Lawmakers pass budget adjustments, other measures
t’s almost over. The 106th Legislature Second Session, that is.
Not the Year 2020 which has, by any measure, been one long and winding road marred by a worldwide pandemic and unprecedented levels of racial unrest. Don’t even mention a presidential election!
The session was interrupted in March and the last 17 days were finally convened in July thanks to the coronavirus precautions that have gripped Nebraska and the rest of the world.
Through it all, lawmakers have managed to accomplish their one constitutionally assigned task – adopting a budget – and actually pass other measures which impact everyone from the folks who grow dry peas and lentils to the young people who are incarcerated at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers.
Budget adjustments were adopted after careful consideration of the coronavirus impact on the state economy – a floating target at this point. Most “experts” think Nebraska will fare better than other states. The adjustments were in appropriations for state operations, aid and construction programs in the current and next fiscal year.
The budget package also: transfers $10 million to the Rural Workforce Housing Investment Fund; provides a $3.7 million increase in developmental disability provider rates; appropriates an additional $1.5 million to aid local public health departments; appropriates $250,000 to the Nebraska State Patrol crime lab for timely processing of sexual assault forensic evidence; and $458,000 over two years to the state Supreme Court to increase staffing for youth problem-solving courts.
The budget adjustments also transfer $60 million from the Governor’s Emergency Cash Fund to the state’s Cash Reserve Fund and allow payment of claims against the state including $66 million in state agency write-offs for various uncollectable debts.
Lawmakers said “no” to a request by Omaha Sen. Tony Vargas to introduce a measure that would require the state’s meat packing plants to institute more safety measures to protect workers against the coronavirus. Vargas’ father in New York State died of the virus in
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