LB 397 (1997)
March 4, 1997
SENATOR CROSBY: Thank you. We will proceed to LB 397, motion to return from E & R Final.
CLERK: Senator, the first motion I have is by Senator Kristensen. Senator Kristensen would move to return the bill,
for specific amendment. The amendment is on page 809 of the Journal. (See AMO632.)
SENATOR CROSBY: Senator Kristensen, to open on your motion.
SENATOR KRISTENSEN: Thank you, Madam President, members of the Legislature. This amendment deals with LB 397. LB 397 has been before the body on a couple of different occasions. If you'll remember, this is the piece of legislation that transfers the duties of the State Board of Equalization as it relates, to statewide equalization to the Tax Equalization Review Commission as a result of the constitutional amendment change voted in by the people last year. Through this process, we have gone through a fairly meticulous study of the statutes trying to shift all those duties and obligations and make sure that the procedure is clean,, and that we've got everything we needed to do to transfer those duties. It's been an involved process. Bill drafters, our technicians, have really done a good job with a difficult task. There was one section that we have left to change. When we passed the Tax Equalization Review Commission, we set up an appeal process for them. There was also an appeal process for the State Board of Equalization. In the draft that we have, there are now two appeal sections, and we need to eliminate the one that would ... the appeals from the State Board of Equalization. The current law is Section 77-501.9. That is a more complete appeal statute. That's the one we are going to save. It has a better system set up and is more specific. We are going to, thus, eliminate Section 41 from the bill. That's the appeal statute for the State Board of Equalization and, quite frankly, that was a summary appeals section. It is not a very good one and it won't fit into the way the bill is drafted. We caught this, bill drafters can get the change made rapidly for us. We also have to have the ... we should get this bill passed as Boon as we can because we need to get rules and regulations adopted and drafted in place by April 1. So we're under some time pressure. With that, I would offer the amendment. It strikes Section 41 and then does a few E & R cleanups with commas. Madam President, that would be my opening. I'd yield back the rest of my time and urge the body to return the bill for specific amendment.
SENATOR CROSBY: You've heard the opening. Any discussion on
the return to Select File? Seeing none, Senator Kristensen waives closing. The motion ... the question is, shall LB 397 be returned to Select File for a specific amendment? All in favor vote aye, opposed no. Record. please.
CLERK: 35 ayes, 0 nays on the motion to return the bill.
SENATOR CROSBY: The bill is returned. Senator Kristensen.
SENATOR KRISTENSEN: Thank you, Madam President, members of the Legislature. I'd urge the adoption of the amendment as I explained on my motion to return.
SENATOR CROSBY: Any discussion on the amendment? Seeing none, Senator Kristensen.
SENATOR KRISTENSEN: I'd waive closing, Madam President. Thank you.
SENATOR CROSBY: He waives closing. The question is the adoption of the amendment to LB 397. All in favor vote aye, opposed no. Record, please.
CLERK: 30 ayes, 0 nays on the motion to ... on the adoption of the Select File amendment.
SENATOR CROSBY: The amendment is adopted. Anything further? Senator Kristensen.
SENATOR KRISTENSEN: Thank you, Madam President, members of the Legislature. I would move to advance the bill to E & R for engrossing.
SENATOR CROSBY: You've heard the motion to advance LB 397 to E & R for engrossing. All in favor say aye. Opposed no. It is advanced.
CLERK: Senator Landis would move to return the bill for specific amendment. (See AM0753 on page 871 of the Legislative Journal.)
SENATOR CROSBY: Senator Landis.
SENATOR LANDIS: Thank you, Madam President. You will find this bill in your laptop computer under proposed amendments. It is AM0753. Currently, if you wish to apply for homestead exemption, you do so between January 1 and May 1. This amendment changes those dates. The reason that we're using LB 397 for a change in the Homestead Act is because 397 has an emergency clause and will pass quickly; (LB) 182, the homestead exemption bill won't pass that quickly, and we will be behind the curve in trying to change the rules for this year unless we adopt that ... unless we adopt this change on a bill that will pass quickly and with the E clause. So we currently take applications between January 1 and May 1. The problem is that because we take early applications, when the Legislature passes a change in the Homestead Act, we either have to gel. a whole new set of applications, which is a headache for county officials and appliers, or we have to put off the changes until the following year. This amendment changes from January 1 to May 1, which are the existing dates for application, to a new set of dates, and that would run between April 1 and June 30. By using April 1 and June 30 as the beginning and ending date of application, it would be possible for the Legislature to act in an expeditious manner on a homestead exemption change, county officials be able to make their appropriate responses, forms be able to be created by the Revenue Department, and filers be able to get the benefits of whatever those changes were in the year in which they were passed, rather than having them put off. So while this Is particularly valuable in this year in making sure that LB 182, the homestead exemption bill, gets the benefits to filers this year, it has a recurring virtue, and that is to make the homestead exemption program susceptible to change in a legislative year, and to have those changes be passed on to taxpayers, generally receiving some kind of additional benefits, because that's the general rule in homestead exemptions over time. For that reason, I ask for the return of LB 397 for a specific amendment. This specific amendment, as I've just described, changes for this year and makes the homestead exemption available for this year without the problem of a whole lot of changes in forms and refilings, and then puts us in a position on the future to make homestead exemption changes without the same problem recurring, which we're avoiding this year. I ask for the indulgence of the body to return 397 for a
special amendment on Select File.
