Debate Transcripts

LB 542 (1995)

General File

March 30, 1995


SENATOR HALL:  LB 434 is advanced to E & R Initial.  LB 542, Mr. Clerk.


CLERK:  LB 542, Mr. President, introduced by Senator Beutler and others.  (Read title.) The bill was introduced on January 18, referred to the Education Committee, advanced to General File.  There are committee amendments pending.


SENATOR HALL:  Senator Bohlke, to open on the committee amendments.




SENATOR BOHLKE:  Yes, Mr. President, members, a brief little history on 542 to explain the committee amendments.  But, generally, 542 implements an agreement between the school districts to correct a difference in interpretation between the state and federal Departments of Education that occurred in the first year the funds were distributed first year of 1059.  The purpose of the bill is to enable the State of Nebraska to leave all those distributions in place.  The bill would provide for a onetime payment of approximately a million dollars to certain school districts who had impact aid held accountable in 1990-91.  And if this legislation is not adopted, three million in impact aid may need to be sent back to the federal government.  The committee amendments clarifies the requirements for potential federal legislation that will interact with this bill and then the committee amendments also clarify that this act does not alter the Department of Education's obligations to make adjustments so that all school districts receive the amounts to which they are entitled.


SENATOR HALL:  Thank you, Senator Bohlke.  Senator Withem, on the committee amendments.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  Senator Bohlke, a question, and I think I know the answer to it.  It probably won't make a difference on how I vote on it anyway, but just for a clarification, you said a million dollar appropriation.  Is that a million dollars of new General Fund money?  Or is that a essence, it will be a redistribution of existing appropriations to state aid?


SENATOR HALL:  Senator Bohlke.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  It would either be separate or '95-96.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  That still doesn't answer the question.  if...


SENATOR BOHLKE:  It's out of...  I think what you're...  it's out of equalization.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  Okay, yeah, it will redistribute the money and -here will not be an A bill it ques...  I guess, At.  accompanying this that appropriates a million dollars extra.  It does not add an additional million dollars to state aid, it redistributes the money that's currently there.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  That's correct.




SPEAKER WITHEM:  Okay, thank you.


SENATOR HALL:  Thank you, Senator Bohlke.  Thank you, Senator Withem.  Senator Robinson, your light is next on the committee amendments.


SENATOR ROBINSON:  Mr. President and members of the body, Senator Bohlke, I have a question.


SENATOR HALL:  Senator Bohlke.


SENATOR ROBINSON:  Brief question here.  It's my understanding that.  if this bill does not pass, it could cost us a lot more money.  Am I correct on that?


SENATOR BOHLKE:  You're correct.


SENATOR ROBINSON:  If it goes to court and I have several districts losing from a thousand to twenty some thousand, but if this bill does not pass, all of the districts could lose much more money than what they're losing now.  That's all I want to...


SENATOR BOHLKE:  A potential of 4 million.


SENATOR ROBINSON:  Okay, thank you very much.


SENATOR HALL:  Thank you, Senator Bohlke.  Thank you, Senator Robinson.  Is there any other discussion on the adoption of the committee amendments?  Seeing none, Senator Bohlke to close.  Closing is waived on the committee amendments.  The question is, shall the committee amendments be adopted to LB 542?  All those in favor vote aye, opposed nay.  Have you all voted?  Record, Mr. Clerk.


CLERK:  25 ayes, 0 nays, Mr. President, on the adoption of the committee amendments.


SENATOR HALL:  The committee amendments are adopted.  Senator Bohlke, or excuse me, Senator Beutler, to open on 542.


CLERK:  Mr. President, excuse me, Senator, if I may just for a moment.  Banking Committee would like to hold an Exec Session underneath the north balcony now.  Banking Committee, north




balcony for Exec Session.


SENATOR HALL:  Senator Beutler, to open on the bill.


SENATOR BEUTLER:  Senator Hall, members of the Legislature, I think Senator Bohlke explained that basically this is part of a settlement agreement.  It involves this bill.  It involves legislation by the federal government.  It seeks to correct an error that was made, not a careless error but an error that Nebraska and Kansas and a whole number of states made with respect to the treatment of impact aid and redis ...  in 1059's and similar type formulas.  It is basically a solution that I think has been agreed upon by every school district in 'he state.  I don't know of any opposition to it.  It is ...  it would be very well if we could pull this off because if we can, basically, about $3 million of federal money is going to be there to hold us harmless for most of the mistake that was made.  So, in other words, if we can pass this bill, we can redistribute about $900,000 in state aid and make everything right with all the school districts.  If we cannot pass this bill, we're going to have to come up with nearly $4 million of money somewhere to make school districts right.  So that's basically what the bill is all about.  And there are lots of other things I would like to tell you about it if we had a little more time, but it's essential that we get this passed so that the federal government can act so this matter can be cleaned up this year.


SENATOR HALL:  Thank you, Senator Beutler.  You've heard the opening on the motion to advance.  Senator Hartnett, your light is next, followed by Senator Warner.


SENATOR HARTNETT:  Senator Hall, members of the body, simply rise to support the bill.  I think Bellevue District is one of the districts, as Senator Bohlke on the amendment or in the committee amendment mentioned, so I simply rise to support it.


SENATOR HALL:  Thank you, Senator Hartnett.  Senator Warner.  Waives off.  Is there anyone else who cares to discuss the advancement to E & R Initial?  Seeing none, Senator Beutler waives closing.  The question is, shall LB 542 be advanced to E & R initial?  All those in favor vote aye, opposed nay.  Have you all voted?  Record, Mr. Clerk.


CLERK:  29 ayes, 0 nays, Mr. President, on the advancement of 542.