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Dear Residents of the 40th District,
The Legislature debated significant legislation on the second round of debate this week. LB235, identifying the state aid formula for public schools, was advanced. LB305, legislation to begin the process of implementing a state meat and poultry inspection agency, was also advanced.
My priority legislation, LB 229, which allows for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to apply for a Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) grant, was also advanced after an amendment was adopted that establishes the required benchmarks that DNR must meet in order to continue receiving NET funds. Under the amended LB229, after the first 3 year grant of $3.3 million per year, DNR will be required to submit a report to the Legislature in order to qualify for a second 3 year grant of $3.3 million per year. This report will provide demonstrable evidence of the benefits accrued from the projects and activities conducted with grant funds as well as documentation that the matching fund requirements have been met. In addition, the Natural Resources Committee of the Legislature will be required to provide a report, which will include an outline and priority listing of water management and funding needs in Nebraska, an outline of statewide funding options which create a sustainable funding source to meet the needs set forth in the report, and recommendations for legislation. DNR will not be eligible for funding beyond the first 3 years unless the projects and activities have resulted in enhanced stream flows, reduced consumptive uses of water, recharged ground water, supported wildlife habitat, or otherwise contributed towards conserving, enhancing, and restoring Nebraska’s ground water and surface water resources. LB229 is a step in the right direction for preserving our water resources, and I am pleased that the interested parties were able to agree on the mechanisms included in this bill as well as the future benchmarks that must be met.
Another bill, LB698, which removes the requirement to label ethanol at the gas pumps, was not advanced. Senator Christensen, the bill’s introducer, requested that the bill be laid over to next session after some Senators raised concerns about consumer awareness. While ethanol production is vital to the agricultural economy in Nebraska, the impact on the consumer must be further evaluated.
Please feel free to contact my office with your questions and comments at (402) 471-2801 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senator Tyson Larson