Debate Transcripts

LB 989 (1998)

Select File

March 23, 1998


SENATOR WEHRBEIN:  Is there any more discussion?  All in favor say aye.  Opposed same sign.  Motion carried.  Items for the record, Mr. Clerk.


CLERK:  Mr. President, thank you.  Natural Resources reports LB 1209 to General File with committee amendments attached.  I have amendments to be printed to LB 1209 by Senator Elmer and by Senator Bruning.  That's all that I have, Mr. President.  (See page 1254 of the Legislative Journal.)


SENATOR WEHRBEIN:  Okay.  Next, Mr. Clerk.


CLERK:  Mr. President, next bill.  (LB) 989 on Select File.  Senator Bruning, I do have Enrollment and Review amendments first of all, Senator.


SENATOR WEHRBEIN:  Senator Bruning.


SENATOR BRUNING:  Mr. President, I move we adopt the E & R amendments for LB 989.


SENATOR WEHRBEIN:  You've heard the motion.  All in favor vote aye.  Opposed.  Motion carried.


CLERK:  Mr. President, the first amendment other than the E & R, Senator Kristensen, AM3454.  (See page 900 of the Legislative Journal.)


SENATOR WEHRBEIN:  Senator Kristensen.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Thank you, Mr. President and members of the Legislature.  The last time that LB 989 was debated, I did have an amendment that dealt with the community colleges.  We brought forth that issue.  We didn't take a vote at that time, and Senator Coordsen and Senator Wickersham pledged to try to make sure that there was some understanding as to what was going to happen with the community colleges under this ...  this bill.  And at this point in time, Senator Wickersham and Senator Coordsen, I assume you'll ...  you'll have a keen ear but, Senator Wickersham, I'd just like to engage with you just a little bit of legislative history.  And I'm not ...  I'm not going to ask you




any questions, if you Just want to listen and then we can get some affirmance or some disavowal of the intent.  Last year, to refresh your memories, LB 269 was passed.  That created a whole new role of distribution of money among the community college system.  This bill deals with lid limits, with expenditure limitations, and so on, and it collides with the implementation ...  this is the first year of LB 269, and I think that it's here that there's no, in no way, going to change the way the funds are being distributed by last year's legislation, and that this lid in 989 is not in any way going to interfere with the formula changes that we made in LB 269 last year.  What I want to make sure, Senator Wickersham, is that the sinking funds can be counted as General Fund revenues for LB 969 from last year's formula.  And then also we want to make sure that the distribution of those funds put in place last year will take place as we set out in 269, and not as what we had originally thought, or had a question about, in 989.  And I suppose the bottom line to this is the sinking funds can be created and used, even though the community colleges have a separate capital fund with a separate levy, they're not going to be subject, at least for this first year, for the implementation of those ...  those receipts or those expenditures and those formula changes under 989.  Is that roughly your understanding?


SENATOR WEHRBEIN:  Senator Wickersham, will you yield, please.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Well, Senator, yes.  I think that the existing laws can be utilized by the community colleges to address their concerns.  Primarily, they can use sinking funds to purchase various items of capital equipment and work through what is really kind of a transitional issue with the lid in 989.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  And those sinking funds can be counted as General Fund revenue for LB 269 purposes from last year?  That's a...that's part of the...


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Yes, I think that's correct.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Okay.  Senator Coordsen, I know that you've been...  as the chief sponsor, you've been listening to this.  Is that roughly your understanding as well?




SENATOR WEHRBEIN:  Senator Coordsen.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  That's my understanding, Senator Kristensen.  We started out working with the community colleges with a significant amount of problems of working through how exactly the language that in present in 989 impacted them when measured against the bill that was passed last year with ...  that reflected upon the increasing state aid and the 40/40/20 division.  over time, we all came to understand that, as Senator Wickersham indicated, the language in the bill was sufficient for the community colleges who had a defined interest in the issue, to be able to operate their programs in the manner that they wished to, without us having to change any part of 989.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Thank you, Senator Coordsen.  Thank you, Senator Wickersham.  I think with that assurance that the sinking funds can be created and used, even though the community colleges do have a separate capital fund with a separate levy, and that those sinking funds can be counted as General Fund revenues under the formula we created last year, I think that's enough clarification and that's enough assurances for the redistribution as envisioned and passed last year in 269 to take place.  I'm satisfied with that and I would withdraw the amendment at this point in time.


SENATOR WEHRBEIN:  Thank you Senator Kristensen.  Amendment is withdrawn.


CLERK:  Mr. President, the next amendment by Senator Will.  Senator Will is excused.  I've been instructed to pass the amendment over at this time, Mr. President.  Next amendment, Senator Witek, AM3744, Senator.




SENATOR WITEK:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Legislature.  This amendment would change the Millard School District's...  as a school board member now runs at-large in the Millard School District, and I passed out a map of the Millard School District, which is quite large, and this only affects the Millard School District at this time.  It's based on the population of 100,000.  And what I would like to do is get our




board to put the entire district into smaller districts to run for those school board seats.  It's already being done in Omaha and Lincoln, as I understand it.  And the reasons that I'd like to do it at this time is after going through several election cycles, it's been given to my attention that there is great difficulty in running in an area this large for a seat that is a nonpaid position.  The campaigns have gotten quite expensive.  Two of the last campaigns were between $14,000 and $17,000.  It's a large area to put up signs, as you all know who've been elections and have to covet some of these larger areas, although I know, compared to Senator Jones' district or something, it doesn't seem that large.  But in a metropolitan district, it certainly is, and it's a large area to cover walking door to door, which is how low budgets campaigns usually cover that.  In addition to that, what's happening is a concentration of school board members in one zip code area, and I showed you on the zip codes, these are the names and addresses of the school board members at this time.  There are only five members on the board at this time.  We do have a full contingent of six, but one member just recently resigned.  There are four members of the board in the 68135 zip code area, and one member of the board in the 68154, up near the Boys Town area in the 68118 area.  And part of that concentration has been because two members of the board in the 68135 area have been appointed by the other members of the board.  So we have a great concentration of board members in this one area.  And in that zip code area, there are only four of Millard's 26-or-so schools, so only four schools are in this zip code area, and four school boards out of five, at this time, are in this one zip code area.  And there are no Sarpy County residents on the board at this time.  And we have 5 Millard State Senators that cover essentially the same area there.  So the legislative districts have been cut down and are smaller, and it's easier for us to run in our legislative district.  My district is completely in the center of the Millard School Board District, much smaller, and it's still quite difficult and expensive to run in that area.  So this piece of legislation is to ask our board, over the next six months, to go ahead and put six districts into the Millard School area, and in the next election, which would be the 2000 election cycle, people would run just within those smaller district areas.  I understand that the board has been calling some of the Omaha area senators in particular, and that there




March 23, IL998 LB 989


has been a lobbyist to lobby against this change.  But I would ask you to consider that I understand that these people would be not in favor of this measure because three of the four in this area will more than likely not be able to run again after the year 2000, or if they all choose to run, only one of the four will win for that district area, so they don't essentially want to do away with their ...  with their seat on the school board.  And instead of looking at personalities, I would ask you to look at the policy.  If you look at the rest of the entire school district, and you look at the Millard School District map, all of these members are west of 165th Street.  Most of them are just in this concentrated area, and the rest ...  the whole rest of the district where all these other schools are, we don't necessarily have the community representation that we feel that would make a difference in our area.  I ...  my house is right across from the Millard South High School.  My children went to Bryan Elementary, which is right in the center of the district.  And at this time, all of my board members live far west or far north, and recently this came to quite a discussion, especially in the Millard South.  Several hundred parents showed up on an issue, and every single one of them espousing that they didn't feel that they had representation on the board because it was not ...  all of the board members were from the Millard West or the Millard North area.  I think it's time to look at the policy, in this school district as we have in the Lincoln and in the Omaha district, that when you get a district, a larger district like that, you need to break it down into smaller pieces so that you can feel like you have community representation, or representation within at least a few of your schools in that area.  And I understand that an individual can represent a district at large, but it is getting much more expensive and difficult, and a lot of the people that I know in my area of Millard School District don't have that kind of personal money to put down, and they still want to serve.  They're very active in their Parent-Teacher Organizations.  They would love to run for the Millard School Board, but it's become very expensive and very difficult.  And if you don't have the money, the only other alternative is the time, and it's very time consuming.  And we have tried to do that, many of us do try to do that in our elections, but it is very, very difficult.  And so people just aren't running in a lot of 'Chose areas, and the concentration concerns me greatly, as a Millard resident, and I would ask you




to consider helping with this amendment, and at this time allowing Millard School District Board to go ahead and redistrict that area into six smaller districts so that we can got equal representation across the entire school district.  And that's all this does.  It just concerns at this time Millard, because of the population change.  Thank you.




SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Wickersham.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Mr. Speaker, I would rise and ask for a ruling on a point of order as to whether...


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  State your point.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Is AM3744 germane to the committee amendments to 989, or 989 as it now stands before us?  I do not believe it is germane, and would like the Chair to rule.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Would you elaborate on your point?


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Well, Mr. Speaker, the amendment seems to deal primarily with issues that arise under Chapter 32, concerning elections, although there is one section of the bill that at least is in Article 79 where the rest of the schools provisions are but, again, that provision deals exclusively with election-.  (LB) 989 is a fiscal issue bill.  It relates primarily to the dollars that may be expended by various political subdivisions.  It really does not have anything to do with the election of the officers to the boards that may make decisions about that spending.  And I ...  and I don't believe that an amendment that has to do with issues about the election of a board that may simply be making decisions about the subject matter of the material that's in 989 makes it relevant.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Witek, I'd like you to respond before I make a ruling.


SENATOR WITEK:  It is in the same section, I believe, and we're checking on this right now.  When we ran through the bills, that there was a possibility that we could amend this to, the reason




we chose this was because of that.  And also it is dealing with this is related to schools, and school.  In the original bill ...  (LB) 1343 is the original bill.  It is an act relating to schools, so there were no other opportunities to try to get this amendment through at this time, and it's the same chapter, 32, that's in 989 ...  or that part of 989 deals with.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Thank you, Senator.  Senator Witek, although it is in the same chapter, the school laws are a very, very broad chapter.  I'm going to rule that this is not a germane amendment, and you're free to challenge the ruling of the Chair.


SENATOR WITEK:  No, I will not challenge the Chair at this time.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Next amendment.


