LB 1290 (1994)
February 23, 1994
PRESIDENT ROBAK: LB 1275 advances. We turn to LB 1290.
CLERK: Madam President, just a couple of items if I may. A hearing notice from the Retirement Systems Committee; Senator Abboud, Business and Labor, priority bill LB 1101 and Senator Byars LB 1136 as his personal priority bill.
Madam President, LB 1290 was a bill originally introduced by Senator Warner. (Read title.) The bill was introduced on January 20 of this year, referred to the Education Committee. The bill was advanced to General File. I have no committee amendments pending at this time.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The Chair recognizes Senator Warner to open on LB 1290.
SENATOR WARNER: Madam President, members of the Legislature, LB 1290 is a simple bill in terms of...if it's language, it strikes 4 and inserts 5 for calendar year. The effect of it has become somewhat controversial, I suppose, in some respects at least. Those of you who are familiar with LB 1059, the stat e aid bill that was enacted three years ago I guess it was, recall there was a provision in that act that required the Department of Revenue to submit to the Department of Education the information that would verify and indicate the disparity that might exist between, on an inter county and intracounty level of valuations for school districts and that then the state aid distribution would be adjusted to reflect those valuations. Subsequently, a couple of years ago, because it was not prepared
to go, I believe, at least there was a delayed date offered on the floor to a bill which was enacted and a part of that same process, the appropriation that was originally included in 10 59 in the vicinity of half a million dollars was stricken from the appropriation if I recall correctly. Perhaps ... I think that may have been a time we anticipated to be tight on revenue and in that process why the appropriation could be reduced by. for the biennium by a million dollars, but in any event there was no effort on the part of the Legislature apparently to reinsert that money nor was there a request by the Department of. Revenue to insert that money and the argument is, has probably developed in more recent months that somebody should have done that and because they didn't, we ought to go with the numbers we have. The Department of Revenue has indicated they will come in with numbers on a countywide basis, however, that is not consistent with the language that is in the bill or in the law rather, nor is it consistent with what I believe was the intent and t he intent in the law says that these valuation comparisons will be done on a school district basis, not a countywide basis. And obviously the sales assessment ratios that are utilized throughout the state on a countywide basis may not necessarily reflect the type of sales assessment ratio that exists within a school district and there's a variety of examples that can be cited around the state where that obviously is true. In addition to delay, however, I want to talk another issue which I think makes it equally important to do this. By the way the re is an appropriation bill I introduced that has a hearing before the Appropriations Committee to reinsert the funding for next year which is necessary. But the other thing, there was an amendment which Senator Wickersham will offer which I have cosigned with him, but lie had brought up the point at the public hearing on 1290, the fact that there is no process in the current law for a hearing process and obviously, the se valuations can possibly at 'Least, significantly effect the distribution of state aid by school districts throughout t he state and it's of sufficient importance that by ... Senator Wickersham brought up the issue, it occurred to me after he h ad brought up the issue that indeed it was a real lack of provisions in the current law that ought to be there and probably is a better reason for deferring for one year than any of the other reasons that we have been given prior to this time, but I do strongly believe that there ought to be a hearing process that had to be utilized by the Department of Revenue when they have compiled these figures based on a school district level and that that hearing ought to be required before the act
itself is implemented. But I would hope that this bill could be considered and taken up and enacted. Under the current law the information by the Department of Revenue is to be submitted by March 1. They have indicated numerous times they will, however it's going to be these count, countywide figures which in my opinion are not particularly relevant, certainly may not be relevant to a school district basis and I think that the bill should proceed. The information that will be available March 1 will be available long before this bill could be enacted in any event, but I would hope we would proceed with the bill. and take tip the consideration of Senator Wickersham's amendment.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator Warner. Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: Madam President, Senator Moore would move to bracket the bill until March 1, 1994.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Senator Moore.
SENATOR MOORE: Madam President and members, LB 1290, as Senator Warner explained, is the bill that deals with delaying the implementation of a provision put in LB 1059 four years ago. That provision, Section 79-3809 of chat law, I passed out a chronology of events and Senator Warner is correct, this issue is somewhat tied to the funding issue which we will debate at a later time. This motion I specifically filed is for a bracket motion and the reason I think a bracket motion is in order at this point in time, I think it is premature to talk about delaying a bill before we have any idea whether or not you need to, because the fact is the Department of Revenue has never asked for a delay, at least publicly, nor have they asked for the money to implement any better. The position is that with what now we have will work. Well obviously we don't know what we have until we (jet it and that's supposed to be here by March 1 and I guess if you have someone you're paying $17 million to do the job, my assumption is what they tell you what all you've got to stick with and they have never came in and requested a delay. They have stated that the present data they're going to give us between now and probably next Tuesday is good enough, though I think there's a legitimate question in whether or not it is. I can't answer that until I -ee it and until I see it I think it's premature for this body to talk about delaying it because something very important is at stake. Back when we passed that legislation we knew there was going I to be a problem of trying to equalize along county lines. For the
last 127 years, if there was equalization across county lines, it didn't make a whole lot of difference to tell you the truth. I mean in the horse and buggy days, I mean if you were in a given school district it may have made a difference, but tip until 1990 (inaudible) correctly, we were only distributing $30 million in state aid based on a formula on property values. In this day and age we distribute $378 million in state aid and about 270 of that is distributed on property valuations. There is a lot at stake. And it's not just what you move around, the whole $270 million distribution formula is underpinnings are an equality across school district lines. Now why would we delay this? I'm not going to get into that. As I always said, it's been well documented, my frustrations with the Department of Revenue on implementing this law. I think the statute is clear it should be by school district. You look at the chronology of events, I mean if you look back at the fiscal note, it was by school district in a bill, 829, in 1991 took the money out. There was never a request for the money and the Department of Revenue is on record saying it can be done this way, if you don't give us more money, it will be done that way next year. And my assumption is that's going to work and until I see the numbers that show me it's not going to work, I think we ought to move ahead. And so I think today it's premature to talk about delaying implementation of this bill because if you delay it, what you have done is you have rewarded those who are not doing their job well and penalize those who do their job. I don't think it's the right message for the Legislature to be sending, the administration or anyone. I think it's important that...it's been four years now, I think we're moving along. I would be the first to say if I'm convinced the data we have is useless, we ought to delay it. I cannot make that decision until 1 see the data. And so for that reason I think the body would be wise to bracket this motion to March 1 after we've got the data, after we can make an assessment, a reasonable, good faith assessment by this body whether or not it's workable, then we debate to delay it. To do it prior to that I think is premature, I think sending the signal that we're a little squishy about following through with a very tough piece of legislation. That tough piece of legislation being, if you don't do your job we are not going to reward you with a state aid formula. That was a wrong message, that was the right message, I think we ought to stay true to course at this point in time, delay any discussion of delaying this particular section, Section 79-3809. Madam President, I'd ask for the bill to be bracketed until next Tuesday.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator Moore. Senator Withem, do you wish to speak to the bracket motion?
