NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Tyson Larson

Sen. Tyson Larson

District 40

Last session, one of my priorities was LB305, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. LB305 required the Nebraska Department of Agriculture to study implementation of a state meat inspection program. The Department has completed its report and can be accessed online at http://www.agr.state.ne.us/. One impetus for this legislation was the need for the reintroduction of horse processing in the U.S. Due to the national attention regarding the consequences stemming from the lack of horse processing, including for legislation such as LB305, action was taken by Congress. Last week Congress passed appropriations legislation, which was signed by President Obama, that funded federal inspection of horse processing facilities for the first time since fiscal year 2006. This allows for the reintroduction of horse processing in the U.S. and is a positive step forward for agriculture.

In special session, the Legislature debated LB1, which establishes a siting procedure with the Public Service Commission, and LB4, which authorizes DEQ to conduct an environmental impact study of the new route of the Keystone XL pipeline. These two bills have been advanced to final reading, and the Legislature will likely pass these bills and adjourn the special session before Thanksgiving. I support both LB1 and LB4.

If you have any questions regarding the special session, the legislation introduced, or any other issue, please contact my office at (402) 471-2801 or tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

The special session got underway last week with introduction of six legislative bills, one of which authorizes the expenses of the Legislature. The remaining five bills relate to oil pipelines. Senator Annette Dubas of Fullerton, Senator Chris Langemeier of Schuyler, and Senator Ken Haar of Malcolm have each introduced legislation that would put a process in place to give Nebraska siting authority over oil pipelines. The three bills take a different approach as to who would have the authority to grant or deny certification of an oil pipeline. LB1, introduced by Senator Dubas, would place that authority in the hands of the Public Service Commission (PSC). LB4, introduced by Senator Langemeier, would instead authorize the Governor to make the ultimate determination. LB5, introduced by Senator Haar, would also authorize the PSC to make the decision, but instead of evaluating several economic and environmental factors like in LB1 and LB4, the decision would be based solely on whether the pipeline route extends through particular areas of the state, like the Sandhills or areas where the ground water is particularly close to the surface. I am evaluating each of these bills to determine which is the best approach to siting legislation and will work with my colleagues to see that siting legislation is fully debated.In addition to the siting legislation, Senator Bill Avery of Lincoln introduced a bill, LB3,  which clarifies that eminent domain may only be used by a company that has applied for and been granted any controlling federal or state permit. This bill has been referenced to the Judiciary Committee, on which I sit, and I will work to advance this bill to the full Legislature. Senator Avery also introduced a bill, LB6, requiring an oil pipeline company to have a $500 million indemnity bond with proof of such bond filed with the State of Nebraska to be used by landowners or counties aggrieved by damages to land, infrastructure, or natural resources.Hearings on these five bills are scheduled Monday, November 7, through Wednesday, November 9. If you have any questions about the introduced legislation, please feel free to contact my office at (402) 471-2801 or tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

Last week, Governor Dave Heineman called the Legislature into special session to enact legislation relating to oil pipelines. The special session begins November 1 and will continue until the Legislature reaches a consensus. I am pleased that Governor Heineman has called a special session because the regulation of oil pipelines is a very important matter, and the Legislature is responsible for addressing the concerns of people affected by such pipelines and protecting the people and resources of our state.There may be a variety of bills introduced during the 3 days of bill introduction, but the main focus will be siting of oil pipelines. Federal law allows for states to regulate the location of a pipeline even though other considerations, like safety, are currently completely within the purview of federal regulation. Senator Annette Dubas of Fullerton plans to introduce siting legislation, which provides for a process of permit approval for any oil pipeline route through Nebraska. The permit would only be approved after a review of various factors if the pipeline is in the public interest. This procedure would allow for a complete evaluation of the impact of a pipeline prior to construction. I support enacting siting legislation and will work with my colleagues to do so. In addition, I will consider other pertinent legislation that is in the interests of my constituents.

Please feel free to contact my office with your questions and comments at (402) 471-2801 or tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

Keystone XL Pipeline

September 19th, 2011

In recent weeks, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline has received considerable attention throughout Nebraska and District 40.

In the eastern part of district 40, there has been positive feedback from the first Keystone pipeline construction due to increased economic activity. However, the fragility of the Sandhills and the great importance of the groundwater supply make the proposed route for the new Keystone XL pipeline a different matter, even with the added regulations in LB629, which was passed last session and signed by Governor Heineman. LB629, introduced by Senator Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids, adopted the Oil Pipeline Reclamation Act. The regulations contained in LB629 will work towards ensuring that an oil company will have to fix any ongoing or future land restoration issues. Two other bills requiring more regulation are also pending in the Natural Resources Committee and will be addressed in the upcoming session. While I do not sit on the Natural Resources Committee, I am discussing the issues surrounding the pipeline with my colleagues and am working with them to address the concerns of my constituents.

