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Ricketts signs bills into law

Among 18 bills passed by the Legislature and signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Pete Ricketts were the Automatic License Plate Reader Privacy Act (LB93), and a bill (LB377) that would eliminate three of Nebraska's six school classifications.

The state classifies districts based on organizational structure and size for purposes of writing and applying laws and regulations, and the change would classify all public schools as either a Class III, Class IV or Class V school district.

The six school classifications, not to be confused with classifications for athletic teams determined by the Nebraska School Activities Association, were implemented in 1949 when Nebraska had more than 6,500 school districts. Only 245 districts exist now. The 18 Class II school districts automatically become Class III school districts upon the effective date of the bill.

School bus permit fee

Nebraska school bus drivers will no longer have to pay a $5 annual permit fee to the state under another bill signed by Ricketts.

Ricketts announced Wednesday he had signed the measure into law as part of a larger occupational licensing package. The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles says it issued approximately 4,900 school bus permits in 2016.

The bill by Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln doesn't change any requirements imposed by the Nebraska Department of Education. Drivers will still have to undergo drug and alcohol testing, behind the wheel training and criminal background checks.

School income tax

Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln presented the Revenue Committee with a proposal (LB911) that would allow local school boards to ask voters to approve a local income surtax not to exceed 20 percent as a means of providing school property tax reduction and to "spread costs across taxpayers based on income."

 

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State government reporter

JoAnne Young covers state government, including the Legislature and state agencies, and the people they serve.

Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

Higher education reporter

Chris Dunker covers higher education, state government and the intersection of both.

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