RNUL, Rule 8

Rules of the Nebraska
Unicameral Legislature

RULE 8 – APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS

Section 1.  Purpose. The purpose of this rule is to provide a procedure for the Legislature to develop appropriations for all state agencies, boards, and commissions. Such procedure shall consider the need to (1) continue the services and financial assistance provided by state agencies and programs, (2) restrict the growth in state appropriations, and (3) provide for the efficient and effective use of state revenue by utilizing standing committee subject-matter expertise in the review of agency, board, and commission budget requests.

Sec. 2.  Appropriations Committee Report. The Legislature's Appropriations Committee, by majority vote of its members, shall annually prepare a report summarizing the preliminary total General Fund appropriation recommendations for each year of the following biennium. Such report shall include information based upon the committee's initial review of (1) state agency, board, and commission budget requests, (2) the Governor's budget, (3) the estimated revenue receipts for each year of the following biennium, (4) General Fund reserve requirements, (5) express obligations, (6) legislation that would be required to enable recommended appropriations, and (7) economic conditions affecting the State of Nebraska.

Sec. 3.  Report, When Required. The report required in Section 2 of this rule shall be printed in the Legislative Journal and presented to each member of the Legislature by the Chairperson of the Appropriations Committee between twenty and thirty legislative days after the Governor presents his or her budget during sessions in odd-numbered years and between fifteen and twenty legislative days after the Governor's budget presentation during session in even-numbered years.

Sec. 4.  Standing Committee Appropriations Review. (a) Each standing committee may hold a budget request review hearing on the agency, board, and commission budgets reasonably encompassed in its subject-matter jurisdiction. Any such review hearing shall not be held until the Appropriations Committee has held its public hearing on that agency, board, or commission. The chairperson of the standing committee shall coordinate the scheduling of such hearings with the Chairperson of the Appropriations Committee. The standing committee shall obtain a determination from the Executive Board that the budget to be reviewed is within its subject-matter jurisdiction. The standing committee may recommend to the Legislature amendments to proposed appropriations.

(b) Standing committee amendments, if any, must be filed by the sixth legislative day following the placement of appropriations bills on General File. Standing committee amendments shall be printed in the Journal and shall be considered by the Legislature no sooner than the eighth legislative day following the placement of the appropriations bills on General File. Standing committee amendments shall be considered by the Legislature after Appropriations Committee amendments but before all other amendments. Standing committee amendments shall be considered in the order of filing.

(c) The Appropriations Committee shall make available to the appropriate standing committee all currently available information at its disposal.

Sec. 5.  Bills, Held on Final Reading. The report of the Appropriations Committee shall include a recommended dollar amount of the General Fund biennium appropriation which shall be allocated for the funding of "A" bills, bills that result in the net reduction of revenue to the General Fund, tax expenditure bills, and amendments to the appropriations bills as reported to General File by the Appropriations Committee. During a 90 day session, all "A" bills which, when considered with their companion bill, appropriate general funds resulting in a net loss; all bills resulting in the reduction of revenue to the General Fund; and all tax expenditure bills shall not be read on Final Reading until the appropriations bills are passed by the Legislature. Provided the Appropriations Committee shall place appropriations bills on General File no later than the 70th legislative day in a 90 day session and the 40th legislative day in a 60 day session. If this deadline is not met, the Legislature shall consider the appropriations bills as introduced by the Governor. During a 60 day session, all "A" bills which, when considered with their companion bill, appropriate general funds resulting in a net loss; all bills resulting in the reduction of revenue to the General Fund; all tax expenditure bills; and all appropriations bills shall not be read on Final Reading prior to the 45th legislative day. The appropriations bills shall be passed no later than the 80th legislative day in a 90 day session and the 50th legislative day in a 60 day session. The appropriations provided for in an "A" bill shall be for not less than two fiscal years.

Sec. 6.  Bill, Setting Tax Rates. The Legislature's tax rate bill shall be passed no later than the 85th legislative day in a 90 day session and the 55th legislative day in a 60 day session.

Sec. 7.  Financial Status Report. Beginning with the legislative day following the reporting of the appropriations bills to General File, there shall be attached to the daily agenda of the Legislature a General Fund Financial Status, prepared by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst under the supervision of the Chair of the Appropriations Committee. The Financial Status shall include current estimates of beginning funds available, plus estimated revenue, less the Appropriations Committee recommended budget and express obligations for the biennial period under consideration, to arrive at the calculated variance from the minimum reserve for the General Fund as specified by law. The Financial Status shall also include a listing of other legislation on Select File and Final Reading, and Speaker's Major Proposals on General File that would deduct from or add to General Funds available above the minimum reserve requirement, should the bills pass. In addition to data for the budget period under consideration, the Financial Status shall include data for the ensuing two years following the biennial budget period. Such data shall consist of projections of available balances, annual net receipts, and annual expenditures, based on the assessment of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst of the provisions of current law as it may relate to projected revenues and expenditures. Prior to attaching the first Financial Status to the agenda, the data and the assumptions for the ensuing years beyond the budget biennium and methods for arriving at estimates shall be reviewed by the Chair and the Vice Chair of the Appropriations and Revenue committees and shall be approved by a majority of the membership of each such committee. Upon mutual agreement by the Chairs of the Appropriations Committee and Revenue Committee, the projections may be reconsidered pursuant to the provisions of this section.

 
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