SENATOR CROSBY: Thank you, Senator Landis. Discussion on the motion to return, Senator Bromm.
SENATOR BROMM: Senator, I'd like to ask Senator Landis a question or two on the record.
SENATOR CROSBY: Senator Landis, will you yield for a question?
SENATOR BROMM: And let me preface this by saying that one of the criticisms that I've had while I've been in the Legislature, from not only county officials, but taxpayers, is that we always seem to change the rules so that it's more difficult to do the paperwork or they have to do duplicated paperwork and that kind of thing. Now I understand the desire to have this in place for this year and take advantage of it and allow the homestead exemption to more people and that kind of thing. And I support that, but let me ask you, for those people that have already made homestead exemption applications and filled them out for this year and think that they have their paperwork done, how will your amendment affect them? Will they have to, and I ... you probably said that and I didn't hear it, but would you explain that again for us, please.
SENATOR LANDIS: Let me give you what I think is going to happen. Because filers today are filing under a narrower range of income guidelines, the information that they brought is entirely appropriate, and it answers the question as to whether or not they are entitled to homestead exemptions. So there would be no need for them to refile. However, we are expanding the income to people that are not now covered. They will be able to make use of this new time line when the rules have changed to come in and say, oh, gosh, my income was higher than the old rule, for which I wouldn't get anything. But now with this increased guideline, they should be able to come in and make application, use the time line, and file once and only once, but be able to use the homestead exemption.
SENATOR BROMM: Okay. The intent of the amendment and what you believe the practical application will be is that people who have qualified or filed the necessary papers to qualify for the
exemption under the present guidelines and rules should not have to reapply, and the county assessor should be able to use that information to make a determination on their homestead exemption, or the State Department of Revenue, as the case may be?
SENATOR LANDIS: That's my best guess as to what's going to happen when the rubber meets the road.
SENATOR BROMM: Okay.
SENATOR LANDIS: What the filer does in to provide information as to their income and whether or not they are entitled to the homestead exemption. That information is not going to change between January I and these other dates. The question is, are there new people who would be able to make a filing which would not now be able to make a filing? And what the receiver of the information is going to do as to which bracket they belong into, which percentage of relief they are entitled to. But the filer, having provided the data, has done their job, and I don't see a need to have a refiling for anybody who has filed up to this point.
SENATOR BROMM: Thank you, Senator Landis. And I will support the return to Select File for the amendment, with the understanding and intent that we are acknowledging that there are people that made application for homestead exemption who qualify, and that we will not require a duplication of that paperwork, not require the county officials to go out and get another form signed by those same people, and cause all the confusion and extra work and expense that goes along with that. So with that intent in mind, I will certainly support Senator Landis' amendment. Thank you.
SENATOR CROSBY: Thank you, Senator Bromm. There are no further lights, Senator Landis. He waives closing. The question is, shall LB 397 be returned to Select File for a specific amendment? All in favor vote aye, opposed no. Record, please.
CLERK: 33 ayes, 0 nays on the motion to return the bill.
SENATOR CROSBY: The bill is returned. Senator Landis.
SENATOR LANDIS: Thank you, Madam President. The amendment that I offer moves from January I to May 1? the existing deadlines for the beginning and ending of homestead exemption filing to new dates, April 1 and June 30. This should help us with respect to this coming set of homestead exemption changes. But, more importantly, it also puts us in a position as a Legislature to adjust the homestead exemption early in any legislative session and have the appropriate forms for filers to be able to use in that year to get whatever relief the Legislature might advance. Arid for that reason, I ask for the adoption of amendment 753.
SENATOR CROSBY: Thank you, Senator Landis. You've heard.... Any further discussion? Seeing none, Senator Landis waives closing. You've heard.... The question is the adoption of the amendment to LB 397. All in favor vote aye, opposed no. Please record.
CLERK: 32 ayes, 0 nays on adoption of the Select File amendment.
SENATOR CROSBY: The amendment is adopted. Senator Landis, would you like to....
SENATOR LANDIS: I'd move to readvance LB 397.
SENATOR CROSBY: You've heard the motion to readvance to E & R Engrossing LB 397. All in favor say aye. Opposed no. it is advanced. Mr. Speaker, Senator Withem, do you have a message for us?