SENATOR WITHEM: Yes, I do, Madam President. I rise in support of the bracket motion. The short term reason for bracketing this bill is a good one and that is that the bill does call f or Department of Rev... the law now calls for the Department of Revenue to provide information relating to school district adjustment valuation adjustment numbers by March 1st. I think it's totally premature to talk about delaying the implementation of the statute another year when we have not even se en the ... when we have not even seen what the adjustment figures are, so for the short term it is good to bracket the bill. On the basis of whether the bill should pass or it should not pass, I am not going to vote to pass LB 1290. 1 say that and I want to make it perfectly clear, I don't know what the adjustment numbers are going to be. I assume that my school districts that I represent, Omaha Public Schools and Papillion-LaVista Public Schools will probably benefit from a delay. My guess is that they probably will have an adjustment factor that will lose state aid dollars. I am not standing up here objecting to this bill based on carrying water for the home district. Too often I think we do that and I want to make it clear I'm not doing that. As I indicated on the introduction of my last bill, this whole question of getting the assessment numbers more closely to effect reality is a decades old problem and it's one that members of the Legislature periodically will trot out bills and resolutions and give speeches beating up on local assessors and the Department of Revenue demanding greater, assessment accuracy and we always get promises from the Department of Revenue and from the local assessors that it will be improving. By the way, when we passed LB 1059 with this provision in it we delayed it for one year because the county officials said we are so close to getting our act together and being able to do this locally, you won't even need this, you will not need this adjustment. We've all seen what is out there today three or four years later. Every time we get close to putting some teeth in the assessment process we back off from it, we collectively, state government, whether it be the Legislature, whether it be the State Board of Equalization, whether it be the Department of Revenue or whether it be a governor's office, whoever the governor is and this governor certainly is not blameless but certainly does not deserve any undue blame because it's a practice that any governor of any party has fallen into. I
think we need to carry through with this adjustment. I think at a minimum we need to ',-lay the advancement of this bill until we at least know what we're talking about so for that reason I'm going to vote with Senator Moore to bracket the bill until after the adjustment figures are made available to us.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator Withem. Senator Wesely wishes to announce the following guest is visiting the Legislature, Kathleen Steele from the United states Department of Health and Human Services and is the regional director is here under the south balcony. Kathleen, would you please stand and be recognized. The Chair recognizes Senator Warner. Do you wish to speak on the bracket motion?
SENATOR WARNER: Madam President, members of the Legislature, I rise to oppose the bracket motion. If I heard Senator Moore correctly, he wanted to see the numbers and I want to suggest to you that it's the policy that I'm concerned with. I don't know what the impact of the numbers are. At my initiating last summer we had asked, requested the Department of Revenue and the Department of Education to run some numbers, some of you may have seen that. That was data that ... it was suggested there could be significant impact to some school districts, but the facts was, as was cautioned time and time again when those numbers were distributed, that they were not compatible, it was two different years involved, it was not current enrollment numbers, there are a number of things that would have distorted that but it did indicate there would be an impact. Well I want to go back to what legislation that was enacted and the legislation that was enacted dealt with a comparison by school district. That is not now available. I don't care what the numbers are, they will mean nothing because it is not by school district, it will by countywide figures and whatever inherent problems there are will be carried on into that. Now the amendment that is offered by Senator Wickersham is significantly different. It is more consistent, this is not a new issue by the way, it was involved in 1967 when I had a first state aid bill. Minnesota uses this system of adjusting valuations on the distribution state aid apart from their tax values. In Senator Wickersham's amendment you will talk about state aid value as opposed to assessed value and it's a significant approach, different approach, but it gets at the issue that is involved in 1059 and one that as a policy matter in my opinion, ought to be addressed. It's clear on the face that the information that will be submitted by the Department of Revenue by March 1 is not
in compliance with what the statute says. It's obvious and I have no need to have to look at the numbers to know that that approach doesn't meet the requirement of the law. It's all they have available, I understand that, but it does nothing to meet the requirement of the statute because we all ought to know that intracounty values and intercounty values when it comes a school district that crosses county lines, and there's a bunch of them, that there is not the kind of uniformity that we would like to see. So I would urge that the bill be taken up this morning and that we get it to Senator Wickersham's approach and those who want to see numbers, certainly you will have that opportunity because the bill is not going to be enacted prior to March I and the Department of Revenue has to, by statute, has to submit those numbers to the Department of Education by March 1 in any event. But I think this policy is significant. I think that it ought to be taken tip and, frankly, I prefer to have it taken up when we deal with it as a policy issue and not a number issue. If there is anything that I've noticed over the years I've been here, it used to be when I first had state aid bills, we spent all our time talking about the policy that was involved. Then when we got computers, now we don't talk about the policy, we talk to, I get more or less money in my district. Now that's not unimportant, I agree with that, but the policy that ought to govern this body, is this good educational policy across the state, whether it affects my particular district bad or good ...
PRESIDENT ROBAK: One minute.
SENATOR WARNER: ... or if there is some other distribution it makes a difference. It's the policy that we ought to be concerned with. I voted for 1059, by the way. Personally none Oil !TY legislative district benefitted as it exists today, but I thought it was good policy, oh, they benefitted but they didn't benefit as well as other places. But I knew it was good statewide policy, or felt it was, and I supported it. But there are those who would like to have seen in my district as it exists today, some kind of a different distribution formula that might have been different but I would urge the body to reject the notion that this thing should be held up so that we can play with numbers instead of work with policy.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator Warner. The Chair recognizes Senator Monen.
