THE THREE BRANCHES
OTHER CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICES
Specific duties for each of these offices are not articulated in Nebraska’s Constitution, so the information here is based on descriptions provided by each officer on their websites. Areas of responsibility, according to the officers themselves and additional sources, are based on some state statutes, historically accepted standards, and practices established by previous holders of these offices in Nebraska. The Auditor of Public Accounts appears to have duties which are more specifically rooted in the Constitution and statutes than the other offices.
While this office’s description may be shorter than the others here, that shouldn’t be interpreted as an indicator of it’s importance. The Secretary of State is responsible for elections, registration of businesses, international relations, youth civic programs, and the office is the official repository and manager of state documents.
The Constitutional power to audit all state fiscal activity. Established by statutes, the Auditor has a lengthy list of duties, which include auditing all state agencies, boards, bureaus, and commissions, annually audit certain political subdivisions (e.g. educational service units); establish uniform accounting systems for counties and uniform budgeting for all political subdivisions; central filing for public bonds; set audit standards and issue audit guidelines for all auditors of political subdivision; conduct investigations of government waste, fraud and mismanagement; conduct performance audits; and report potential problems to the State Legislature.
Responsible for receipting all monies received and disbursing all funds paid by the state government; overseeing the Mutual Finance Assistance Program (fire protection, emergency response, training); managing a repository for unclaimed and abandoned money and personal assets (bank accounts, uncashed checks, death benefits, etc.) and returning it to the rightful owners; serving as trustee of the state’s 529 College Savings Plan; administering the Nebraska Long-Term Care Savings Plan; and maintaining the public information website about Nebraska government spending.
StateSpending.nebraska.gov (Formerly NebraskaSpending.gov)
A project started by former Treasury Secretary Shane Osborn and expanded under current Treasurer Don Stenberg’s tenure (took office 2010). This public information site attempts to present information about state government money in a visual and interactive manner. The basics, and more, are covered: Where does Nebraska get money? How does Nebraska spend money?
In addition to providing current information, history since the site was put online is compiled, allowing for more in-depth comparisons across the past five years, and at least basic information going back to approximately the year 2000. Additional information, including links to the original sources used for the charts and graphs are provided. We recommend that all Nebraskans take a moment to visit this site from time to time.
Responsible for representing the State of Nebraska in all legal matters – civil and criminal – and upholding and defending the Constitution and laws of the state. The Attorney General issues legal opinions on existing statutes and proposed legislation, usually following the request of elective office holders, state agencies, boards or commissions.
MORE STATE GOVERNMENT
Since there are so very many state agencies, commissions, and boards, we may never be able to concisely cover them on this page. While we may tackle the project of organizing something encompassing that bulk in a digestible manner at some point, for now, we’ll start by adding a few of the government entities that we’ve come across in our research and find particularly interesting (worth scrutinizing further, containing significant information of interest to citizens, etc.). Also included here are some resources of general interest.
State of Nebraska Official Website – Main Page
The main portal for the state, particularly in its iteration as of the most recent update to this page (see bottom), is rather unnecessarily cluttered. Perhaps the SITE MAP is more useful.
This commission is responsible for administering and enforcing Nebraska’s statutes pertaining to campaign finance, lobbying, and public officials’ conflict of interest. The website serves as the official repository of required financial disclosure filings for elected officials, registration of candidate and political action committees, and lobbyist registration and reporting.
Based on our experiences in researching public policy in Nebraska, many disparate indicators point toward the considerable and increasing influence of campaign donations / donors, lobbying interests, and raise frequent questions about conflicts of interest. Finding explanations requires the information provided by the NADC.
While we heartily urge citizens to scrutinize these issues more carefully, procuring this information requires persistence. Compared to the same information one can obtain about federal elected officials, and from similar entities in others states, we find the NADC website woefully lacking – a matter that requires action in and of itself.
Last updated: October 19, 2014