I have serious concerns about the proposed route of the pipeline and agree with Governor Heineman’s stance. Governor Heineman recently stated that he opposed the route through the Sandhills and encouraged the United States Department of State to deny Transcanada’s permit to construct the Keystone XL pipeline. Currently, the U.S. Department of State is undergoing a public comment period on the pipeline and is holding public meetings in Lincoln on September 27 and in Atkinson on September 29. I encourage you to attend one of these meetings if possible.

The U.S. Department of State has announced that a decision on the permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline will not be forthcoming until the end of the year. However, the Legislature has time to act before that decision takes place. After careful consideration and discussion with constituents and my colleagues in the Legislature, a special session is needed to address concerns with the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline. While I am wary of spending money on a special session, I recognize that further regulation is necessary, and such regulation should be passed prior to the decision by the U.S. Department of State on the permits. Due to my concerns about the pipeline route, I would support a special session to further discuss the regulations needed to ensure the pipeline does not cause harm to our State.

Senator Tyson Larson
District 40

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

The Legislature adjourned Thursday, May 26, after concluding its business for the session. Prior to adjournment, the Legislature passed all of the redistricting bills. Each of these was signed by Governor Dave Heineman and has gone into effect. An amendment to LB704, which designates the Congressional districts, was approved prior to the bill’s passage. In the amendment, the entirety of District 40 will be in the Third Congressional District, currently represented by Congressman Adrian Smith, except for the far southeastern portion of Dixon County, which is in the First Congressional District, currently represented by Congressman Jeff Fortenberry. LB703, designating the legislative districts, passed as proposed, and I would like to welcome the residents of Boyd, Dixon, Rock, and western Holt County to District 40.

The Legislature also passed Commission of Industrial Relations (CIR) reform in LB397; LB629, which requires reclamation by a company owning an oil pipeline within the state; and LB667, which contains extensive changes to DUI provisions. The Legislature also passed two bills relating to abortion: LB521, prohibiting telemedicine abortion procedures, and LB690, requiring parental consent for any person under age 18 who is seeking an abortion. All of these bills were signed by Governor Dave Heineman.

It has been a privilege to represent District 40 through my first legislative session. I will be looking into many topics for future legislation over the interim, including collaborating with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture as they study implementation of a state meat inspection agency pursuant to LB305.

Please feel free to contact my office with your questions and comments at (402) 471-2801 or tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

The Legislature advanced the redistricting proposals of the Redistricting Committee for the Congressional and legislative districts after considerable debate. Amended maps were not adopted, though changes could still be presented on the next round of debate.

LB629, introduced by Senator Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids, adopts the Oil Pipeline Reclamation Act. LB629 was debated and advanced by the Legislature. In district 40, there has been positive feedback from the first pipeline construction due to increased economic activity and the responsible practices of TransCanada. However, the fragility of the Sandhills is a serious concern. The kind of regulation contained in LB629 will ensure that an oil company will be responsible and will have to fix any ongoing or future land restoration issues. The pipeline has created a positive impact thus far in Nebraska, and this additional route can result in similar positive impacts. LB629 is a right step in ensuring that.

LB397, introduced by Senator Steve Lathrop of Omaha, was also debated and advanced. In prior debate, myself and several of my colleagues expressed concerns with the provisions of LB397. However, Senators and many interest groups developed a compromise, which was adopted by the Legislature. In this compromise, the Commission on Industrial Relations will be allowed to consider all benefits of employment, including health insurance and pensions. LB397 also more appropriately specifies who can be considered comparable employers and allows more flexibility in determining compensation. These provisions will likely result in cost savings to public employers, a main goal of this reform.

Please feel free to contact my office with your questions and comments at (402) 471-2801 or tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

The Legislature passed several significant bills on final reading, including LB305, to begin the process of developing a state meat inspection agency, and this legislation has also been signed by Governor Heineman. The Legislature also passed LB229, authorizing more funding for water resources projects; several bills relating to the biennial budget for the state; and LB84, authorizing sales tax to be used for roads projects beginning in 2013.

There was also considerable movement on bills relating to abortion. The Legislature passed LB22, which affirmatively opts out of allowing qualified health insurance plans that cover abortions to participate in health insurance exchanges within Nebraska and limits the coverage of abortion in all health insurance plans, contracts, or policies delivered or issued for delivery in Nebraska. The Legislature debated and advanced LB521, which limits telemedicine by requiring that drugs used for the purpose of inducing abortions be administered by or in the physical presence of the physician who prescribed, dispensed or provided it. In addition, LB690, which requires written consent by a parent or guardian for anyone under age 18 who is seeking an abortion, was also advanced to the floor by the Judiciary Committee and will be debated by the Legislature soon. I have been supportive of all of these bills and will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure these protections are passed.