CLERK:  Mr. President, Senator Coordsen would move to amend AM3790.  (See page 1092 of the Legislative Journal.)


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Coordsen.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members of the body.  AM3790 is in the daily Journal beginning on page 1092 or on our electronic gremlin here.  (AM)3790 is an amendment that adds three sections to the statute to provide that for school aid in Class I budget limitation purposes, the allowable growth range, as it existed on the prior December 1 will govern even if the Legislature subsequently amends the allowable growth rate for the next budget year, as authorized under LB 989.  We have found that after the Revenue Committee had drafted what is now the bill, the Revenue Committee amendment, that we had some questions arose over when ...  what was the magic date on which growth rate was going to be measured on.  And this is, as I understand it, the currently existing method and it was the most understandable to answer the questions by providing the language that is provided, I think, in three different places in the bill.  Then we had some question from the State Auditor's office, and those had to do with what was meant by accounts or account...account or accounts, arid that's toward the end of the amendment.  Let me keep thumbing through it here...  on page 1097 of the Journal, and for the purposes of auditing purpose, as




questioned by the State Auditor, we did change the word, "account" or "accounts" to "funds" so that those that were auditing understood that these were not accounts from which checks were written or anything of that type, but they were funds as are the various funds that exist in government units for various ...  various purpose.  Then we also provided the bond versus nonbond tax levies for purposes of a Municipal Equalization Fund distribution, or as determined by the budgets on file in the Auditor's office, and we harmonize several sections to be consistent with what is now (LB) 1175, the Education Committee's priority bill that is now, I believe, on Select File.  And those are harmonizing language that would still be valid changes if...if we go no further with that.  So with that, it's a technical amendment.  There's no change of any kind in the...  in the premise of 989, and I would ask for the adoption of AM3790 to 989.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Before we move to the next items, Senator Schellpeper announces he has the following guests visiting the Legislature.  They are 15 juniors and seniors from Hartington Public Schools in Hartington, Nebraska.  (Introduced teacher.) They are in the north balcony.  Would you please stand and be recognized by your Legislature.  Welcome.  Mr. Clerk.  We have an amendment to the amendment, Senator Coordsen.  (AM4004 appears on page 1255 of the Legislative Journal.)


SENATOR COORDSEN:  And the amendment to the amendment harmonizes some language in the Municipal Equalization Fund where we...  and the bill did not use the correct language ...  or language that was the same as in the Municipal Equalization Fund language.  And what we would do, on page 10, line 2, we strike "levy" and show as stricken, and on line 22 and 23, we strike "levy of the municipality" and insert "municipal tax levy for operational purposes".  And that's the language out of the Municipal Equalization Fund distribution language, so I would ask for the adoption of this amendment to Amendment 3790.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Debate on the Coordsen amendment to the amendment?  Senator Coordsen, you're recognized to close.  Closing is waived.  The question before the body is the adoption of the amendment to the Coordsen amendment.  All those in favor vote aye; all those opposed vote nay.  Please record.




CLERK:  30 ayes, 0 nays, Mr. President, on the amendment to the amendment as offered by Senator Coordsen.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  The amendment to the amendment is adopted.


CLERK:  I have nothing further to AM3790, Mr. President.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  We're now debating AM 3790.  Senator Coordsen, you're recognized to close on the amendment.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Only to say very briefly, as I explained in the opening, this is a technical amendment and the inclusion of the amendment to the amendment was, in fact, again the same thing, correcting some language.  This doesn't change any of the features of 989, but makes the language more consistent with other sections of statute, both those existing and some other proposed language, so I would adopt ...  propose that.  LB (sic) 3790 be added to LB 989.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  You've heard the closing.  The question before the body is the adoption of AM3790.  All those in favor vote aye; all those opposed vote nay.  Please record.


CLERK:  34 ayes, 0 nays, Mr. President, on adoption of Senator Coordsen's amendment to the bill.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Coordsen's amendment is adopted.  Next item, Mr. Clerk.


CLERK:  Senator Tyson would move to amend with AM3769.  (See page 1098 of the Legislative Journal.)


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Tyson, you're recognized to open.


SENATOR TYSON:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members of the body.  The amendment that I have offered is a very simple amendment, very straight forward, and the purpose of it is to bring some resolution to a problem that appears in 989.  (LB) 989 says, in essence, and this would be section 12 found on page 20, that cities cannot increase more than 2.5 ...  2.5 percent above previous budgets, subject to the other conditions contained in,




I believe, it's 3370, less the amendments we just had from Senator Coordsen.  (LB) 1114 and the old lid, 299, limits the ability of cities to raise money, to increase their levies beyond 45 and 5.  The amendment that I am offering says that if the CIR follows particular requirements, and there are only three of them, in coming to their judgment and issuing their order, if they do follow the standards contained in my amendment, then restricted funds budgeted to pay for such orders or judgment would not be subject to the lid.  In short, when subject to the lid, the city cannot raise the ...  the levy to get the money, they must pay the order of the CIR, there's no debating about that, so they have to do one of several things.  They have to lay people off.  They have to lessen services.  They have to not buy equipment for the town or county or village, whatever that they otherwise would.  They can eliminate services altogether.  They can close libraries, swimming pools, whatever; they can do nothing else.  With this very simple amendment to 989, if the CIR does not follow the standards, then the restricted funds budgeted to pay for such would be subject to the lid.  In other words, they would have to do what I Just outlined.  Otherwise, if they follow these standards, they can exceed the lid by the amount of money necessary to pay the CIR order.  And that's all that this says.  Now, what are the standards?  The first, with respect to a judgment or order that applies to a city of the first or second class or a village, the judgment or order is not based on a comparison with any employer outside the state unless three job matches with the same or similar work cannot be found within the state for the job classification.  In other words, Nebraska cities have to be compared with Nebraska cities and villages, and so forth, and this is only municipalities.  This has nothing to do with counties, it has nothing to do with school district, has nothing to do with anything but first and second class cities an d villages.  The second, with respect to a judgment or order that applies to any class or municipality, the judgment or order is not based on a comparison with an employer in a municipality with a population of more than double or less than half of the population of the municipality which is the subject of the comparison.  In other words, we would like to compare apples with apples, oranges with oranges, and cities of roughly like size with cities of roughly like size.  Now it has been argue d that there are no cities to compare, and I have passed out, for




your edification and delight, lists of cities that follow this comparison of more than ...  not more than double or less than half.  So there are plenty of things to compare cities with if you're talking about the city of Omaha and the city of Lincoln.  The third of this very simple amendment, with respect to a judgment or order that applies to any class of municipality, the judgment or order is not based on a comparison with an employer in a municipality whole metropolitan area population is more than double or less than half of the metropolitan areas or the municipality which is the subject of comparison.  Here we are talking about Omaha and Lincoln.  Previously, I've got ahead of myself, which I do about three times a day.  We were talking about cities of the first and second class and villages.  There, in a nutshell is the amendment.  Now let me give you a little background on the amendment.  For about the last eight years, there has been a bill offered in this Legislature, and for the last years that it has been offered, it never got to the floor.  In an attempt to bring some portions of that matter to the floor, when my bill, which is my priority bill, LB 1075, was killed in committee, which I, quite frankly, fully expected it to be, I reached around, looked around, for a compromise.  And I cam up with a compromise that, quite frankly, was greeted by some as a genuine effort to get to the heart of the matter.  And we talked to some of the people in opposition, and we found some acceptance.  We found some acceptance until one individual said, well, he didn't understand, that he wanted to wait for an attorney to return, to see what the attorney thought, which is certainly a reasonable request, except for one thing and I'll get to that one thing in just a moment.  But what happened was the attorney returned, the thing was explained to him, and he said, absolutely not.  And I have to confess, Mr. Speaker, that 1 was a bit bemused.  I was a bit bewildered about why he would not, and suddenly it came to me.  Someone had come up with a compromise that could throw cold water, quite a bit of it, on the fire box of the locomotive that was pulling his gravy train.  The man's making over $400 an hour for doing this.  Why would he admit to it?  He wouldn't.  Why would he be for a compromise?  He wouldn't be.  Why would he want his gravy train to enter the station, come to a halt?  He wouldn't.  But be that as it may, there was a compromise offered.  The compromise went nowhere, even though it was only...  it wasn't even a faint shadow of (LB) 1075.  But that's neither here nor there.  Here we are




today, and some people have asked, well, if this came out of 1075, where is it different?  Well, between 1075 and this amendment, there's no concentric circle array, which is a matter of 1075.  There's no public or private labor array, which was a matter of 1075.  We gave that up.  There was no historic relationship.  There was no job match descriptions, no arithmetic mean, no median, no mode, no way, in short, of measuring any central tendency.  There was no offset, and there were no economic variables.  So this ...  if this is part of 1075, it's a very faint shadow, and the only thing this does, and this is important, the only thing this does is enable a city to raise the money, under certain circumstances, above the lid.  That's all that it does.  Quite frankly, I would think that if I were a labor organization I would be calling every member of this body out and not suggesting but demanding that they vote for it.  That has not happened...




SENATOR TYSON:  ...  and I don't know the reason why.  But I would urge you to vote for this.  I would urge you to read it; it's a very short amendment.  And I would be happy to answer any questions that you have about it, and I probably won't make more than two or three mistakes in answering the questions, which for me is pretty good.  So I ask for your indulgence, for your interest, and for your vote.  Thank you.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  It's the Chair's understanding that there is several amendments to this amendment but that there had been contact made and that those were going to be run as amendments to the bill.  Is there any of those sponsors of those amendments who that is not their understanding?  Senator Schimek.  Senator Schimek, would you please ...  we'll stand at ease for just a moment please.  Would you please come to the Chair?  We are now debating the Tyson amendment and we'll begin in the order of debate.  Senator Schimek, your light is on first.  We're debating the Tyson amendment.


