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This past week, the Legislature discussed several important bills. The Legislature debated and advanced LB459, introduced by Senator Ken Schilz of Ogallala, which limits the authority of political subdivisions in the state to define or assign a legal status to animals that is inconsistent with the status of animals as personal property. Other states have passed similar legislation, and this is a positive step for Nebraska agriculture.
The Legislature also debated and advanced LB473, introduced by Senator Leroy Loudon of Ellsworth, which adopts the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act. This bill creates a duty on landowners in counties that have adopted a prairie dog management plan to prevent the uncontrolled spread of colonies. County boards also have new responsibilities related to prairie dog management that are modeled after the Noxious Weed Control Act. I support this bill because it puts important processes in place to address a pressing concern in many rural areas.
LB60, introduced by Senator Bob Krist of Omaha, was debated and advanced as well. LB60 refines the process for compliance checks on liquor licensees and holds those who are conducting the checks more accountable. Under the bill, minors and law enforcement officers would be prohibited from consuming alcohol during a compliance check, and minors would also be required to be truthful in answering any questions by the retailer.
Several Legislative committees held hearings on significant policy changes last week. The Revenue Committee held a hearing on LB970, which encompasses Governor Heineman’s tax proposal to eliminate the inheritance tax and to reduce the individual and corporate income tax rates. In addition, the Health and Human Services Committee held hearings on several bills related to child welfare reform following the extensive study completed as part of LR37. While I do not sit on either of those two committees, I have been discussing these bills with my colleagues and look forward to a rigorous debate of these very important issues.
Senator Tyson Larson