AGO Opinion 98035
Deadline for Filing of County Petitions Seeking Adjustments to Classes or Subclasses of Property Under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-1504.01 (Supp. 1997), as amended by 1998 Neb. Laws, LB 306.
DATE: August 20, 1998
SUBJECT: Deadline for Filing of County Petitions Seeking Adjustments to Classes or Subclasses of Property Under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-1504.01 (Supp. 1997), as amended by 1998 Neb. Laws, LB 306.
REQUESTED BY: Mark P. Reynolds, Chairman Tax Equalization and Review Commission
WRITTEN BY: Don Stenberg, Attorney General
L. Jay Bartel, Assistant Attorney General
The Tax Equalization and Review Commission ["TERC" or the
"Commission"] has requested our opinion concerning the
interpretation of an amendment to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-1504.01
(Supp. 1997) altering the date for the filing of petitions by
counties requesting an adjustment to a class or subclass of
property. Section 77-1504.01, prior to its amendment by 1998 Neb.
Laws, LB 306, § 22, provided that petitions by counties seeking
adjustments for classes or subclasses of property were to "be filed
with the commission on or before August 4." LB 306 amended the
statute to provide that such petitions "must be filed with the
commission on or before August 1." LB 306 was signed by the
Governor on February 12, 1998, and, having been passed with an
emergency clause, became effective on February 13, 1998. Your
question is whether, due to the amendment to § 77-1504.01 which
changed the date by which counties must file petitions requesting
the Commission to make adjustments to classes or subclasses of
property, the Commission may consider and act on petitions filed
after August 1, 1998.
A fundamental principle of statutory construction is to
attempt to ascertain legislative intent and to give effect to that
intent. County of Lancaster v. Maser, 224 Neb. 566, 400 N.W.2d 238
(1987). The reasons for the enactment of a statute, and the
purposes and objects of the act, may be guides in attempting to
give effect to the intent of lawmakers. State v. Jennings, 195
Neb. 434, 238 N.W.2d 477 (1976). "In the absence of anything
indicating to the contrary, statutory language should be given its
plain and ordinary meaning." Hickenbottom v. Hickenbottom, 239
Neb. 579, 590, 477 N.W.2d 8, 16 (1991). In construing a
legislative act, resort may be had to the history of its passage
for the purpose of determining legislative intent. Georgetowne
Ltd. Partnership v. Geotechnical Services, Inc., 230 Neb. 22, 430
N.W.2d 34 (1988).
The plain language of § 77-1704.01, as amended by LB 306,
§ 22, requires that petitions by counties seeking adjustments of
classes or subclasses of property "must be filed with the
commission on or before August 1." (emphasis added). This
language is mandatory, and demonstrates the Legislature intended to
require counties to file such petitions on or before August 1 in
order for the Commission to have jurisdiction to act on a request.
The statute does not grant the Commission any discretion to accept
petitions filed after the specified deadline.
We note, however, that August 1, 1998, fell on a Saturday. As
the Commission was not open to receive filings on that date, a
question arises as to whether petitions filed on the next business
day (Monday, August 3), were timely filed.
The general statute regarding computation of time provides
that "the period of time within which an act is to be done in any
action or proceeding shall be computed by excluding the day of the
act, event, or default after which the designated period of time
begins to run." Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-2221 (1995). "The last day of
the period so computed shall be included unless it is a Saturday,
[or] a Sunday,. . ., in which event the period shall run until the
end of the next day on which the office will be open." Id.
While the computation of time provision in § 25-2221 refers to
"any action or proceeding", the Nebraska Supreme Court has applied
the statute "not only to matters in litigation, but also to
statutes." State ex rel. Wieland v. Beerman, 246 Neb. 808, 811,
523 N.W.2d 518, 522 (1994); see also Ruan Transport Corp. v.
Peake, Inc., 163 Neb. 319, 79 N.W.2d 575 (1956); State ex rel.
Smith v. Nebraska Liquor Control Comm'n, 152 Neb. 676, 42 N.W.2d
297 (1950). Thus, "[a]lthough the term `action or proceeding'
generally refers to business before a court or judicial officer,
the term is not restricted in application to those actions which
occur within the walls of a courtroom" 246 Neb. at 811, 523 N.W.2d
"It has been held that where an act must be performed a
certain number of days `before' an event, or `on or before' a
specified date, the time for performance is postponed to the next
business day when the final day falls on a Saturday or Sunday." 86
C.J.S. Time § 29 (1997). The Nebraska Supreme Court applied this
principle in State v. Tasich, 242 Neb. 870, 873, 496 N.W.2d 538,
540 (1993), "hold[ing] that when a statute requires an act to be
done a certain number of days before a known event, the fact that
the last day for the action to be done in order to give the
appropriate number of days, falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal
holiday postpones the time for performance to the next following
Thus, as § 77-1504.01, as amended, required counties to file
petitions with the Commission "on or before" August 1, and August
1 fell on a Saturday, we believe that petitions received by the
Commission on Monday, August 3, the next business day following
Saturday, August 1, were timely filed. Petitions received by the
Commission after that date, however, were not filed within the time
prescribed by statute.
For the reasons stated previously, while we believe the
language of the statute, as amended, is clear, we also note that
this change was discussed, albeit briefly, during legislative
debate on LB 306. The history reflects that the Legislature was
aware of the change in the date for filing petitions under § 77-
1504.01, and that moving the date from August 4 to August 1 was
apparently done to facilitate the TERC's proceedings.
Specifically, Senator Wickersham, Chairman of the Revenue
Committee, in discussing Committee amendments which included the
change in the date for filing petitions under § 77-1504.01, stated:
We are moving a deadline for county petitions to TERC for
an adjustment of changes in classes of valuation. We had
it stated, in the original amendment to 306, that that
had to be done by August 4th, we are moving that back to
August 1st, after discussions with TERC. The August 1st
date would have allowed them, in practice, as a practical
effect, only one day to hold hearings on the protests.
That's the other component of the amendment that I think
is necessary to bring to your attention.
Floor Debate on LB 306, 95th Leg., 2d Sess., 11304 (February 5,
1998) (Statement of Sen. Wickersham).
In sum, we conclude that the amendment to § 77-1504.01 by LB
306, § 22, requires that petitions by counties for adjustments to
classes or subclasses of property be filed on or before August 1.
For 1998, as August 1 fell on a Saturday, we further conclude that
this would operate to extend the time for counties to file
petitions with the Commission until the next business day, Monday,
August 3. Petitions filed after that date would be untimely, and
should be dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
Very truly yours,
L. Jay Bartel
Assistant Attorney General