SENATOR SCHIMEK:  Yes, thank you, Madam President, members of the body.  I rise in opposition to the Tyson amendment for, probably, a lot of reasons; more than I can count; more than I can go into this afternoon.  But I would like to mention a few




of them.  First of all, I don't think this is a little amendment; a simple little amendment.  This is a very significant amendment.  This amendment is actually the guts of a bill that was brought to the Business arid Labor Committee this year, as Senator Tyson explained, as LB 1075.  And it takes, really, section 5 from that bill and incorporates it as this amendment.  What it does is it leaves out some things like definitions, et cetera, and so I'm not sure even as a committee member what the full impact of this amendment is.  And I would like to go into that a little bit later on, but my main point here, and my first point, is ...  it is kind of an end-run around the committee.  The committee said no to this bill and, you know, I've heard lots of people stand up on the floor this year and talk about that very issue about end-runs around the committee.  And I don't think that it's something that we should start at this point with this bill.  My second point is that I think you could question the germaneness of this.  I'm not going to.  I mean, I think it's a close call either way, but I think that the statement of intent on LB 989 reads that this bill allows a governmental unit to increase its budget no more than 4 percent to create a qualified sinking fund upon the affirmative vote of at least 75 percent of the governing body.  It changes budget limitations for political subdivisions.  It does not change guidelines for the CIR.  It doesn't have anything to do with the comparability of municipalities.  It doesn't have anything to do with labor and negotiations.  So even though I think this amendment was crafted very well so that you can put it in here, I think it really violates the spirit of germaneness.  The Commission Of Industrial Relations is a very significant agency in our state, and it has built a history over a long period of time through many negotiations in many court cases.  A good deal of predictability has come from the process over that period of time.  When we were in committee hearings, we had representatives come before us who said that in the last ten years, in the last ten years, there have only been six cases involving municipalities before the Commission of Industrial Relations.  Now think about that.  That says that everybody understands the parameters of the CIR and everybody is acknowledging that when they do their negotiations.






SENATOR SCHIMEK:  If you adopt this amendment, you are taking away that predictability.  You are upsetting the apple cart and you will be paying lawyers for evermore as we work our way through new rulings and new rulings and new parameters.  I would like to mention that only two of those cases of those six actually addressed the issue of metropolitan statistical area, which is what this amendment is talking about.  So two cases in ten years involved this issue that we're bringing before us in an amendment on the floor, which this issue was originally killed by the Business and Labor Committee.  I don't think it's a good thing to do at this point, and I intend to offer more discussion on this amendment at another time.  And I'll turn my light back on.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Time.  Senator Wesely.


SENATOR WESELY:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members.  I rise in opposition to the amendment, and I had seriously thought about voting for it until I had the opportunity last night to read the supreme court case regarding the Lincoln firefighters law suit.  If any of you have just a few minutes, you ought to take the time to read that lawsuit because what it does is talk about a process that I think has worked for this state for a long time that was followed, I believe, in a way that it should have been followed by those in support of the firefighters.  It was not pursued by the city of Lincoln in the way it should have been pursued, and they were embarrassed by the outcome, and that prompted this desire to come before us now to offer up the Tyson amendment.  And in my view, it's not a good enough reason for us to act hastily and to move forward with the Tyson amendment.  And I just want to share a little bit of some of the decision-making process that went into it to give you some background on the CIR.  One of the things that Lincoln wanted to do in challenging the decision and going to the supreme court, they wanted the cities that they had suggested be included that were not included added, and the one that was included that they didn't want from the firefighters side, they wanted that thrown out.  They wanted it totally their way.  There was not an effort to look at balance with both sides having some input.  It was one side only that seemed to want to have their way in this proposal.  And the funny thing about that is, one of the cities that they talked about was Davenport, and let me read from the




supreme court decision.  Lincoln argues that Davenport should not have been included in the present array both because it has less than half the population of Lincoln and because it is considered part of the Quad Cities and therefore part of an area that has too great a population.  In short, in Lincoln's view, Davenport is both too large and too small to be an appropriate comparison.  They tried to argue that the city was both too small and too large.  It's ridiculous, and it ties in directly with what Senator Tyson is trying to talk about.  It goes on and just throws out that argument as being without any evidence.  They talk about ...  okay, another argument that they had was that the commission's failure to adequately count for differences in the degree of unionization in Lincoln and the degree of unionization in the array of cities led the commission to se.  improperly high rates to pay for its firefighters.  What they didn't recognize ....  what Lincoln tried to argue was that they didn't look at the unionization in Lincoln versus the other cities, they looked at unionization in the state of Nebraska.  In the state of Nebraska.  And as a result, the court laughed it off and said, of course that's not comparable.  You've got to look at the city itself, not the state unionization comparison.  Another thing Lincoln tried to do was to say that there was seven fringe benefits that had been treated as moot and those should have been put back in because it wasn't fair that they were treated as moot.  Of the 21 items mooted by the commission, I'm reading from the court case again, Lincoln was below the prevalent in eight of them, above the prevalent in six of them, and comparable in seven of them.  Under that circumstance, we cannot Bay the mooting of these fringe benefits when the contract hearing dispute is over is arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable.  What they were trying to say is that Lincoln did worse in eight, they did better than the other cities in six, and were comparable in seven of them.  So Lincoln tried to come in and say, well, take those that were better and include those but ignore the ones where we're worse in.  And, of course, the court laughed that off and that was thrown out.  Another thing Lincoln came in with was to talk about how much they paid for health benefits.  And the bottom line of the court decision was, Lincoln does not maintain that its insurance coverage exceeds the "prevalented" quality, only that its expense exceeds the prevalent in expense.  Indeed each party's insurance expert opined that Lincoln's benefits were comparable to those provided




by the array cities.  In other words, they didn't have any better benefits,...




SENATOR WESELY:  ...  they were just paying a lot more for them.  That was thrown out.  Retirement benefits.  This is a great one.  They tried to argue that the retirement benefits were better in Lincoln.  And how they did that is that there are two pension plans in Lincoln.  The firefighters used both those plans and compared them to the other cities.  Well, Lincoln picked just one of the two plans and said, as a result of that, we have better benefits.  The only thing was that the other plan they didn't include had 93 percent of the firefighters.  I'm telling you, if we stand up and support the Tyson amendment and go after the CIR after that decision because we don't like the decision, we're wrong.  We are wrong.  The court upheld it; the commission upheld it because it was the right decision.  The city of Lincoln didn't have a leg to stand on in going to the supreme court and I am angry about the fact that we have been pushed and shoved over this issue over a case that is so blatantly clear.  And if you read this opinion you'll have the same opinion I have, which is the...




SENATOR WESELY:  ...  same opinion the supreme court had.  Thank you.




SENATOR LYNCH:  Mr. Speaker and members, I rise to oppose the amendment as well.  Senator Tyson mentioned that we all should get on the bandwagon and all try to do the right thing.  Well in part A of his amendment, it Bays that except judgments or orders from the Commission of Industrial Relations other than those specified subsection of this section, and that's (a), (b), and (c).  Well if, in fact, he wants us to all get on board together, why don't they just do away with the...  just say that any decision by the CIR, not just these three exceptions, but any decision by the CIR should not apply to the lids.  Why just these three?  It's rather interesting, of course.  I'm not quite




sure why this happened.  If I could, I'd like to ask Senator Tyson a question or two.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Tyson, would you respond?


SENATOR TYSON:  Yes, I would.


SENATOR LYNCH:  Senator Tyson, is the...  is what city's levy, since this only deals with municipalities, is what city's levy...


SENATOR TYSON:  I'm sorry, I didn't catch that....


SENATOR LYNCH:  ...  part of the comparison when taken into account is the city's ability to pay these kinds of benefits?  Should there be a judgment, say, against the city of Norfolk, is the levy that that city has taken into consideration as part of that argument, or do you know?


SENATOR TYSON:  Do you mean by the CIR?


SENATOR LYNCH:  Well, by ...  yeah, by the CIR.  By ...  when we compare.


SENATOR TYSON:  Well, no.  They're comparing in ...  when these comparisons are made, Senator, they take....


SENATOR LYNCH:  Well ...  yes or no.  Do they have ...  do they take the levy.  When a decision is made...  for example, if the city of Norfolk firemen should decide that they would like an increase and whatever was used as a comparison, in that comparison by the CIR, is the levy of the city...  is the levy of the city part of the consideration?


SENATOR TYSON:  That's easy, Senator.  NO.


SENATOR LYNCH:  Okay, fine.  That's good enough.  I ...  the reason I ask is rather interesting.  I compared in the cities ...  I got the old municipal book out here and in first class cities, why, it lists 28 of them almost.  Kearney, Fremont, Hastings, North Platte, Norfolk, and Columbus all range from about 19,500 to about 24,500.  But the city levies ...  the valuations are pretty




comparable for tax purposes.  Five hundred thousand to six hundred thousand, so you would assume that the ability...




SENATOR LYNCH:  It's my time, if you don't mind, then you can react to it whenever you want to.  What's interesting is that the city levy for Norfolk is 16 cents a hundred.  North Platte in 41 cents.  Hastings in 46 cents.  Fremont in 64 cents.  And so the next issue is, is the ability to pay something that should be part of the consideration when we talk about the CIR or when we even talk about lids?  Because in the case of Norfolk, obviously, they are way, way low from the limits.  Simply, put, what we seem to lose as we talk about this issue is the most important and fundamental principle that was involved when the CIR was started.  When we went to a right to work state, when we went to a right to work state in Nebraska, we said to public employees, those are municipal employees.  They would no longer have the right to strike.  Okay?  The trade-off is simple.




SENATOR LYNCH:  If you can't strike, we'll offer some kind of third party negotiations for determining what fair comparisons can be used to determine what fair salaries should be.  If we're not going to use that fair comparison, in or out of the state, however it comes to pass, we should revisit the issue of a right to work state.  Just do away with it.  We shouldn't have it both ways, and this bill should have been...  if they wanted to try to get 107S up, it should have come up as it should have with the kind of integrity that was involved with trying to raise a bill out of the committee that was killed.  This is a nice fun-and-game kind of amendment, trying to try to accomplish something in such a way that I don't think reflects well, to be completely frank, on our system and how our system should work.  It's cute, but it shouldn't be seriously considered today.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Chris Peterson.