SENATOR MONEN: Thank you, Madam President. This is my priority bill. I'm carrying water for my district, I think. Also, it's a happy coincidence that while I'm carrying water for my district, I'm also getting up here and in good faith speaking to what I think is good educational policy. What is at question here is the integrity of 1059. Is it going to work the way was intended to work or are we going to let the failure of the Department of Revenue or whose whoever failure it is to properly assess this property, comparing by school districts rather than by some delinquent assessments or old assessments or stale assessments compared with current assessments and by that accident result in a failure of the integrity of 1059? 1 think that ... we say there's some figures coming but we all know, at least my understanding is that the figures are not current, they were not compiled properly and that it's going to work to the prejudice of some of the districts here and we can say, well, it ... I think if we were just playing blind man's bluff and putting a blindfold or.. and putting or pinning the tail on the donkey then that would be one thing, but I think somebody has been peeking here and that's not fair. And until this can be done correctly I don't think it should be done at all so I'm speaking not only to the merits of the bill but also in opposition of this bracket motion. Thank you.
SENATOR HALL PRESIDING
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Monen. Senator Wickersham, your light is next.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Thank you, Mr. President. I also rise to oppose the bracket motion and' to echo some of the comments that have already been made by Senator Withem and Senator Warner. I'm opposing the bracket motion, not because I think the numbers are going to be anything significant in terms of what we need to do here as a policy matter. In fact, I think that the numbers might be good for my district as opposed to Senator Withem whom I believe indicated he thinks the numbers might not be so good for his. I don't think it matters which side of that we're on, whether those numbers are good or bad. There are problems with the process that is currently in statute. Senator Warner has alluded a couple of times to the amendment that he and I have jointly prepared and filed. I think once we get to that amendment we will begin to have a much clearer discussion of the problems that there are with the law as it now stands and a full discussion of why it cannot be implemented, in my opinion,
regardless of what the. numbers are. So whether that debate happens today or whether that debate happens next Tuesday, probably not a big material factor as far as I'm concerned but I see no reason to wait. The amendment is on your desk. We're already starting to address the issue. We may as well do it. The issue needs to be addressed. It doesn't make any difference. I don't care what the numbers are, I don't need to wait till next Tuesday. Let's get on with the business.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Wickersham. Senator Jones, to speak to the bracket motion.
SENATOR JONES: Mr. President and members of the body, I stand in support of the bracket motion because I think that maybe some figures will be out here Tuesday that we can look at and give us a better idea, but I think they've had a long time to get this done and I think we should see some of them figures before the time comes so I support the bracket motion. Thank you.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Jones. Senator Moore, followed by Senator Warner.
SENATOR MOORE: Mr. President and members, Senator Warner gave an interesting talk about how obvious it was that the present data was going to be wrong and I agree with him on that. I mean you read the statute, go back and read the fiscal note, it was pretty clear to me that this Legislature always wanted data by school district. I agree with him. Now, I guess Senator, Monen left, but I guess the question I have for Senator Monen is who told him that the figures are no good? Who told him that? Because the Department of Revenue is not supportive of this bill, the administration is not supportive of this bill, they have said they can make do with what they have. Now it's not the numbers that I am concerned about. I don't care, I have no idea whether or not, what this is going to do to my district. I know that 1059 did not do anything good for my district, I know that, but, Senator Monen, who said the numbers were no good?
SENATOR MONEN: The lobbyist representing the Omaha School District and the Millard School District.
SENATOR MOORE: And those are the ones that probably peeked, as you mentioned, and realized they lost money.
SENATOR MONEN: I imagine they peeked like everyone else. The
point 1.9 that it is a happy coincidence that we can argue what's good for the district and also what is good for education at the time.
SENATOR MOORE: And I totally agree with Senator Monen because as I had mentioned, when you're distributing $270 million in state aid based on property values, it's important %to have equalization among school districts. It" s that simple. Now you can postpone it one year, two years, three years, whenever you do it it's going to be a tough cliff to jump off because you're going to be penalizing somebody for not doing their job. By doing nothing, by delaying so to speak, you penalize somebody who does do their job. So you make the decision on what you want to do but the policy issue here is not the numbers, the question is will the numbers that come down, are they defendable, will they work? I think Senator Wickersham and Senator Warner have a process that we can put into place, an appeal process for this year that may work. I think we ought to try and make it work because I don't want to continue to postpone it and I think it's important that, like I said, I'm not going to sit here and criticize anyone in the administration yet because I've always been raised that nothing is a mistake until it cannot be fixed. And with what I have been told thus far, it can be fixed and so I don't need to worry about it. Now between now and next Tuesday when we finally face the realization that a mistake was made and it cannot be fixed, but I don't know that yet. It has no difference on who wins or who loses'. The administration and the Department of Revenue have stated we do not need a delay, the present numbers will work. Given that ammunition, I think it's important that we don't delay, at least don't delay it now, bracket the bill and continue to move forward with the implementation of the law and I think we may use this bill as a vehicle to put in the appeal process that Senator Warner and Withem have talked about. I agree with that, but I don't think you need to delay it to do that. I think you can put it in right now - and I think -;Lt may be workable. So once again, I would ask the body to wait, and it's not ... I am the firm believer arid one of the biggest criticizers of the down and right mentality of distributing school aid. Go down the column to the right, if you win you're for it, if you lose you're against it. I mean I've always criticized ... I mean I don't want to see the numbers who wins arid loses, I just want to see if the numbers are defendable and if we can move forward. When there was never a request for half a million dollars to do any better, the administration has not requested a delay. As a
matter of fact, the administration is on record saying that they don't need a half a million dollars to implement the law. I think if it works, let's make it work, it's time to make, to jump lump and correct inequities across county lines and school district lilies. The bill is in place to do that. It's premature to even talk about delaying it until we know if our present system is workable as now created within existing resources and- existing law as implemented by law by the Department of Revenue.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Moore. Senator Warner, your light is next.