The Redistricting Committee also held public hearings throughout the state on the proposed legislative maps. The Legislature has advanced the first of these, LB699, which changes the boundaries of the districts for the Nebraska Supreme Court and Nebraska Court of Appeals. The Legislature will soon debate the remaining redistricting bills. Proposed maps for legislative districts would move Rock, Boyd, and Dixon Counties, as well as the western half of Holt County into District 40 and move Pierce County to District 41. Proposed maps for Congressional districts would put all of District 40 into the Third Congressional District.

Please feel free to contact my office with your questions and comments at (402) 471-2801 or tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

The Redistricting Committee introduced the bills outlining the changes in the districts for Nebraska’s members of the House of Representatives, the Legislature, the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, the Public Service Commission, and the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and Board of Education. Proposed maps move most of Northeast Nebraska, including the eastern part of Cedar County, into the 3rd Congressional district, now represented by Congressman Adrian Smith. Proposed maps also change Legislative District 40, to include Boyd County, Rock County, Dixon County, and the western part of Holt County. Knox, Cedar, and the eastern part of Holt County remain in District 40. Pierce County would move to District 41, currently represented by Senator Kate Sullivan from Cedar Rapids. I am very disappointed to have Pierce County move to another legislative district. The Redistricting Committee will hold public hearings on all of these bills and changes may be debated by the full Legislature.

The Legislature advanced the budget this week through the first two rounds of debate. Increased revenue forecasts have led to reduced withdrawal from the cash reserve. For 2011, $37 million will be transferred from the cash reserve to the general fund, and for 2012, $68 million will be transferred. Earlier estimates had allowed for $128 million to be transferred each of those years, and considerably less is needed at this time. It is important to maintain a healthy balance in the cash reserve, and the Legislature will continue to work rebuilding the balance in coming years.

The Legislature also began debate on LB397, which changes provisions relating to the Commission on Industrial Relations. While this bill did advance to the second round of debate, I and several of my colleagues are working on some additional changes to make the reform more comprehensive.

Please feel free to contact my office with your questions and comments at (402) 471-2801 or tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

The Legislature voted to pass LB600 this past week over the objections of Governor Heineman. LB 600 adopts the Nursing Facility Quality Assurance Assessment Act, which allows for an assessment to be paid by nursing homes to ensure matching funds for federal reimbursement. With LB600, nursing homes will be more adequately reimbursed for Medicaid expenses due to access to federal funds, thereby benefiting privately paying residents of these nursing homes and alleviating the burden on the state. LB600 will reduce nursing home facility losses and ensure care for our State’s nursing home residents.

Two bills that have been prioritized for this session and relate to abortion are currently stalled in the Judiciary Committee. LB690, introduced by Senator Lydia Brasch of Bancroft, changes current law to require notarized written consent from a pregnant woman less than eighteen years of age and one of her parents or a legal guardian before obtaining an abortion. LB521, introduced by Senator Tony Fulton of Lincoln, would prevent abortion providers from administering chemical abortions through use of web-cams and instead requires the presence of a physician. I fully support both of these bills and am continuing to work with the other members of the Committee to advance them to debate before the Legislature.

The Appropriations Committee has also released the Biennial Budget for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. Speaker Mike Flood of Norfolk has also scheduled debate of several budget bills for Monday, May 2, and continuing on throughout the week. These bills relate to salaries of legislators and state constitutional officers, capital construction, and various state government expenses. For more information, a copy of the Appropriations Committee report can be accessed at the Nebraska Legislature’s website: http://nebraskalegislature.gov/.

Please feel free to contact my office with your questions and comments at (402) 471-2801 or tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

LB84 was debated on select file and an amended version was advanced to final reading. As amended, LB84 directs one quarter of one percent of existing state sales tax to be used for construction of high-priority highway projects. This tax diversion will begin in 2013, after the current budget, and continue until 2033 and will generate approximately $65 million per year. At least 25% of these funds shall be used for the expressway system, with the remaining funds used for other transportation projects as determined by the Department of Roads. The amendment reduces the funding by half, largely due to concerns about other budget priorities like education. I fully support the amended LB84 and the investment in Nebraska’s roads, while keeping in mind that other priorities must be adequately addressed as well.

LB360, introduced by Senator Abbie Cornett of Bellevue, was debated on general file. LB360 amends the tax structure for wind energy companies to clarify the property tax exemption, but as amended, does not eliminate the tax credit against the nameplate capacity tax to wind energy companies for previously paid property tax. During debate, I expressed my opposition to the changes proposed in this legislation because this credit remains intact. I am continuing to work with the introducer of this bill as well as other Senators to eliminate this tax credit and will again express the problems with this credit during the second round of debate. The tax credit is unfair to Knox County and is an example of an unnecessary reduction in tax revenue.

Please feel free to contact my office with your questions and comments at (402) 471-2801 or tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

Sen. Tyson Larson

District 40
Room #1019
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2801
Email: tlarson@leg.ne.gov
Search Senator Page For:
Topics
Archives

You are currently browsing the District 40 News and Information blog archives for the year 2011.

Committee Assignments
Search Current Bills
Search Laws
Live Video Streaming
Find Your Senator