July 21, 2022.
LB 701 (Williams) proposed to amend certain deadlines in the Nebraska Job Creation and Mainstreet Revitalization Act (also known as the Historic Tax Credit) and the Nebraska Advantage Research and Development Act. On March 1, 2022, the Committee adopted AM 2087 amending LB 701 into LB 730. The Legislature did not pass LB 730. Accordingly, the Nebraska Job Creation and Main Street Revitalization Act will sunset on December 31, 2022. People interested in using the program can file applications through that day – a project need not be completed by then to qualify for state historic tax credits.
LB 775 (Brewer) proposed to amend the Integrated Solid Waste Management Act to prohibit land disposal of wind turbine blades and their component parts. On April 12, 2022, the Legislature indefinitely postponed this bill.
LB 1045 (Bostelman) proposed to amend the qualifications for a person to serve on a Public Power and Irrigation District’s Board of Directors. Against a general rule that no employee of such a district may serve on its board of directors, section 70-618(2) presently provides an exception for high-level managers in limited circumstances, such as when a director has resigned or taken unpaid leave. This bill would have removed that exception, meaning that no district employees, including high-level managers, could serve on the board of directors.
The Committee advanced the bill to General File with AM 2081. The amendment contained LB 1045, LB 1047 (with AM 2049), and LB 1058 (with AM 1921). The Legislature did not pass LB 1045. Since this is the end of the biennium, the bill will not carry over to the next session.
LB 1099 (Bostelman) creates the Hydrogen Hub Industry Work Group. The Work Group will apply to the U.S. Department of Energy for designation as one of the four regional clean‑hydrogen hubs authorized under the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. On March 11, 2022, the Legislature passed the bill. On March 16, 2022, Governor Ricketts approved the bill with an emergency clause. Accordingly, the bill took effect immediately upon approval.
Tax Increment Financing
LB 695 (Blood) proposed to amend statutes relating to conditional use permits and zoning exceptions. This bill would have prohibited counties from issuing conditional use permits or zoning exceptions to persons who are delinquent on their real property taxes. The Legislature did not pass this bill. Since this is the end of the biennium, the bill will not carry over to the next session.
LB 998 (Wayne) amends provisions in the Municipal Inland Port Authority Act. In any city or county that has not established an inland port authority, this bill authorizes nonprofit economic development corporations to create such an authority. On April 12, 2022, the Legislature passed the bill. On April 18, 2022, Governor Rickets approved the bill. The bill takes effect on July 21, 2022.
LB 1102 (Bostelman) adopts the Environmental Response Act. Under the Act, the Department of Environment and Energy will receive funding and authorization to clean up releases of pollutants in the state. The Department could also elect to issue orders requiring any persons responsible for the release to clean it up.
If a responsible person fails to pay as required under the Act, the Department can issue administrative penalties. The Department can also issue a lien on the responsible person’s property. Exceptions to liability apply, however, for releases caused by acts of God, acts of war, or acts of an independent third party. A responsible party can also avoid liability by voluntarily remedying the contamination in accordance with the Remedial Action Plan Monitoring Act. In many respects, this Act resembles the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
The term “release” in this bill uses the definition of the same term in applicable federal and state environmental standards. The bill also transfers $300,000 to the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy. It also adds plant and animal life to the definition of property for purposes of harmful effects. On April 12, 2022, the Legislature passed the bill. On April 18, 2022, Governor Ricketts approved the bill. The bill takes effect on July 21, 2022.
All bills are on the Legislature’s website at http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/. Please contact us if you have any questions about these bills or any others the Nebraska Legislature is currently considering. Thank you.
 All references are to the Nebraska Revised Statutes.