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As a postscript to the final Legislative Bulletin sent April 20, we wanted to update municipal officials on the fate of LB 873, which was passed on the last day of the 2018 session.

LB 873 is a Chapter 19 “clean-up” bill that makes changes to correct terminology, clarify references to legal newspapers, correct internal and statutory references and replace antiquated language. The standing committee amendment to LB 873 contained the provisions of six additional bills, including LB 854, introduced by Sen. Dan Quick of Grand Island, that expanded the current law to allow any municipality to create a land bank.

On April 23, Gov. Pete Ricketts sent a letter to the Legislature stating that he did not sign the bill. In his veto letter, Gov. Ricketts stated that he was not in favor of the “dramatic expansion of the use of land banks.” The Governor went on to say that “a land bank is yet another layer of government that is vested with exceptionally broad powers. Land banks can issue debt without a vote of the people. Members of the land bank are not elected by the public nor are decisions made by the land bank subject to the public hearing process of a city council or village board….” The last line of the veto letter states that “there has not been a need demonstrated to expand the vast powers of a land bank to other areas of our state.”

On the same day as the veto letter, Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne issued a press release in response saying that “contrary to the Governor’s assertion that there has not been a need demonstrated for the use of land banks outside of the Omaha area, numerous Nebraska communities have expressed the need for this important tool during the course of the legislative session, including the cities of Crawford, Grand Island, Norfolk, Kearney, Lexington, Lincoln, Ord and Red Cloud.”

The Urban Affairs Committee is planning public hearings around the state on LR 400, an interim study introduced by Sen. Quick, that will examine issues related to the Municipal Land Bank Act. The League will update municipalities on when the public hearings on LR 400 are scheduled.

League of Nebraska Municipalities 1335 L Street Lincoln, NE 68508 402-476-2829