SENATOR C.  PETERSON:  Mr. Chairman, members of the body, I rise in support of the Tyson amendment and I think we're all aware




that this has been brought up before.  Last year we tried to get it out of committee and got hammered on that one, and I think the comments will probably display a variety of opinions on pro and con as we continue through the afternoon.  I certainly agree with Senator Schimek.  I think we are at new parameters being set.  And I also...  I think that Senator Lynch is right.  The issue does indirectly and directly deal with ability to pay.  Currently, CIR judgments are now all under the lid, and Senator Tyson, with his bill kept and then killed in committee, I think has been working for a compromise.  And I think that an issue that comes up, also that is certainly one of the reasons I'm interested in this, is that this is a very important issue to many of our city administrators.  And many of them, also myself included, are concerned about the ultimate affect of the taxpayer with 1114.  (LB) 1114 is going to make everybody lean and mean, and there is not a lot left to be trimmed down.  What this amendment does, it does not require the CIR to use the standards.  What it almost does is provide incentives to both parties.  If you can reach the agreement locally, fine.  If not, you go to CIR.  If the CIR uses the standards, the judgment is not subject to the lid.  I think that this would be an incentive to both parties.  I don't think anybody would like to have the CIR judgments impact their budgets more than their budgets have been impacted with 299 and LB 1114.  1 think that we're going to have continued debate on this, and I think that, obviously, it's an issue that needs to be discussed because it does, ultimately, impact the effect on the taxpayer in terms of these judgments being within the lid or outside the lid.  And so again I hope you will consider supporting Senator Tyson's amendment and I thank you for the time.




SENATOR JONES:  Mr. President and members of the body, I'm going to stand an support this amendment.  I've been clear across my district and I think Broken Bow and Ainsworth and Valentine and Gordon, all of them want this here passed.  And so I think it's going to help the little towns as well as the big ones.  So if you're thinking this is just going to be something for the big towns, it's for everybody across the state.  So I'm going to stand and support it and hope that we can get it put on this amendment.  Thank you.




SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Wickersham.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members of the body.  I rise in opposition to the amendment.  It is fundamentally a principle that the Revenue Committee considered and did not adopt.  That is, do you give in this case a municipality, in cases...  other cases we examined counties or schools or other political subdivisions, the incentive to go to the Court of Industrial Relations and try to obtain a judgment and have, in some respect, that judgment outside the lid.  The judgment in the Revenue Committee was that we did not, in broad frame, want to provide that kind of an incentive.  It produces unusual results and would produce unusual results, in our opinion.  The amendment that is proposed by Senator Tyson, however, goes us one better, and not only does it create an unusual incentive to go to the CIR, that is an attempt to find a way outside of the lid if you want to increase spending, but it also sets you up for what, and I hope this isn't too arcane a phrase, Senator Tyson, or that it's not unfair, but it sets you up for something that I would characterize as a crap shoot.  And that I don't quite understand because it is only conditional language that would let you have your judgment be outside of the lid.  And that is, if by some chance, you obtained for your municipality an order that was based on the specific conditions that are set forth in the amendment.  Now, I suppose that a n argument can be made that having those kind of conditions set out in statute surely is something that will come to the attention of the Court of Industrial Relations; that the Court of Industrial Relations will somehow have pity on folks that come before it; they will surely fashion their orders in the manner that is set forth in the amendment so that the issue in order is going to be exempt from the lid.  I assume that is the underlying rationale.  Well, two things wrong with it.  One, I don't think we need those kinds of incentives to go to the CIR to produce exceptions to the lid.  That's expensive, can be counterproductive, you may be able to handle those things by negotiations at home without going to the CIR.  Secondly, to seek to gently coerce, if you will, the CIR in that fashion so that it does not exercise what I believe is its appropriate discretion at the moment seems to be inappropriate.  If you want to place those kinds of restrictions on the activities of the




CIR, the far better way to do that is a straight up policy issue that Senator Tyson and others, Senator Coordsen amongst them, have sought over the years to address limiting the discretion or setting out parameters for the Court of Industrial Relations.  But to do it in this kind of a backward way, or a back door way if you will, does not seem to me to be appropriate, because then what will the cry be if the Court of Industrial Relations does not, in fact, conform their judgements to the criteria that are in this lid exception?  Surely it will be to force the Court of Industrial Relations to do that so that you have a full-blown exception to the lid.  Well, I don't know, at that point, what the taxpayers of this state or the taxpayers of the municipalities that are subjected to the inevitable increases in taxes are going to have to say about the activities of this Legislature.  They probably would rightfully complain that...




SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  ...  we should have kept the incentive where it belonged, and that is to settle these issues at home and to not actively seek out kind of a relief process, if you will, in the Court of Industrial Relations.  That isn't what it was designed for; that isn't what we should be attempting to use it for.




SENATOR ABBOUD:  Thank you, Mr. President, members.  I had a question for Senator Tyson, if he'd yield.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Tyson, would you respond?


SENATOR TYSON:  Certainly.


SENATOR ABBOUD:  Senator Tyson, in your opening you talked about negotiations that took place involving LB 1075.  Who was involved in the negotiations?  Was it a member of the Legislature that you were negotiating with?




SENATOR ABBOUD:  And who was that?




SENATOR TYSON:  Senator Abboud, I don't...  if the gentleman involved, who is not here now, cares to identify himself, he may.  I don't intend to do so.


SENATOR ABBOUD:  Do I have to subpoena the ...  to get the answer from you or something?  (Laughter.) Set up a defense fund or something?  Well, I knew it was Senator Landis.  I was wondering whether or not you had...  if there was any other parties on the other side as far as the members of the Business and Labor Committee or people that were actually involved in the issue.  Did...  ?


SENATOR TYSON:  I would say, Senator Abboud, that I have learned to my betterment or my grief, I'm trying to figure out which one, that it really hasn't paid to negotiate with members of the Business and Labor Committee.


SENATOR ABBOUD:  What about Senator Chambers?  You certainly convinced him.  He was willing to vote the bill out.


SENATOR TYSON:  Pardon me, with some of the members of the Labor Committee.  (Laughter.)


SENATOR ABBOUD:  You were only one vote short.


SENATOR TYSON:  I'm going to ...  can I exempt Senator Dierks and Senator Schrock at the same time?


SENATOR ABBOUD:  Yes, you may.


SENATOR TYSON:  Ego absolvotae, opocatus tuis.  In nominus battress...(inaudible).


SENATOR ABBOUD:  So you have this negotiation.  And who was on the other side that you talked about that left the room that said they had to talk to an attorney?  Was that...that was no ...  that was not a member...  I didn't know if you were referring to a member of the committee or the Legislature that left that had to go talk to the high-priced attorney to clarify their position.  That wasn't a member of the Legislature that left, was there?




SENATOR TYSON:  No, sir.  It was not.


SENATOR ABBOUD:  Okay.  And you felt that the committee just would not be willing to make any kind of negotiations on LB 1075?


SENATOR TYSON:  That was my feeling.  Yes, Senator.


SENATOR ABBOUD:  Okay.  And so you decided to offer an amendment on LB 989 to try to deal with it?


SENATOR TYSON:  At that point, it was already moot because of the rules of the body.


SENATOR ABBOUD:  Okay.  And you didn't make a motion to pull the bill from committee?  or you did, but we didn't have a vote?


SENATOR TYSON:  I didn't pull it.


SENATOR ABBOUD:  Okay.  You didn't have a ...  you didn't want to have a vote on it?  Was that ....


SENATOR TYSON:  Senator Abboud, I am not the one who has been dodging a vote on this matter.


SENATOR ABBOUD:  Well, the committee didn't dodge the vote.  We killed the bill.  (Laughter.) I mean.  Okay.  I don't have any other questions, Senator, unless you wanted to respond.


SENATOR TYSON:  Well, I just...  first of all, I wanted to ask Senator Jensen and Senator Pederson to stand away from you, because if the lightning does strike through that roof, one burst can get them all.


SENATOR ABBOUD:  Well, thank you, Senator Tyson, for clarifying that.  I'm going to rise in opposition to the amendment as well, and the reason I'm going to is, as has been stated by Senator Wickersham, the issues over usurping the lid, I feel, are probably as crucial ...  I think that this probably this issue was important enough to deal with it on its own.  There certainly was a mechanism available.  I know Senator Tyson made a motion




to pull the bill from the committee, and it probably would have been the logical place to deal with it and have the membership vote at that time.  At this point in time, the bill does not really ...  or this amendment doesn't focus in on what I think Senator Tyson is attempting to do with it.  It certainly deals with the same subject matter, deals with the same approach.  But putting on this LB 989, a major piece of legislation which this amendment, if it was adopted, would certainly jeopardize the bill, and I am very much in support of LB 989 and I do support the extension of the lids.  And it's my belief that this amendment would jeopardize the passage of the bill, and secondly would certainly weaken the lid limitations that are in place at the current time.  So I'm going to be in opposition to the amendment.  Thank you.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Hartnett.


SENATOR HARTNETT:  Mr. Speaker, members of the body, I think one of the things we did in the Revenue Committee, I think Senator Wickersham said it really well, is that we really looked at how do we treat payments of CIR as it relates to the lid.  We finally made the decision that all the...  all of the decisions CIR or other negotiations would be within the lid.  And I guess this bill as it ...  or this amendment as Senator Tyson has brought with it, it deals just with cities.  But I guess I remember in my life before I was in the Legislature served a number of years on the school board, and one of the school boards in the area that I live in every year, or most every year, they would go to the CIR simply to say, we didn't raise your levy or property tax.  We simply ...  that was those group of people in Lincoln.  They would simply not negotiate in good faith.  And that's, I think, as I have some fear about this.  The cities can simply say, well, we don't want to do it.  City council, mayor and so forth and simply can go around and simply go to the CIR.  So I really think it's a bad policy for us to consider this because I think we tried to be, in the Revenue Committee, be very fair with the way we dealt with the ...  all the local governments.  So I rise and oppose this amendment.




SENATOR SCHMITT:  Yes, Mr. Speaker, members.  I've got a couple




of questions, I guess, for Senator Tyson, but first I'm not sure whether I like CIR or not.  They just made some rulings with my old department of State Patrol and they ruled against the.  So I'm looking at these things, I guess, differently today maybe.  But I got a couple questions, Senator Tyson.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Tyson, would you respond?




SENATOR SCHMITT:  How many of the entities will this affect other than police and firefighters?


SENATOR TYSON:  It affects any and all employees of municipalities, first and second class cities, and villages, Senator Schmitt, and that is all.  So I can't give you a percentage answer.  In the city of Norfolk we have a couple of hundred employees.  Forty-seven, I think, are members of the city police department.  We have a largely volunteer fire department, but I think we have probably 18 or 20.  Possibly more.  That's just a guess, Senator.  I don 't know.


SENATOR SCHMITT:  Well, it wouldn't affect your volunteer firefighters because they're...