SENATOR WARNER: Mr. President, members of the Legislature, again, I'd urge the body to reject the motion to bracket t he bill. Obviously we're only talking about apparently, talking about a few days which in itself is probably insignificant but I want to again point out the fact that the issue isn't whether the numbers are defensible or not. Simple facts are that whatever the numbers are they will not be and cannot be consistent with what the statute requires and what the statute requires is school district by school district comparison, not countywide numbers. In looking at some of the various counties, looking at sales assessment ratios, and we have some numbers, a county that is significantly west of where we are now, located standing, but I used it at the hearing and that particular you could take sales assessment ratios which did have a number of sales in different towns within the same county, but they were also in different school district and the sales assessment ratio for residential property was significantly different and applying a countywide figure to that situation, and that kind of thing exists in many places across the state, applying a countywide figure does nothing to equalize the* disparity that exists within a county between its school districts and for the same class of property. My viewpoint is it simply is not defensible to use coulitywide figures to apply to a school district basis and no purpose is served in attempting to o do that. Other states do what is suggested and with the Withem amendment will spell it out more specifically. I know Minnesota, Minnesota did this way back in 1967 as a process. My understanding is that Kansas has a somewhat similar process. By the way, they spend something like $2 million above their base for their operation of their Department of Revenue that deals with the equalization of values. Colorado spends some 800,000 for equalization of values which they contract with a private
entity to do their sales assessment, comparisons. The amount of funds here in Nebraska was relatively, comparatively I should say, small but... and that's an argument that we will get to in a few days but it is essential, if you want equity in the distribution of state aid because it is so heavily influenced by the level of assessed valuation, there is every incentive under the existing law to the extent that a county can to keep their values low because they automatically get additional state aid at the expense of everybody else. You only need one county doing it and you have a disparity that is an injustice to everybody else, that we ought to address that policy and change the statute and ... you know, in part-originally when I started to work with this issue last summer, all I was going to do this session was put in an appropriation bill to reinstate the appropriation. Well I did anyway, but as it was, what I originally thought when I first was looking at the issue was that we could put in the appropriation and take care of the issue now and then you :(now it was only a matter of days when I knew that could not be the singular approach because of the March 1 requirement and there was no way that an appropriation could be made this session and implemented and material put together and meet a March 1 deadline for 1994. I regret personally that it didn't...
SENATOR HALL: One minute.
SENATOR WARNER: ...occur to me to put in the appropriation last year because I think it's an exceedingly significant concept in 1059, one that regardless of how any of us are personally affected as far as our school districts and our legislative is concerned, that if that distribution funds is based on a greater equity of valuation or equal valuation by class of property by school district, there is a more defensible distribution of state aid and I would urge the body to reject the Moore motion.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Warner. Senator Wickersham, your light is next.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Thank you, Mr. President, just briefly, you know it occurs to me that by bracketing this bill till next week we really don't accomplish anything. For those of you who want to see the numbers, you'll get to see the numbers. Those numbers will still appear on March 1st because this bill won't be effective. Even if we debate it today, even if we advance it to Select File, this bill will not be effective before
March 1st. The Department of Revenue I chink has all the indications that they will comply to the best of their ability and on March 1st we will see values. We'll see values on March 1st. And for those people who want to see them, fine. For those of us who don't care, fine. But this bill needs to be done whether or not you like those numbers or not. I see no reason to wait until next Tuesday.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Wickersham. Seeing no other lights on to discuss the bracket motion, Senator Moore, would you care to close on the motion to bracket LB 1290?
SENATOR MOORE: Yes, briefly, Fir. President. The motion is simple bracket motion till next Tuesday. The reason is', is that we have a law in place and I think it needs to run its course before we talk about delaying it. And Senator Monen is right, there are many people that want to delay it for a variety of reasons, I mean, whatever reasons they may be. I think Senator Wickersham's and Senator Monen's and Senator Warner's are probably three different reasons and I understand that. But you know I keep coming back to and Senator Warner keeps reiterating that obviously the numbers are flawed. Well if it's so obvious, I don't know how we got there. And given the fact that the Revenue Department has made it clear that the existing numbers work, I think we ought to try to make them work and it's not the numbers, the result of the numbers that I'm concerned about, it's just some degree of certainty what can be accomplished, what has to be accomplished, do we have the data to keep moving forward, do we need the delay? A week from now I need to be well convinced that the only thing we can do is delay this bill. I don't know that yet. 1 don't know that yet. I think it's unfair to make the body vote even on General File before the law has run its course. So for that reason I -urge the body to bracket the bill until next week. The Department of Revenue will have done to their best of ability to comply with the law. At that point in time we're going to ... then we'll have a further discussion as to why and why not the law wasn't adhered to because it's obvious as Senator Warner has very clearly made that it is, but at this point in time it's premature to talk about it. Let's bracket the bill till next week and then have a discussion about what we have, what we can do and most importantly, Senator Warner is right what we must do to make the whole thing work and Senator Monen is right, to make, to build the whole state aid distribution formula on a basis that has some integrity to it that works. Today, it's premature to
talk about it. I urge you to bracket the bill.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Moore. The question before the body is the bracketing of LB 1290 until March 1. All those in favor vote aye, opposed nay. Have you all voted?
SENATOR MOORE: A call of the house on the bracket motion and accept call-in votes.
SENATOR HALL: The question is, shall the house go under call? All those in favor of going under call vote aye, opposed nay. Record, Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: 31 ayes, 0 nays to go under call.
SENATOR HALL: The house is under call. All members, please return to the Chamber, record their presence. All unauthorized personnel please leave the floor. The house is under call. Senators Ashford, Beutler, McKenzie, Senator Chambers, Senator Pirsch, Senator Robak, if you would record your presence. Senator Cudaback, Senator Wesely and Senator Will, if you would record your presence, please. The house is under call. There .has already been a request, Senator Wickersham, in reverse order? Fine. The request is for a roll call vote in reverse order when we get to that. We're looking for Senator Ashford and Senator Will. All members are present, Mr. Clerk, if we could call the roll order in reverse order on the motion to bracket LB 1,1690 to March 1.
CLERK: (Read roll call vote. See page 823 of the Legislative Journal.) 20 ayes, 24 nays.
SENATOR HALL: The bill is not bracketed. The next item on the bill, Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: Mr. President, Senator Wickersham would move to amend the bill. (Wickersham amendment appears on pages 823-24 of the Legislative Journal.)
SENATOR HALL: The call is raised. Senator Wickersham, to open on the amendment to LB 1290.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Thank you, Mr. "resident. This is AM3360. It should be on your desk. It was not printed in the Journal. It was just filed this morning by Senator Warner and myself.
