Nebraska advances higher fees to fund judge retirements

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Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 1:54 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Court fees that help pay for Nebraska judge retirement benefits could double from $6 to $12 by 2025 under a bill advanced Wednesday by state lawmakers.

Lawmakers gave the measure first-round approval with a 35-5 vote, despite criticism from some senators that the increase would disproportionately affect low-income people who become involved in the court system through criminal charges or lawsuits.

The measure would gradually increase the fees each year to generate revenue for the slightly underfunded state retirement fund for judges.

Supporters said Nebraska’s retirement plan and other benefits are necessary to help the state recruit high-quality judges, many of whom could make much more money as private practice attorneys.

Some opponents of the bill questioned why Nebraska isn’t using general-fund dollars, which are paid by all residents in the form of taxes.

Two additional votes are required before the bill goes to Gov. Pete Ricketts.

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