SENATOR SCHMITT:  ...  not paid so the CIR...


SENATOR TYSON:  They're paid on call.


SENATOR SCHMITT:  ...  is not going to get involved with those.  But do you know...  I guess Senator Jones has left and I heard him say that this would affect a lot of the smaller communities out there.  Do you have any idea how many of the smaller communities have actually had CIR rule on their disputes?


SENATOR TYSON:  Well, Senator Schmitt, I can tell you, it was mentioned earlier that there had been like a very, very few.  But I can tell you, for instance, in 1988 to the CIR went the city of Omaha, the city of Hastings, the city of Holdrege, the city of Bellevue twice, the city of Fairbury ...  pardon me, the




city of Bellevue four times.  But Senator Hartnett, who is running for mayor there, will probably never go.  in 189, Fairbury and Nebraska City.  In '90, Omaha twice.  In '91, Seward once and Omaha once.  Ninety-two, Holdrege and Columbus.  Ninety-three, the city of Bellevue.  Ninety-four, Holdrege, Omaha, Omaha, Ralston, and Falls City.  Ninety-five, Omaha twice.  Ninety-six, the city of Grand Island and the city of Lincoln.  In 1997, none.  So that was, incidentally Senator Schmitt, a total of 26 cases, and those are the ones that I know have gone there.


SENATOR SCHMITT:  Did ...  on the first one that you said, did you say Albion?


SENATOR TYSON:  No, sir.  I did not.  City of Bellevue four times, the city of Holdrege, Hastings, and Fairbury.


SENATOR SCHMITT:  Oh, okay.  Well, I didn't hear any towns there, any communities in I or Senator Jones's area, so I was wondering how this was really going to affect our small communities out there in rural Nebraska.  And I guess another question I got.  When they had these labor disputes, who has instigated, I guess ...  who has taken these to CIR?  Has it always been the community, or has it been other...  ?


SENATOR TYSON:  Senator, I'm sorry.  Could you repeat that please?


SENATOR SCHMITT:  Is it the labor that usually takes these complaints to the CIR or do the cities, too?


SENATOR TYSON:  I would assume it's both.


SENATOR SCHMITT:  Why are we just picking and choosing with the municipalities?  Why aren't we including everybody in this?


SENATOR TYSON:  Are you talking about the NSEA, Senator?


SENATOR SCHMITT:  I'm talking about everybody.


SENATOR TYSON:  Does that include ...




SENATOR SCHMITT:  If you want to include the NSEA, that's fine.  But I'm just talking about everybody.  If we're going to do away with the CIR, let's do away with it.


SENATOR TYSON:  I don't think the CIR should be done away with, Senator.  In answer to your question, however, the city of Omaha in 1990 went twice.




SENATOR TYSON:  And that list that I gave you was...otherwise it was labor only.


SENATOR SCHMITT:  I understand that all the larger communities have went to it, but I just think if we're going to pick and choose with a few with Norfolk and Lincoln, whose the main ones here that we're playing with, why not do away with this CIR completely.


SENATOR TYSON:  Is that your question?


SENATOR SCHMITT:  A question or a remark, I don't really care.  You can take it however you want to.


SENATOR TYSON:  Well, treating it as a question, I think that if you have a definable process with clearly delineated guidelines, that what you do is you encourage negotiation at a local level.  For instance, in that list that I gave you, Senator, the city of Norfolk did not appear.  The city...


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Time.  Senator Kiel.


SENATOR KIEL:  For the last 45 minutes I've felt like I was on Jeopardy and I didn't get my button pushed in time.  I haven't been able to jump in.  Mr. Chair, members of the Legislature, I would challenge the amendment on germaneness.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Kiel, would you expand on why you think it's not germane?


SENATOR KIEL:  I'll refer back to the Rules, and it indicates that no motion, proposition, or subject different from that




under consideration shall be admitted under color of amendment.  Any amendment that's not germane is out of order.  Germane amendments relate only to details of the specific subject of the bill and must be in a natural and logical sequence to the subject matter of the original proposal.  A nongermane amendment includes one that relates to a substantially different subject, and I would submit to you that this amendment relates to a substantially different subject in that 989 is an act relating to revenue and taxation, to change budget limitation provisions for political subdivisions and school districts, and to provide an operative date.  Whereas this amendment is substantively similar to 1075 which we've been talking about which is an act relating to labor and also the Nebraska Municipal Comparability Act and therefore not germane.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Tyson, would you ...  before I make a ruling, would you respond?


SENATOR TYSON:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I would direct Senator Kiel's attention, since we're now looking at 3370, as effectively as the bill, it would be on page 8, and it would go on page 9 and 10.  The Commission of Industrial Relations, Mr. Speaker, is in this bill.  How CIR orders are to be addressed under public law ...  or LB 989 is in this bill.  This amendment reconciles the policies, contrary policies I might point out, between the lid laws and CIR, and therefore is a germane subject to this bill and follows a natural sequence to the lines that I just pointed out and that Senator Kiel has underlined in her copy of the bill.




SENATOR TYSON:  I would mention to you that in discussions of this with one of the staff members of Governor Nelson, who ...  and this bill is his, said that they would not argue germaneness on this.




SENATOR TYSON:  That may not have anything to do with your ruling, but....




SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  That's not going to be relevant to my ruling.  Thank you.  Senator Kiel, it's my opinion that the amendment does relate to the limitations of judgments and orders from the CIR and as they relate to the lids.  I'm going to rule that they are germane to 989 the way the amendment is drafted.  You're free to overrule the Chair if you choose to do 60.


SENATOR KIEL:  I would move to overrule the Chair.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Kiel moves to overrule the Chair.  And Senator Kiel, you're recognized to open on the motion to overrule the Chair, and the Chair would advise that everyone is allowed to speak if they choose so once on the motion to overrule the Chair.  Senator Kiel, you're recognized to open.


SENATOR KIEL:  Thank you, Mr. Chair.  Sorry, I was reading something else here.  My primary concern with whether or not this is germane to the ...  this is an act relating to budget and taxation, goes back to revised statutes, which is chapter 48 on labor and article (a), which is Commission of Industrial Relations.  I believe that, because we have put in the constitution that public employees may not strike and therefore created the Commission on Industrial Relations and put it ...  or put all issues regarding labor relations into that particular act that any amendment which attempts to go around issues relating to labor by putting it into an...  legislation that relates to budget and taxation is not germane.  The issue, primarily, is that we're looking to try and force CIR to establish different rules with regard to how they judge comparability, and because we're trying to attach it to a budget on...or excuse me, try to attach it to an act on budget and taxation, that therefore the amendment is not germane.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  I'm going to go through the list of lights that are on and if you choose to do that, you may speak and I'll punch your light off.  If you waive off I will keep your light on for debate on the amendment.  Senator Tyson.


SENATOR TYSON:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  The amendment that I am offering merely addresses how, in an...  (inaudible) ...  fashion, the judgments of the CIR are to be paid.  There is nothing in




my amendment that overrules a CIR judgment.  They have to be paid.  How they are paid when they are ...  when the city is subject to the lid is the subject of my amendment.  If they follow the rules laid down or the conditions laid down, as was passed out a number of days ago in this red sheet, if the CIR does follow the standards in the amendment in municipal cases, then restricted funds budgeted to pay for such judgments or orders would not be subject to the lid.  If the CIR does not follow the above standards, that I mentioned just before, in the municipal cases then restricted funds budgeted to pay for such judgments or orders would be subject to the lid.  So how the money comes is the subject of 989, which is the lid bill.  They can exceed the lid...  and here again, the action is to exceed the lid or not to exceed the lid, to be subject to it or not to be subject to it, that is the very essence of 989.  And therefore I would submit that an argument of germaneness does not apply here.  I support the ruling of the Chair and ask that every member vote to do so as well.  Thank you very much.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Hilgert, you waive off on the germaneness.  Senator Schimek, she waives off on the germaneness issue.  Senator Maurstad.


SENATOR MAURSTAD:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I rise to oppose the motion to overrule the Chair.  I think the Chair acted wisely.  As I start, I'd like to say, first of all ...  commend the members, and I think there are two, four, six, eight, ten members that had amendments that could have been filed to this motion for their judicious decision to go ahead, given the essence of time, and argue the Tyson amendment, take a vote on that, up or down, and then, depending on what occurs, move on from there.  I think that they have used their legislative experience wisely on the best way to dispose of this particular issue.  It's most unfortunate that we're having this discussion now on the germaneness issue.  And it's most unfortunate that we're having a motion to overrule the Chair when clearly anyone who looks at the amendment can see that it fits in with current statute and is clearly germane.  We are now, and I'm not going to use the five minutes, but I would ask that the Chair be supported and that we can move on with the discussion relative to the merits of the Tyson amendment.  It certainly is different than the bill that was introduced.  It's an issue that's been before this




Legislature before.  I think it is a reasonable attempt to compromise this issue and at least give the members an opportunity to act upon this in some way or another in this session.  But a germaneness motion now is nothing more than a waste of time.  So, Mr. President, I would ask that the body not support the motion to overrule the Chair and we move on with the discussion at hand.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Preister.  Senator Landis, on germaneness.  The question has been called.  Do I see five hands? I see five hands.  The question before the body is, shall debate cease? All those in favor vote aye; all those opposed vote nay.  Please record.


ASSISTANT CLERK:  26 ayes, 0 nays to cease debate, Mr. President.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Debate ceases.  Senator Kiel, you're recognized to Close on your motion to overrule the Chair.


SENATOR KIEL:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members of the Legislature.  I think it ...  hopefully members have focused on, at least in the short time that we've talked about this, whether or not this has to do with budget and taxation or whether or not it has to do with labor issues.  I think any time that we have a substantially different subject that's attempted to be amended into another bill, it's important to talk about whether or not it could even happen.  And with that I would withdraw my motion.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  It is withdrawn.  We're now back to debating the Tyson amendment.  Senator Hilgert.