You've had a little bit of a prediscussion of the he amendment from Senator Warner, but it does deal with a variety of issues with regard to the implementation of the values under 79-3809. it deals with these four areas. (1) what are the best assessment practices that are to be used by the Department of Revenue in determining those values? (2) what are the valuation standards for the property that is valued pursuant to those practice s? Third, it implements an appeal process if a school district is dissatisfied with the values that are promulgated by t he Department of Revenue and, fourthly, it limits the remedies that are available to the protesting school districts in the event they do not accept the values. Those are the four areas that are addressed and there is one other kind of technical area that I think some people don't agree with me, but the amendment takes care of it and that is the separation of the values promulgated for state aid for 1059 from assessed values or taxable values that we use for other purposes in the regular assessment practices. It was my view that those need to be separated and you'll see that happening on line 14, page I of the amendment where we simply strike "taxable" and we put in state aid value. So it's clear that the value that we're going to use for 10 59 purposes does not have and probably will not have any true relationship to the values used for regular assessment practices except in those areas where I would expect them to come out to be the same and those are for personal property and motor vehicles. Now, the issue of the Department of Revenue using the best assessment practices possible is the current language in the statute and I think that's simply a litigation point because if you didn't like those values, you go to court and say the department didn't use the best assessment practices available and litigate that issue. And maybe you'd also litigate the issue of if they used the best assessment practices available, whether or not they had appropriate values as a result. It is an attempt to move that issue from litigation in the event somebody doesn't like the values. It allows the Department of Revenue to establish those processes, those valuation processes by rule and regulation. I-low by establishing those processes by rule or regulation you are still going to be assured that you have public input. There will be an opportunity to say that the methods that are proposed to he used are not the best assessment practices available and that Something else should be done. And of course, since it is a rule- or regulation, anyone who objected would have an appeal process available to them under the Administrative Procedures Act. For those who say that that is a one-time finding and would be static and would not take in to
account future changes in assessment practices, I also happen to have as my priority bill LB 446 which would make changes in this area and would allow individuals to petition for a change in rules or regulations. So there will be an effort made to address the issue of whether or not this would be a static rule or regulation. As far as the objective to be stated for t he Department of Revenue in promulgating these values, we set out four categories. Real property other than agricultural land shall be valued at 100 percent of market value. Agricultural land would be valued at 80 percent. Personal property would be valued at net book value and motor vehicles would be valued in accordance with 77-1239. Those are the current standards in state law. Those are the current standards, no change from the current standards. Section 3 of the amendment is the appeal process. It simply provides for the Department of Revenue to certify the values, whatever they're going to certify and then any school district can file a protest and have a hearing. Now the hearing has to be held within 30 days of the filing of t he objections and there is a provision for evidence and the final determination of the Tax Commissioner after that hearing c an again be appealed pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act. So not only do you have an opportunity to protest, you have an opportunity, if you don't like the result of your protest, to appeal under the Administrative Procedures Act. And finally, the amendment provides for a limitation of remedies as t he protests and the possible appeals of the disposition of the protest are being processed to make it clear that someone or some school district that objects to the values cannot seek in the courts the injunction of the distribution of all of t he funds while their dispute is being resolved. Can you imagine the circumstances we would be in if a court granted an injunction pending someone's protest? No state school aid would be distributed. I don't think we can take that risk with that fund. And so I think it's desirable to limit the remedies. They can have all the other remedies that are available by law but a court would not be allowed to enjoin distribution of t he funds pending a dispute over the values certified by the Tax Commissioner. That, very simply, is the amendment. I would simply urge its adoption. I believe that Senator Withem will have an amendment to the amendment, but ... and we'll have a chance to discuss that also. I believe that the amendment addresses quite important policy areas and as Senator Warner noted ea earlier I think if we are to implement these policy changes which I think are desirable and absolutely necessary, that they do constitute an additional reason for postponing the
use of the numbers that are going to be certified by the Department of Revenue on March 1st.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Wickersham. Senator Warner, your light is next followed by Senators Monen and Hartnett.
SENATOR WARNER: Mr. President, members of the Legislature, I don't want to underestimate to you what I at least see as the significance of this amendment and I strongly support t he concept of a public hearing, but the concept of moving to taxable value instead of assessed value is one of no small significance. It is a concept, however, as I indicated earlier that I know was included. I don't know currently, but I know at one time that was the practice in Minnesota and it gets to t he simple fact that it is exceedingly difficult it seems to get the kind of equalization of value-.- through the tax process, tax valuing process and through the Board of Equalization. In my opinion, one of the reasons it has been historically so difficult is that every Lime that the state attempts to make adjustments in valuations at the county level, as I understand the court cases, generally the state or the Board of Equalization has been in the position to prove the county wrong as opposed to ... that becomes very difficult to do because we know that valuations are at best somewhat subjective rather than objective even though a lot of things have been done to attempt to make it as objective as possible, but nevertheless, values do become somewhat subjective. But aside from that, aside from the fact that the state has to prove a county wrong, mo re significantly they can do very little at the state level for intracounty valuations and that becomes even -more significant. And that essentially has to be done at the county level, the state can do something in the way of a countywide class, but you have to understand that in most instances the disparity is going to exist and does exist now, exists within a county between school districts and that at the state level could not be adjusted as far as taxable value is concerned. But using t he state aid value, the drawback is that, in fact, the amount of assessed valuation per pupil on the assumption of ability to pay or wealth of a district, is essentially that of the taxable value but the facts are that I think greater equity and, in fact, this will probably become the greatest incentive' that exists than for counties to do an accurate and equal job of determining values between classes of property and between counties because once this is put into effect, no longer is there any incentive to maintain lower values on the assumption
that you qualify for more state aid and I don't know of any county that does that, but certainly that incentive is in place as the law now exists and I would strongly support the amendment offered as a matter of policy by Senator Wickersham, but I do not want to underestimate that policy issue that is there of using taxable value, or not using taxable value and using a state aid value but it is consistent with what is done in a number of other states where they have attempted to address this problem of equalization of values between and in counties in the distribution of any kind of state aid. I might throw in addition ...
SENATOR HALL: One minute.
