Invoice to assist Gage County pay federal civil rights judgment, clears first spherical

BEATRICE – A bill that would raise funds to help Gage County pay off a massive federal civil rights ruling of over $ 30 million has advanced to the second round in the second round of Nebraska legislation.

Senator Myron Dorn changed the bill to provide $ 4 million in government funding over two fiscal years. This represents a reduction of $ 10 million proposed in a committee amendment proposed by Senator Steve Erdman at the committee hearing of the bill. LB 103 then advanced with 35-3 votes. Dorn thanked Erdman for suggesting higher government funding, but decided to reduce the amount.

“In the end, I had to make up my mind and decide what is the best chance for the state of Nebraska to raise some of the funds for the appropriation problems we all have this year.” Situation that Gage County is in. “

The vote followed a long debate on an amendment by Senator Mike Groene, who argued that the state should also provide financial assistance to resolve a solution to the Republican River Pact that cost irrigation equipment through a fee of $ 10 per acre. Groene introduced the amendment to clarify one point but withdrew it from consideration.

Gage County has so far paid a total of approximately $ 14.2 million to six people wrongly convicted in the 1985 murder and rape of Helen Wilson. The county still has about $ 16.77 million to pay using a combination of property tax funding and revenue from a half-cent statewide sales tax approved in a Dorn bill that became law.

“Gage County has maxed out the property tax levy required by the ruling. They added an extra half a cent sales tax. They have resigned themselves to insurance carriers. The county and its residents went out of their way to pay this federal ruling for tax purposes.” Now the county and its people have no options. You are also at the end of the financial rope. Today on LB 103 I am asking the state of Nebraska for assistance in paying this federal judgment. If any political subdivision faced a federal ruling that is more than three times its annual property tax levy, it would bring the company to a breaking point. “

Dorn received ample support from colleagues for the bill. Many who came to the conclusion that the state contribution would actually bring about a relief in property tax. Among the supporters was Revenue Committee Chairman Senator Lou Ann Linehan.

“When I was growing up we went to Beatrice … when we went out to eat. We went to Beatrice when we went to the movies, I grew up there. This was a tragedy that hit Gage County very hard. I think this is a situation that the state should step in. And I definitely think this is a situation where we need to remember that we are the House of Lords … and we shouldn’t just do things on our part I think that’s really important on this matter … because any of us could be in that boat. “

The change to reduce government funding to a total of $ 2 million over the next two fiscal years was passed 37-2 before LB 103 entered the second round.

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