SENATOR HILGERT:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members.  I rise to encourage the body to reject the Tyson amendment.  I, too...I was one of the four senators that voted it down in committee.  I did go and canvas the members that did vote against LB 1075 and, as Senator Abboud illuminated, none of us were asked to participate in the so-called negotiations.  I certainly believe that Senator Tyson tried to do that and did it.  He explained that he didn't have faith that the Business and Labor Committee was good to deal with or negotiate on.  I certainly take some objection to that based on the fact in the past, before I came,




the compromises that we re worked out regarding workers compensation in the state of Nebraska.  Since I came to the body, the compromise that was worked out over the last year and a half regarding unemployment compensation with the AFL-CIO and the State Chamber of Commerce.  We have been able to negotiate over time; spend some time, some energy, and come to where we can meet and get a compromise adopted.  So I take some objection to that, but certainly could understand, looking at the last few years' votes why Senator Tyson would choose not to be very optimistic regarding our involvement.  Senator Jones brought up that it would help the small towns.  Certainly Senator Schmitt addressed that issue.  If there are individuals, members of this body, that do not like 989, certainly this is a way to injure the bill itself.  If you don't like the idea of lid provisions and spending caps, then fine.  This would be, probably, a suitable amendment to help injure the bill.  I believe the proposal does make a mockery of the lid provisions.  I think it discourages collective bargaining.  I think it invites misuse and abuse of the Commission of Industrial Relations.  It invites cities and employees alike to misuse the commission for the sole purpose of obtaining an award from the CIR.  If you go to the CIR and get a judgment it's exempt.  If you negotiate in good faith and you don't go to the CIR, well, it's under the lids.  Why would anyone want to negotiate in good faith if this is adopted from here on out? It rewards nonnegotiation.  it rewards conflict.  It rewards going to the CIR in hopes that the CIR, which I don't believe has any...has to take judicial notice at all or any notice of this bill or these provisions, but as Senator Wickersham aptly put, to use the vernacular, it's a crap shoot.  If it falls under these criteria, well, then it's exempt.  Certainly the next year ...  and I agree with Senator Wickersham all the way.  I believe this is why this amendment perhaps is being backed by some, next year we'll come back and say, well, gee whillikers, the CIR is not following the provisions we set forth here.  We better make them do it.  It's a nose under the tent.  It's the first step.  There's certainly...  it's obvious what the end game is desired on here.  If you don't like LB 989 ...  I cosigned the bill, cosponsored the bill.  I think it's a good bill.  If you don't like the bill, just vote against it.  Let's not, perhaps, put a poison pill in it to injure it and also injure the credibility of the CIR process in the future.  So I would urge the body to not support




the Tyson amendment.  Thank you very much.




 SENATOR SCHIMEK:  Yes, thank you, Mr. President, members of the body.  I have a couple of other things that I would like to mention for your consideration, and Senator Wesely touched on this issue a bit.  But, you know, in the city of Lincoln, where I think a lot of the impetus for this bill probably came from, the firefighters have not had a raise since 1994.  And the .negotiations have been protracted.  It has gone on and on and the city has spent over $300,000 and higher.  Some estimate as high as a half a million dollars in fighting this.  And the interesting things is that once it got to the court they lost on every single issue.  They lost on every single issue before the commission, and they lost on every single issue before the supreme court.  And not only did they lose, but it was a unanimous decision.  I think that we have a situation here where we have a reaction to a particular situation that may not ...  the solution may not be applicable to all entities.  But my main point in rising again is to talk with you a little bit about the amendment itself, and I really have some serious questions about what some of this wording means.  If you will notice in section (a) of the amendment, it talks about comparison with any employer outside the state.  If you look on (b), it talks about comparisons with an employer in a municipality.  And if you'll look under (c), it talks about comparison with an employer in a municipality.  What does that mean? The original bill had a definition in it which defined "employer" as being one who was either in the public or private sector.  This amendment does not reference that definition at all, yet I think it could be read to mean any employer.  If that's what this amendment means, and I think we need to be very careful what we're doing here, if that's what this amendment means, then we are radically changing the whole CIR process.  And we are starting to compare, really and truly, compare apples to oranges.  I don't think that you can compare the job that a Lincoln Police Department employee has with a job that a security office in a private business has.  I just don't think they're comparable.  And if we're going to do that, then we ought to have a full discussion of it and people ought to know that that's what we are doing.  I also think that you could raise some constitutional issues regarding this




amendment because of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.  And I'm not an attorney and I won't try to be erudite on this, but I do believe that the effect of it would be to treat employees in the same Job differently.  And just think about this.  If you have a city employee who drives a snow plow and you have a county employee who drives a snow plow, they are going to be treated differently under the provisions of this act.  Now whether that's a good constitutional argument or not, I think that you would probably have to go to court to find out.  But I think there is at least that possibility.  I think that if we adopt this amendment that we are indeed endangering this bill.  I think that we are doing...  that we are adopting a policy that is not fully understood and I think that we again...  once again I have to make this argument, we -are violating the committee process.  If the committee had been presented with this amendment and had a chance to have any input into it and change it in any way, perhaps this would be something to discuss.  But it wasn't, and I would just urge that you defeat the Tyson...  excuse me, that you defeat the Tyson amendment this afternoon.  And with that, I would yield the rest of my time back to the Chair, Mr. Chairman.


SPEAKER KRISTENSEN:  Senator Preister.


SENATOR PREISTER:  Thank you, Honorable President.  I certainly can respect Senator Tyson's approach in trying to bring an issue to the floor that he admitted he knew would be defeated in the committee, and yet he chose to make the measure his priority bill in advance of that decision and then taking the attempt to amend it onto ...  or much of it as an amendment onto another bill.  It seems to me that we have a lot of government employees who are working out there and they are unable to strike and have no real recourse if they're isn't good collective bargaining that is done in good faith.  They have at their disposal a backup, an opportunity for at least some relief when it comes to negotiating on wages and benefits packages by going to the Court of...  the Commission.  Excuse me.  We often call it "court", but it is the Commission of Industrial Relations.  That was provided as an option back in 1947 when we changed our practices and said government employees couldn't strike.  That was no option.  They absolutely can't do that.  So over the course of years through case law, that system has been able to be defined and redefined




in terms of some predictability.  I think people on both sides of the issue have a fairly good understanding before they even go to the CIR in what the results are going to be.  That predictability, I think, is something that restricts easy access.  People think more closely before they even attempt to go to the CIR for that reason, but also because it's somewhat cumbersome.  I understand that it's expensive.  We heard some estimates between $300,000 and a half million dollars that the city of Lincoln spent, that kind of expense is something that neither the municipalities not the collective bargaining units are really that willing to expend unless they're either desperate or they're certain that they have a good case.  Senator Tyson did acknowledge some cases that went to the CIR.  some of them including the city of Bellevue, he said four times, may have all been the same issue I'm not aware of that.  But I don't think that the appeal to the CIR is something that just happens matter of factly by a collective bargaining unit or by a municipality.  I think currently there is some predictability.  I think currently it is a system that, perhaps, could use some improvements, although this approach going outside of the lid may not be the way to do that.  I would just call the members' attention to the comments of two different committee chairmen.  We heard from Senator Wickersham, the Chair of the Revenue Committee, and the approach that the Revenue Committee took in his opposition to this amendment.  We also heard from the Chair of the Business and Labor Committee, Senator Abboud, also taking a stand of opposition to this amendment.  When we have two different committees and two different committee chairs who think that this is not the right approach, I think that that's something to make note of and something for us to consider prior to our voting.  I stand in opposition to the amendment and would ask careful consideration of my colleagues before they vote for it and, in fact, would ask you to vote against the amendment.  I would yield whatever time may be remaining back to the Chair.




PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Thank you, Senator Preister.  Senator Landis.




PRESIDENT ROBAK:  The question has been called.  Do I see -five




hands? I see five hands.  The question before you is, shall debate cease? All those in favor vote aye; all those opposed vote nay.  Please record.


CLERK:  25 ayes, 0 nays to cease debate, Madam President.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Debate ceases.  The Chair recognizes Senator Tyson to close.


SENATOR TYSON:  Thank you, Madam President.  AM3769 is a very simple amendment, despite what has been said.  The amendment solves the problem of conflicting policies that this Legislature has mandated to cities.  On one hand, the Legislature has mandated lids for city budgets in an effort to require cities to be fiscally responsible and therefore reduced taxes.  This bill will lower the lid ever further.  On the other hand, the Legislature has mandated the use of the Commission on Industrial Relations to determine labor...  city labor disputes without defining how the CIR is to determine comparable wages.  Therefore an outside commission determines personnel costs that represent upwards of 70 percent, some cases as much as 82 percent without any statutory standards.  This amendment is a fair balance that refined, that reenforced and that reconciles both these policies.  Let me make it very clear on one point that I think everybody probably knows but I want to emphasize.  The CIR is a creature of the legislator.  The Legislature set it up, it is not a court, in the usual sense of the word, even though back in 1947 it was called a court.  This amendment sets out by statute three standards for the CIR to follow then determining city wages.  The CIR follows these standards.  The CIR decision will be exempt from the lid, as I pointed out before.  These standards are not new standards.  We've heard a lot about case law, this amendment maintains comparability.  The CIR is required to establish rates of pay that are comparable to the prevalent wage rates that are paid to employees for same or similar work.  Comparability is a fair standard, it's maintained in this amendment.  Each section of this, each standard is from prior precedence.  And you've all got a handout that shows what those case laws are.  Lincoln County Sheriff's Association, Local 46 v.  County of Lincoln, 1984, the CIR stated in Section 48-818, required comparison to be made from within the state, from 1947 to 1969.  This language was deleted in 1969 and




I would point out to you that it was deleted without any reference on the floor.  There was no discussion, not a single, word about that deletion, it was simply passed over.  Subsection (b) requires the CIR to compare any class of municipality with a municipality of not more than double, nor less than half.  Section C requires the CIR to compare any class of municipality within a metropolitan area were the metropolitan area not more than double, nor less than half.  Prior cases have held this to be an appropriate standard.  When choosing an array of comparable employers, this is a quote, "Under Section 48-818 we consider evidence of the relative size and proximity of proposed array members to the employer in question.  They meet the commissions criteria of relative size of half, to twice as large, and are within a reasonable geographic proximity to Red Cloud," and this is from the Red Cloud Education ion Association v.  School District of Red Cloud, and that's a CIR decision in 1989.  This is another quote, "The evidence shows that Lakewood is a suburb of Denver, Kansas City, Kansas ...