SENATOR WARNER: ...to distribution of state aid to schools, there's a number of other areas of distribution of state aid that I think could be done more equitably if greater utilization is done by the state and those distribution formulas tie to the similar approach as proposed here by Senator Wickersham for schools. I think conceptually that same concept could be used in other distributions that are based upon valuation that would encourage a greater equity between taxpayers, between counties and within counties and provide great incentive to try and get values up in what the law and constitution requires.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Warner. Mr. Clerk, amendment on the desk.
CLERK: Mr. President, Senator Withem would move to amend Senator Wickersham's amendment. (Withem amendment appears on page 824 of the Legislative Journal.)
SENATOR HALL: Senator Withem, to open on the amendment to the amendment.
SENATOR WITHEM: Yes, Mr. President, members of the body, I am offering an amendment. Before 1 explain my amendment though, I would like to get a better understanding because I did not read this closely enough to understand what the significance is between striking the word "taxable", putting in state aid value and then defining what state aid value means down here and because my amendment will maintain that portion of the Wickersham amendment, but put it into a shape which I could then probably support the entire bill, it's key to my understanding of my own amendment I guess to have Senator Wickersham briefly,
explain opera if he would, explain operationally what difference is it going to make by striking the word "taxable", putting in the word state aid, what values will be different then under this amendment than they would otherwise have been? And I'd grant a little of my opening on my own amendment to have you explain that point to me if you could, please.
SENATOR HALL: Senator Wickersham.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Wet'., Senator Withem, just briefly, it's an issue that I think we discussed rather cursorily oil the way back from lunch one day at the Cornhusker. My belief is that the current language in the statute, this is my interpretation. My interpretation of the current language in the statute is literally that there would no adjustment by the Department of Revenue because the values that are on the books now were adopted after...
SENATOR HALL: Senator Wickersham, (gavel), excuse me. Could we hold the conversations down, please. Go ahead. I'm...
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: I can talk louder.
SENATOR WITHEM: And I can listen louder too, so go ahead.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Okay. Anyway, it is my interpretation of the language that literally no adjustment, no adjustment...
SENATOR WITHEM: Okay.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: ...is possible under the current language.
SENATOR WITHEM: Okay: So in essence, what you're attempting to do is make the language read so that you're satisfied that it says they need to do what Senator Moore and I have been expecting them to do.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: That's correct.
SENATOR WITHEM: Okay, fine: thank you very much then. Let me then explain the amendment that I am offering to the Wickersham amendment. I am supportive of his clarification of that language. I don't necessarily know that it's needed, but it does ... it is not needed to do what I think needs to be done, but it makes it clearer and so for that purpose I will support that.
I support the process that he is creating for the departments to present the adjusted valuations and give rebuttable time, the statement on no injunction shall be filed. I think that is appropriate. I think the creation of rule and regulation is a good idea. I do not, however, think that we need to delay t he implementation. So what my amendment does very simply, it retains the clarification portion of the Wickersham amendment, but it takes away the delay of the implementation of the adjustment factor. I would like to counter just. a little b it this assumption that there is no way that we can do the adjustment factor this year, since that it has to be perfect or we can't start it. Let me relay to you a conversation that my staff had with the people in Kansas who have been involved in their state aid distribution ever since Kansas went to an equalization based formula some 20 years ago not probably. And we copied this adjustment factor from the State of Kansas, very literally. There are some people within our administration that thought that this was a Don Leuenberger inspired to put a land mine in the bill. We copied this. We were very clear in what we were doing and we were going to echo what they did in Kansas. So we thought when this flap came up that we ought to go to t he State of Kansas and find out what it was that they did. T he State of Kansas said when their Legislature passed their bill, they didn't have very good data either. They had data that was basically countywide data, but they started and they did an adjustment factor and each year they've got successively better and better and better at". their process. That's what I think we ought to do in Nebraska. We ought to start. We ought to start with what we have available to us. Data is available. There is somehow this assumption coming out of the Department of Revenue that a process that they were moving toward implementation of during the summer, suddenly they discovered that they couldn't do anything. They have data available. They did present that to the School Finance Review Commission. Denny Donner who w as the director of the property tax division told the School Finance Review Commission that if we don't give them another dime, the data that is going to be available next year will be better, that the 521 forms that are now coming in and have be en coming in since 1992 to -.he Department of Revenue do include specific school district information on them. So it will be better even if we don't do anything else. Will it be good enough? It's not good enough to (jet a perfect picture of reality. There is this limitation on that because there are many counties in the state where there are not sufficient enough sales to do a school...am accurate school district by school
district adjustment. But there are other things that could be done over there at-the department. They could do... they have the authority now to do benchmark evaluations and to make extrapolations from those and apply those to school districts. There are a lot of things that they can be doing. There is no reason why the bill cant-tot be implemented this year. Folks don't want to implement it, maybe partially because of the fear of litigation, but more than anything else because this is a painful process. It's a painful process to go. about adjusting valuations. And as we said on the last bill, the history of that process has been one of delay, delay, delay, threat, threat, threat, what we're going to do, but when it comes down to making the tough decisions we delay. And all of 1290 does is add one further delay and send the message through a department of state government that if you ignore the statute long enough, that we in the Legislature will blink and allow the process to go away. I don't know what the excuse would be next year. We had Berri Balka sit in front of the Appropriations Committee this year and say that if they don't get additional money it's basically going to be stonewalled one more time. Somewhere along the line we're going to have to draw a line in the sand and say we want assessment practices equalized and we want areas that don't do that not to reap the benefits. What will happen if we delay this will be for one more year, those counties where the assessment practices have not been kept current will (let a reward. And those counties where the assessment practices have been kept current will be punished. Taxpayers that live in those counties that already had their values adjusted upward will be punished because they will receive less state aid. That's what this issue is all about. It's really not about my school district, Senator Monon's school district, Senator Jones' school district, it's not about that. What it'-, about is the Legislature finally saying we've (jot to get something done in this area. And for that reason I'm offering this amendment which will put the positive aspects of the Wickersham amendment into the bill, but will leave the implementation date as it is. I would urge you to support this amendment.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Withem. On the Withem amendment to the Wickersham amendment, Senator Monen, your light was on previously. Do you care to speak to this amendment? Senator Monen, followed by Senators Hartnett, Wickersham and Moore.
SENATOR MONEN: Well I'm opposed to this amendment because it
simply turns the bill on its head and everybody ... I think this is the first time I've heard the argument, well these figures aren't so bad, maybe they can do it and they'll put some figures together and it will be all right or close, but that's not my understanding of it. My understanding is that there are some figures that were prepared last ... and presented, revealed, published to someone in October or November and that they were admittedly on scale., incomplete data and not consistent with the integrity and purpose of 1059 and let's not talk about whose fault it is, let's see that it is done right, but until that time let's postpone it one more year.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Monen. Senator Hartnett. On the Wickersham amendment, fine. Senator Wickersham, on the Withem amendment.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Thank you, Mr. President. I rise to oppose the amendment but I do have it question if Senator Withem would respond.
SENATOR HALL: Senator Withem.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Senator Withem, I have gone to the Clerk's desk and I have the text of the amendment. It appears that you wish to delay the effective dates for what would be Section 1, Section 2 and Section 4. You have not sought to delay the effective date of Section 3 which would provide for a protest process. Is that a correct ... ?
SENATOR WITHEM: That may be an accurate description of the drafting of the amendment. My intention would be to ...
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Delay all processes?
SENATOR WITHEM: ...put your new procedures into place for 1995, but use what is available for 1994.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: But delay all processes?
SENATOR WITHEM: Yeah, because they obviously can't comply with this by March 1 of this year.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Although. . yeah, although if we hurried along we could get the bill passed by March 7, right. All right, thank you. I do rise to oppose the amendment primarily
because I believe that if we attempt to use the values that will be promulgated on March 1st, that the resulting litigation could very well result in a suspension of any distributions for this coming year. Now that is speculation and I do not raise that to create fears or anxieties. I raise that issue only because I think that is a possibility and it is an element that you need to consider. One of the provisions, of course, is the prohibition of an injunction against distributions. That provision alone I think cannot be delayed even if we did nothing else. But I also think that the other provisions cannot legitimately be delayed because they point to very serious flaws in my opinion in the current process. How can we legitimately tell the public that we will ignore a flawed process and make it better next year just so we can have the excitement of trying to implement maybe values and a bad process? I don't need that kind of excitement. I'm willing to wait for next year.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Wickersham. Senator Moore, your light is next.
SENATOR MOORE: Mr. President and members, I don't know who told Senator Wickersham there was going to be excitement. If you look at the bill, the agency that we appropriate $17 million to, we spend $2 million in the property tax division, said they don't need to delay it. They said that. Current law, you do not need to delay it and a matter of fact they said they don't even need a half a million dollars. They said that too. So given all that, the only people that are saying to delay it are those that have peeked and said we're going to lose money. For that reason we're going to delay it and -'that is the wrong thing to do. That's the wrong thing to do unless the Department of Revenue convinces me those numbers won't work, we ought to move forward and you ought to feel the same way because otherwise all you're doing is doing the down and right mentality. All you're going to do is perpetuate the myth that we're going to do something about equalization when we know we're never going to do it because we're never going to have enough courage to jump off the cliff. As I said, a week from now I may be convinced maybe to delay it. We don't know that now. This vote is a core vote to say forget about the numbers, forget about the experts, forget- about everything, let's delay this bill because it may... we don't want to do it this year, we don't want to do it this year. I think we can do it thi year. The experts have said you can do it this year. I see no reason not to do it this year unless you never want -to do it. If you never want to do
it, somebody ought to file an amendment to strike the whole section out of the law. You ought to strike the whole section out of the law. Otherwise, let's do it because until someone charged with implementing the law tells me it can't be don-.-,, we ought to be doing it. And, Senator Withem, I think Senator Wickersham is right, we need a process in place. The people that had problems with the law never brought it to us, but if we need a process, appeal process in place, let's put it in place. Senator Withem's amendment accomplishes that. Let's adopt the Withem amendment, let's say no, we're not going to delay it until someone convinces us we absolutely have to and no one other than those that stand to lose have done any convincing thus far.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Moore. Senator Bromm, followed by Senator Warner.
SENATOR BROMM: Mr. Chairman and colleagues, Senator Moore and Senator Withem I think are right. -As I've tried to listen and sort this out, I have to ask myself why, why do we delay this further? Why do we delay it? And I can only understand three reasons, two of which have been spoken of and the third of which has been not spoken of, that I've heard of on the floor today. First of all, the figures that you may come up with an March 1 may not. be perfect. I don't know what they are, I don't know what they're going to say. They may not be as good as the law intended for them to be, as accurate as the law intended to be, they may not have been derived through the process that you would like to see implemented, the appraisals and so forth that you'd like to have in a perfect system. You might want to delay it because you're afraid that it might not be good for your district to have it implemented. It might be good [or some and not good for others. Thirdly, there is obviously (jot to be some political concerns about implementing it. there have to be some political concerns and I haven't heard that really said in so many words, but there are. There are going to be political ramifications of implementing the law that was passed four or five years ago that's never been implemented. How valid are those arguments, how valid are those reasons to delay it? I don't think when you sort it out that they're valid at all. The system that we have out there now is very, very unfair and if you say well we're going, we're not going to do anything because what we're going (10 isn't. perfect, that doesn't make any sense at all. Hopefully it will be better than what we have now which is not fair and it's been going on for three or
four years. Those counties and areas who have not been doing their job of updating their land values are getting a windfall to the detriment of those who are sticking their political necks out. The assessors cut there that are doing their jobs are, in effect, penalizing their areas because they've updated their values. That is so blatantly unfair that I think if you took it to court, it would be a slam dunk. If you're worried about going to court, I think there is litigation there that would be a slam dunk. Secondly, if you're concerned about this being implemented, being good for your district or bad for your district, at some point, especially, especially when it comes to education and fairness of financing, you've got to rise above that. You've got to say we've got to do what is good for the state. Education is a statewide obligation. We can't be doing on a parochial or on a local basis. We've got to do the financing in as fair a manner as possible. Thirdly, the political ramifications, whatever they might be, cannot be as important as trying to do as equitable a job of providing financing as we can. There's going to be political ramifications any time you mess' with school financing, the property tax and property valuation. There are going to be political ramifications. You know it, I know it, you just have to set that aside and say so be it and we've got to do what we think is right. I support the Withem amendment. I strongly think that we need to go ahead with the process, do the Lest that we can and I urge the body to adopt the amendment and proceed to advance 1290.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Bromm. Senator Warner, on the amendment to the amendment.