SENATOR TYSON:  ...  a suburb of Kansas et cetera, et cetera, because you've got this 3 case law in front of you on these handouts.  I would point out, Madam President, this amendment reenforces the public policy of the state of Nebraska in both the Lid Law and Municipal Labor Law.  As I have already stated, there's a contradictory policy concern here, this amendment addresses those concerns, and it is very good legislation.  Secondly, public policy, as stated in the CIR statutes, is to encourage labor settlements.  I hear a lot about this just prior.  Statutory requirements encourage voluntary negotiations, they don't discourage it.  By dis ...  when they discourage it, by not having standards set by the court or set by the CIR, you do have the crap shoot that some members of this body seem so fond of referring to.  A lack of consistency encourages litigation rather than voluntary negotiated settlements.  And this ...




SENATOR TYSON:  Thank you, Madam President.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Thank you, Senator Tyson.  Question before the




body is the adoption of the Tyson amendment to LB 989.  All those in favor vote aye; all those opposed vote nay.  There's been a request for a call of the house.  All those in favor vote aye; all those opposed vote nay.  Please record.


CLERK:  21 ayes, 0 nays, Madam President, to place the house under call.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  The house is under call.  Will senators please return to their seats and check in.  Will all unauthorized personnel please leave the floor.  The house is under call.  Senators, please check in.  Senator Jensen, Senator Willhoft, Senator Schrock, Senator Raikes, Senator Robinson, Senator Wehrbein, Senator Robak.  Senator Tyson, will you check in.  Senator Chambers and Senator Wesely, will you check in.  Senator Schrock.  Senator Chambers, will you check in, please.  Thank you.  We're waiting for Senator Schrock.  Senator Schimek, did you request a roll call vote? The question ...  the question before the body is the adoption of the Tyson amendment to LB 989.  Senator Schimek requested a roll call vote.  Mr. Clerk, please proceed.


CLERK:  (Roll call vote taken.  See page 1256 of the Legislative Journal.) 15 ayes, 24 nays on the amendment.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  The Tyson amendment fails.  I raise the call.  Items for the record, Mr. Clerk.


CLERK:  Madam President, items for the record.  New A bills.  (Read LB 1219A and LB 1176A by title for the first time.) And Enrollment and Review reports LB 1108 as correctly engrossed.  Senator Hillman has amendments to (LB) 1073 to be printed.  (See pages 1256-63 of the Legislative Journal.) The next amendment to 989, Senator Preister, AM3866.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Chair recognizes Senator Preister.


SENATOR PREISTER:  Thank you, Honorable President.  Mr. Speaker, I would like to withdraw that and any further amendments that I have pending.




PRESIDENT ROBAK:  The Preister amendment is withdrawn.


CLERK:  Senator Schimek, AM3858.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Chair recognizes Senator Schimek.


SENATOR SCHIMEK:  Yes, you may withdraw both of my amendments,


Senator Dierks, Madam Chairman.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  The Schimek amendments are withdrawn.


CLERK:  Senator Lynch, (AM)3861.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator Lynch.


SENATOR LYNCH:  Madam Chairman, I'd also withdraw the two amendments I have pending on 989.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  The Lynch amendments are withdrawn.


CLERK:  Senator Hilgert, (AM)3875.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator Hilgert.


SENATOR HILGERT:  All of my amendments filed on 989, 1 ask for withdrawal, please.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  The amendments are withdrawn.


CLERK:  Senator Will, (AM)3674.  (See page 1036 of the Legislative Journal.)


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Chair recognizes Senator Will.


SENATOR WILL:  Thank you, Madam President, members of the body.  This amendment, AM3674, applies in a very narrow area.  it applies to funds of the city of a metropolitan class.  What it would do is affect the way that interest money from invested funds is allocated.  Currently, the Omaha City Carter allows those funds to go to the funds from which they came or to the General Fund, but state law currently requires those funds to go to the sinking funds of the city, which in effect designates




those funds simply for bonded indebtedness as opposed to general operations of the city.  What this would do is allow the city to put those funds into, as I stated, either the funds from which they came, or General Funds, and allow a little more latitude when the city is budgeting as opposed to just simply putting them into funds for bonded indebtedness.  I don't believe that it goes, contrary to any of the concepts involved with LB 989, of which I am a cosponsor.  I would ask the body to adopt it.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Thank you, Senator Will.  Senator Coordsen.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Question of Senator Will, if he'd respond, please.






SENATOR COORDSEN:  Did this issue exist in bill form some time this session?


SENATOR WILL:  Senator Coordsen, I could not tell you whether it did or not.  I did not introduce it myself, I believe, and I'm not sure whether it was brought in bill form or not.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Well, the reason I ask that, I know what it says, but I don't know, without a public hearing, what the ramifications might be.  I know it only applies to the city of Omaha as it's drafted.  Is that correct?


SENATOR WILL:  That's correct.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Okay, thank you.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Thank you, Senator.  Senator Chambers.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Madam President, members of the Legislature, being a resident of Omaha, I'm skeptical and suspicious of anything that comes from that city.  So I have to ask Senator Will a...  some questions.








SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Senator Will, just what does this do? I don't mean in terms of what you said about putting it in some kind of fund or other.  Tell me what this does and why it's needed?


SENATOR WILL:  I think what it does, Senator Chambers, and I do need to reiterate what I said, just to make clear in my own mind and hopefully in yours what this does is currently the state law requires money that has been invested by the city to ...  and the interest that comes back on that money, to go into what is called a Sinking Fund.  And that is a fund that is designated for basically repaying debts, as opposed to an Operating Fund.  The Omaha City Charter, right now, would designate, as currently constituted, designates this money I think as the city sees fit.  What this bill would do, what this amendment would do is say that, yes, you can operate by your own city charter, you can put this money into ongoing operations, you could put it back into the funds from where it came.  And I think what the...  fundamentally it would free up some more funds for the city to have a greater latitude in the way that they conduct their affairs.  I think that's the ...  that's the essence of it.  I don't think it's very complex, but I think that's what it would do.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Well, Senator Will, the statute now would not allow this to be done, is that true?


SENATOR WILL:  That is correct, Senator Chambers, and that's the reason for the amendment that I'm offering.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  And this money, without this amendment that you're offering, could be used only to retire indebtedness that the city has?


SENATOR WILL:  That's my understanding.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  And with this amendment, the money could be used for operational purposes, spent for anything, in other words, that the city might be allowed to spend money for under




the law?


SENATOR WILL:  Yes, weirs talking of operations, street repairs, things of that type that are in the ongoing operations of the city.  That's my understanding.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  So what is the amount of money per year that we could expect to be affected by this amendment?


SENATOR WILL:  If I recall correctly, the last figures I saw were about between 5 and $5.5 million a year.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  So money that now would be guaranteed to be there, to pay off the cities indebtedness, would be made available for a mayor to buy ...  put into helicopters, or dog patrols for the police, or anything that that mayor chose and could get the city council to agree with, is that true?


SENATOR WILL:  Hypothetically, yes.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Why do you say, hypothetically? That would be the fact, wouldn't it, that...


SENATOR WILL:  Well, it would, and I'm not....  The reason I say hypothetically is because I don't know that that's the purposes that it would go for.  But if that proposal would come up and the mayor backed that proposal, and the council approved it, yes, this would be money that would be out there for that purpose.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Would a part of the cities indebtedness include judgments against the city obtained in a court of law?


SENATOR WILL:  It certainly could, Senator Chambers.  I'm not sure exactly how the city of Omaha structures the way that it pays off, if they budget for that directly, or if they go into indebtedness, but it could.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Who asked you to bring this bill specifically, this amendment?


SENATOR WILL:  The ...  the lobbyist for the city of Omaha.




SE14ATOR CHAMBERS:  Did he say whether it was the city...  the administration, meaning the mayor, or the city council, or both together? Did he say...


SENATOR WILL:  He did not indicate specifically...




SENATOR WILL:  ...  specifically, but my ...  my experience is that usually these are initiatives of the city council.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Well, are you sure of that?




SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Are there some initiatives he brought down here which the mayor initiated?


SENATOR WILL:  I don't know that for a fact, Senator Chambers, I would not want to put that on the record, but I would not be surprised.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Thank you.  Members of the Legislature, since I live in Omaha, I hope you will listen as much to what I suggest as you did Senator Will.  Senator Will in all of his speaking has not given one reason why this ought to be done.  Whereas anybody might be able to fashion circumstances that could arise which would make it unwise to do this, Omaha, as far as I know, cannot show that they have been hindered in any way by the law being what it is today.  So here is what I propose, I have not said anything on...






PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator Chambers.




PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Your time is up, but you may continue.




SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Thank you.  Senator Will, I can now ask you a question because my time was too short the first time I spoke to continue.  So now I want to ask you some more questions.




SENATOR CHAMBERS:  What problem that Omaha has experienced is this change in the law designed to address?


SENATOR WILL:  I think the fact is, Senator Chambers, that they maintain in their City Charter provisions that are contrary to state law, which obviously state law overrides at that point.




SENATOR WILL:  And they would like to be able to exercise their charter as it is currently designed, as opposed to the way that state law would have them do it, which is something that we see all the time with respect to various state departments that have regulations that conflict with state law, and they come to the Legislature and try to get us to change the law.  I think this would fall within that category.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Senator Will, we're dealing with the fiscal health of a city and a mayor who sometimes behaves in a way that seems to be deranged, and a city council which sometimes goes along like the peanut gallery, and by a split vote will nevertheless support what he does.  So I want to ask you this question, aside from saying that the City Charter conflicts with state law, and we want you and the city of Omaha, whoever those officials are want to submerge the state law in the City Charter.  Aside from that, what reason can you give that is compelling that would show why we should do this?


SENATOR WILL:  The compelling reason that I would give, Senator Chambers, is that when faced with the type of restrictions that the state is placing upon local subdivisions, and given some of the financial crunches that these subdivisions are facing, and Omaha, I think you would agree, has some unique needs as far as funding occurs, that any funds that can be made available for possible services that may be needed, ought to be freed up.




That would be the argument that I would give you.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Senator Will, when these restrictions, or limitations, or lids, as they may be called, are imposed, is the imposition designed to cause the cities to try to find ways to circumvent or evade those limitations, or are they placed to restrict the amount of spending that a city might do or cause them to be more prudent in their spending?


SENATOR WILL:  Senator Chambers, I think that the answer is multifaceted.  I think that, number one, yes, it is designed ...  these restrictions are designed to make cities be more prudent, counties be more prudent, school districts be more prudent, hopefully find ways to consolidate operations to...