SENATOR WARNER: Mr. President, members of the Legislature, I rise to oppose the amendment. Obviously, to strike it, I guess the motive, the purpose is to put it into effect for this year, but I want to specifically address the issue that Senator Bromm just brought up. Why did you do it? What is wrong with the system now, is the fact it rewards those school districts that lie in counties that have not done their job and it penalizes those who have. But that is thoroughly secondary. But the facts are, that's how it works. With this kind of an approach, then that issue is gone because the distribution of state aid will be based upon the calculations of sales assessment ratios and the other factor, coefficient of dispersion, those kinds of things which can only address intracounty equalization of values which is of no small concern to me as well as the intercounty
which is also significant. I don't know, I'm like everybody else, I don't know what is good or bad for my district. What I know is good in terms of numbers, well what I know is good is a policy that I can defend irregardless of how the numbers come out because it's a uniform statewide policy. And in my belie f, using the Wickersham amendment, and I'm going to emphasize again, it is no small significant policy decision to move t o, instead of taxable value, state aid value. That will be a significant change, but it's one which I think is good public policy because in the long run, and that long run is going to be short, the incentive, if any, for a county not to do a good job of equalization of value, to not do a good job of putting assessed values will be gone. And the incentive will be and one that we've needed for many years, the incentive will be to get those values in compliance with the current state laws and our constitution based on uniformity that has been in effect for many, many years. From my viewpoint, the case, the issue is doing what is right. To do what the current law is going to be wrong on the face because making those kinds of comparisons on a countywide basis absolutely will not reflect any kind of equity within a county that has more than one school district. I can only think of one county in the state that probably wouldn't be affected internally within, the county and that's what, Banner County I think is a single school district. Every other school district, or excuse me, every other county has school districts that lie in one or more counties as I recall. But I would hope that you would reject the change in the date. One of the things that consistently is brought up by school people to me is the lack of stability to what they can expect in the way of state aid. Certainly to put in one system now that does not comply with the intent of the legislation or with the law on March 1 will make some shifts. I don't what they'll be, it will make some shifts. There isn't any question in my mind the Wickersham amendment will make more shifts next year and I will assure you that you're going to get lots of complaints from the school districts in your county when those shifts occur one year after the other. I would hope that you reject the amendment, stay with the concept of doing it right the first time rather than the experiment of doing it which is not in compliance with the law and from my viewpoint simply is not right.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Warner. Seeing no other lights on the Withem amendment, Senator Withem, to close on your amendment to the Wickersham amendment.
SENATOR WITHEM: Mr. President and members of the body, you know it's kind of interesting to go through a little self-analysis every now and then and I've been doing that on this issue. it's an issue that you know maybe luckily for me I was out of town when the issue hit big and Senator Moore was able to bear the brunt of most of the press releases on this particular issue but it's an issue that has gotten under my skin more than any other this session. And in trying to analyze why, I think there may be a good reason for it and it really goes to the heart, it goes to the heart of what this body is all about. We are, according to the constitution, a co-equal branch of state government with the administration. We are the agency that debates and enacts public policy. We are elected by our constituents to do that and it is our job to create the statutes of the state. It is the responsibility of the Department of Revenue to carry out those statutes, to carry out the policy that has been enacted by this body. And I guess what troubles me more than anything else about this issue is a department of state government either through incompetence or deliberately ignoring a statute has not moved to implement this statute. This was enacted in 1990 as a part of LB 1059 with a one- year delay. In 1991 we came forward and delayed it for two mo re years. the rationale was to give the department more time. They said they needed more time. Senator Hall, the Chair of the Revenue Committee at that time, gave a blistering speech, as Senator Hall is very good at doing, indicating that he would support that delay but no more. The message needed to get to the department, there would be no further delays, but the department still has delayed it and again, I don't want to go through whose fault it is, but the point is this body enacted law and we want it carried out. And the department has fall en down on it. And just like assessment practices cause high assessing districts to be punished and low assessing district s, those that ignore the law, to be rewarded, I'm fearful that the passage of LB 1290 will once again send the message to a department of State government that they don't have to follow the law, that they can ignore the law either through whatever the rationale is and it will be okay. There needs to be a time when this body stands up for itself and says we are t he Legislature, we have passed a law, we expect that law to be enacted and we are riot going to reward a state agency that fails to enact that. The Withem amendment to the Wickersham amendment will keep in place what I see as very good modifications of t he process, but it will hold its fast on the 1994 implementation date. I would urge you to adopt this amendment.
SENATOR HALL: Thank you, Senator Withem. You've heard the close on the Withem amendment to the Wickersham amendment. The question is the adoption of the Senator Withem's amendment. All in favor vote aye, opposed nay. Senator Withem.
SENATOR WITHEM: I'd request a call of the house and a roll call vote in regular order.
SENATOR HALL: Senator Withem has requested a call of the house. The question is, shall the house go under call? All those in favor of going under call vote aye, opposed nay. Record, Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: 27 ayes, 0 nays to go under call, Mr. President.
SENATOR HALL: The house is under call. All members please return to their seats, record their presence. The house is under call. All unauthorized personnel please leave the floor. If you're outside the' Chamber, please report back to the Chamber, the house is under call. A roll call has been requested in regular order. Senators Ashford and Beutler, if you would check in. Thank you. Senator Abboud, Senator Bromm, if you would return to your seats, record your presence. Thank you very much. Senator Kristensen, if you -would record. Thank you. Senator Day is the only member that we're looking for right now. Senator Chambers, if you would return to your seat, please. Thank you, very much. Senator Day -is here. Mr. Clerk, please call the roll in regular order on the adoption of the Withem amendment.
CLERK: (Read roll call vote. See page 825 of the Legislative Chamber.) 23 ayes, 16 nays.
SENATOR HALL: The amendment is not adopted. Any items for the record, Mr. Clerk?
CLERK: Yes, Mr. President, 1 do.
SENATOR HALL: The call is raised.
CLERK: Mr. President, new resolution, LR 319, offered by Senator Coordsen and a number of members. (Read brief description of LR 319.) That will be laid over. (See pages 825-26 of the Legislative Journal.)