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  But it's not to do what you're talking about doing here today.


SENATOR WILL:  Well, I think, it's also, from the cities perspective, certainly designed to make them be a little more creative in the way that they provide the services that they can.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  But we're not city officials, we're state officials.  From our perspective, our interest, and I don't support a lot of those lid bills, but our interest as a state is not to encourage the city to find a way around those lids or limitations, is it?


SENATOR WILL:  Not necessarily, but since cities are creatures of the state and our statutes govern the way that they operate, I think they can bring measures, such as this, to us for our consideration.  And it's up to us to evaluate their merit.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  And consideration doesn't mean we accept it, does it?


SENATOR WILL:  Not if I don't get 25 votes.  (Laugh.)


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  We're considering it now, aren't we, by discussing it.  We're thinking about it, talking about it and arguing about it.  That constitutes consideration, doesn't it?






SENATOR WILL:  Absolutely.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Now, if this is not passed, what will happen to the city of Omaha? What damage will be done to the city of Omaha?


SENATOR WILL:  The buildings will crumble and the streets will fall into the gutters.  (Laughter.)


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  (inaudible), I know I'm against this thing passing now.  (Laughter.) Members of the Legislature, my light is on, and it will be my third time, so I will wait until that time comes before I complete what I have to say, because I have an offer that I don't think you're going to be able to refuse.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Thank you, Senator Chambers.  Senator Will.


SENATOR WILL:  Yeah, I just wanted to clarify.  Senator Chambers has elucidated virtually all the information that I have to offer as far as arguments go on this bill.  He may have other things that he would like to talk about.  But there are several different funds that the city of Omaha has, and specifically regarding your -question about judgment, Senator Chambers, there is a specific Judgment Fund, there is a specific Judgment Fund, funded out of property taxes.  That is something that is budgeted for in the city government.  So that answers your question as far as that goes.  That does not come out-, my understanding is, out of bonded indebtedness.  So, just to clarify that as far as your question went.  And, with that, in order to save time, if at all possible, I would give you the rest of my time for you to continue your discussion of the bill.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Senator Will, stay on your feet, if you will.  If there is not enough money in that so called Judgment Fund to pay a judgment, what will the city do then?


SENATOR WILL:  I think at that point they simply would ...  they would probably pay from other funds that they have, and then come back and allocate that, much as we do when we overspend in




different areas and come back for deficit appropriations.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  So then, even without changing where this money will go, this interest money, Omaha does have other funds it can dip into for emergencies right now.  Isn't that true?


SENATOR WILL:  As far as my ...  my ...  my understanding, Senator Chambers, I need to make sure that you understand my understanding of the city budget process is not exact at all.  But my understanding is that there is the ability to shift funds around, just as we do here at the legislative level.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Thank you, Senator Will.  Members of the Legislature, if you decide to put Omaha into this bill, then 989 becomes my target.  I have left it alone, but these kind of serious, what I consider radical changes in the way business is done in Omaha with this amount of money, and changing where this interest money goes should not be done at this stage.  This is Select File.  There was no hearing on this.  It was not a bill, nobody was given an opportunity to talk about it.  And I just happen to be from Omaha and paid a little bit of attention, so you can add this amendment if you want to, but then we're going to battle until the cows come home on 989.  1 was under the assumption that this was an important bill on its own.  Even though I supported Senator Tyson's amendment, I was not one who draped a whole lot of amendments on this bill.  But nobody seemed to be upset and offended when others from Omaha draped amendments on it.  So, if you adopt this amendment, call me "Ernie the Drapier", if that's what you call somebody who makes drapes and hangs them, but that's exactly what I propose to do.  This amendment is not necessary.  Omaha does not need this, and a lot of cock and bull comes out of that city, and they have no respect for this Legislature.  They think anything that they bring down here and give to some senator to talk about, some senator will take it and try to make it seem feasible and reasonable.  Maybe you all think it is, I don't.  If this was such an important issue with Omaha, why didn't they have it drafted as a bill? They bring bills that are stupid down here, which I think this is, by the way.  So the mere fact that it's stupid hasn't stopped them from putting it into bills before.  But I think what they thought was that this is going to be one of those afternoons when people are going to be drowsy, not




paying attention, that I would have been worked to a frazzle and couldn't pay attention to what's happening.  Well, the last couple of days the Legislature has been on automatic pilot and I haven't had to say anything, so I'm spoiling...




SENATOR CHAMBERS:  ...a fight now.  But this is a fight the Legislature doesn't have to get into.  And I hope you will not adopt this amendment that Senator Will is offering.  He has not given a single, not a single substantive argument justifying this.  I'm sure that every city would like to say, well, we can ...  the lid hurts us, so we want you to change the law so whatever we pass as an ordinance will take priority over the law, because it conflicts with what we want to do.  Senator Will says the charter is different from the state law.  Well, we know the state law is supreme, and in this instant it ought to stay that way.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator Chambers, your light is next.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Madam President, members of the Legislature, somebody once said, I know a joke about a chicken, but I'm not point to pull-it.  (Laugh.) Senator Will has had me doing all of this work, so I'm going to ask him a question.  Senator Will., wilt thou respond to a question?






SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Senator Will, what is your intention with reference to this amendment?


SENATOR WILL:  Senator Chambers, given the obvious problems that you have with this amendment, and I do regard LB 989 as an important bill, I'm cosponsor of it, I didn't think the amendment was that big a deal.  But, you asked my intention and I'll tell you.  I would like to close on the amendment and give a short explanation and I would...  if you'd give me some time, I'll do it right now.




SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Yes, Madam President and members of the Legislature ...  members of the Legislature and members of the Legislature, in the interest of collegiality, I would like to yield whatever time I have remaining to Senator Will.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator Will, there are four minutes remaining.


SENATOR WILL:  Thank you, Madam President.  Thank you, Senator Chambers.  members of the body, I brought this amendment.  I assume the amendment was almost verging on housekeeping.  Obviously, that is not the opinion of all the members of the body.  Senator Chambers, obviously, has some problems with it, and he says ha's spoiling for a fight and so am 1, but not on this amendment.  So with that, I would withdraw it.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  The amendment is withdrawn.


CLERK:  Madam President, Senator Coordsen would move to amend with AM4057.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  The Chair recognizes Senator Coordsen to open on his amendment.


SENATOR COORDSEN:  Thank you, Madam President and members of the body.  This again is a partially clarifying, partially an oversight on the past ...  on the part of -those of us in the Revenue Committee, and it is on...  although it was filed probably not very long ago, it is on the machine.  And I think it would probably be most appropriate if I did read because it has to do with how lease-purchase contracts for municipalities are handled if there's not been a payment on that contract as yet, or there is a contract as yet planned for this year, lease-purchase contract, has not been signed or the final details have not been put in place.  And from the standpoint of municipalities, those funds that go to pay these are underneath of the restricted funds for the purposes of the budget limitations.  So what we're saying in this amendment is that restricted funds budgeted to pay for lease-purchase contracts approved on or after July 1, 1997, last July, and before July 1, 1998, this July, to extend...  to the extent the lease-payments are not budgeted restricted funds for the fiscal year 97-98, they can be added on




to the General Fund operating expenditures for this year, for the purposes of calculating the amount of General Fund budget availability under the lid for 98-99.  And it says something similar in section 2 for the schools in Nebraska in that it provides an exception that expenditures to pay for lease-purchase contracts approved on or after July 1, 1997 and before July 1, 1998, to the extent the lease payments are not budgeted expenditures for the fiscal year 97-98, and that is an exception to the lid for schools which is a continuation of the policy that we've had in place.  So to recap what was probably mostly gobbledegook, it says that payments ...  lease-purchase contracts, that where the first payment will be probably due next year, are allowed for the purposes of budget limitations, if the contracts are completed before and signed and valid before July 1, 1998, and the same thing for schools.  With that, I would urge the adoption of this amendment to 989, Madam President.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Thank you, Senator.  Senator, your light is on.  Do you wish to continue speaking? Senator Wickersham.


SENATOR WICKERSHAM:  Thank you, Madam President and members of the body.  I want to rise briefly and indicate my support for the amendment that Senator Coordsen has brought.  I believe it will ease some concerns about the treatment of lease-purchase contracts, and that it is consistent with our past practices for those kinds of agreements.  As you know, when we passed the limitations axe, we were concerned that we allow provisions for capital expenditures, that we did not wish various political subdivisions to be making shortsighted decisions and that we needed to provide relief in some respects for those long-term decisions that are represented by...  in part by lease-purchase contracts.  So I do support Senator Coordsen's amendment and hope that it'll be adopted by the body.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Thank you, Senator Wickersham.  Is there any further discussion of the Coordsen amendment? Seeing none.  Senator Coordsen to close.  Closing is waived.  The question before you is the adoption of the Coordsen amendment to LB 989.  All those in favor vote aye; all those opposed vote nay.  Please record.




CLERK:  28 ayes, 0 nays, Madam President, on the adoption of Senator Coordsen's amendment.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  The Coordsen amendment is adopted.


CLERK:  I have nothing further on the bill, Madam President.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator Bruning.


89NATOR BRUNING:  I move LB 909 to E & R for engrossing.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Is there any discussion? Seeing none, the question before you is the advancement of LB 989.  All those in favor say aye.  All those opposed nay.  LB 989 advances.  LB 1229.


CLERK:  (LB) 1229, E & R amendments first of all, Senator.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Senator Bruning.


SENATOR BRUNING:  Madam President, I move we adopt the E a R amendments for LB 1229.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  Question before you is the adoption of the E & R amendments to LB 1229.  All those in favor say aye.  All those opposed nay.  The E & R amendments are adopted.


CLERK:  Senator Bohlke would move to amend.


PRESIDENT ROBAK:  The Chair recognizes Senator Chris Peterson to open on the Bohlke amendment.  (See AM3685 to LB 1229 on page 1264 of the Legislative Journal.)


SENATOR C.  PETERSON:  Yes, Madam Chairman, members of the body.  The amendment that Senator Bohlke has asked to withdraw and has substituted Amendment 3936, and so I would like to do just a little bit of background information for you on this.  Currently, the state of Nebraska does three scholarship funds.  They fund the SAP, the SSAP and the PEAP, and all of those have the same qualifications for students to apply for those funds.  Last year, LB 476, which was a bill on uniform licensing on Final Reading, was changed to add the term, "regional," to the