NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
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Sen. Tyson Larson

Sen. Tyson Larson

District 40

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at tlarson@leg.ne.gov

The Natural Resources Committee held a public hearing on LB857, a bill I introduced to ensure more accountability for Nebraska Environmental Trust grant funds that are used for purchases of real estate. LB857 works to address concerns about revolving grant funds where groups are able to sell real property they purchased with grant funds and reinvest in additional property with the revenue generated by the sale. In addition, LB857 would address Environmental Trust grants being used for purchases of real estate where the land is subsequently sold or donated to the federal government for management. I have been diligently working with the members of the Natural Resources Committee and groups who have previously applied for Environmental Trust grants to properly address these concerns, and I am confident that an agreement can be reached that does so.

The Transportation Committee held a public hearing on LB1095, a bill I introduced to offer Beef State license plates as a specialty plate available to all Nebraskans. These license plates would show our appreciation for agriculture and the beef industry, and like many of you, I look forward to having a Beef State license plate on my vehicle.

The Legislature debated and advanced several bills this week. LB1118, introduced by Senator Abbie Cornett of Bellevue, provides tax incentives under the Nebraska Advantage Act for large data center projects, which will encourage business growth in Nebraska. LR40CA, introduced by Senator Pete Pirsch of Omaha, was also advanced. LR40CA would propose a constitutional amendment to protect the right to hunt and fish in Nebraska, subject to personal property rights as well as wildlife conservation and management that preserve the right to hunt and fish. In light of increasing attacks on sportsmen by various animal rights groups, this amendment would protect traditional recreation activities that are so important to our state’s heritage.

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

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

The Judiciary Committee advanced a bill I introduced, LB721, to general file. LB721 expands the definition of police animal to include police dogs and horses owned by cities, counties, and villages. I look forward to debate on this bill before the full Legislature and passage of this legislation.

The public hearing for LB915, a bill I introduced to change the animal abuse reporting statutes and create a new criminal offense of obtaining employment at an animal facility with the intent to disrupt the normal operations of that business, was held in the Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, January 31.  While some concerns were raised about the language in the bill, I am working with members of the committee to address the concerns and move this legislation forward because of the importance of stopping certain practices employed by animal activist groups.

The Legislature debated and advanced LB391, introduced by Senator Ken Schilz of Ogallala, which increases awareness of invasive species in Nebraska with the creation of the Nebraska Invasive Species Council. The Council would develop an integrated management plan for the state, facilitate governmental coordination for prevention and management, and provide public outreach. This Council will help local governments in their efforts to stem the infestation of these species and I support this legislation.

LB946, introduced by Senator Greg Adams of York, was advanced through both rounds of debate to final readings. LB946 adopts the Community College Aid Act, which changes the formula for state aid to community colleges beginning in Fiscal Year 2013-2014. The initial allocation of state aid will be appropriated along the current guidelines. However, allocations beyond that, up to $500,000, would be allocated to the Nebraska Community College Student Performance and Occupational Education Grant Fund where a committee would determine the appropriate allocations. Any remaining allocations would be then distributed based upon the total number of community college areas, the number of students, and the number of reimbursable educational units offered at the community colleges. This bill authorizes continued support for our state’s community colleges and will better allocate funds according to need.

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

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

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.

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

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

Bill introduction has concluded for this session with a total of 467 bills and six constitutional amendments being introduced. I introduced two more bills, LB1095 and LB1157. LB1095 allows for the reintroduction of the classic Beef State license plates, creating a new type of specialty license plate that is designed like the black and white Nebraska Beef State license plates used decades ago. This plate would be available under a system similar to the Husker license plates. LB1157 eliminates one of the requirements for reduction of late filing fees with the Accountability and Disclosure Commission.

Committee hearings have begun on the new bills. This week, the Judiciary Committee heard testimony on LB721, my bill redefining police animal to include dogs and horses owned by cities and counties. The bill had strong support at the hearing, and I expect this bill to advance.

The Agriculture Committee held hearings on LB770 and LB771, both introduced by Senator Tom Carlson of Holdredge, and voted to advance both bills to the full Legislature. LB770 amends the Nebraska Seed Law to clarify the definition of noxious weed seeds in the Nebraska Seed Law so that it matches the list of noxious weeds designated by the Department of Agriculture under Nebraska’s Noxious Weed Control Act. LB771 updates the Nebraska Pure Food Act to incorporate provisions from the 2009 Food Code. The law currently has provisions from the 2005 Food Code. I voted in support of both of these bills and will continue to support them in debate by the full Legislature.

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

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

Last week, I introduced LB915, which changes the statutes relating to reports of animal abuse. Current law requires certain employees to report criminal animal abuse, but LB915 expands this requirement to all persons. LB915 also requires that the report be made within 12 hours of the suspected abuse and that any documentation be turned over to authorities with the person’s report. The penalty for failing to report these incidents is also increased significantly. LB915 also includes a new criminal offense, which criminalizes obtaining employment at an animal facility with the intent to disrupt the operations of the business. Animal facilities include any place an animal is maintained for agricultural production, exhibitions and education facilities, and businesses which transport animals.

This bill is intended to protect agricultural businesses from attacks by animal activist groups, like the Humane Society of the United States. By requiring reporting by all persons, a group like HSUS cannot collect information about a potential animal abuse crime that has taken place and then keep it to use it for its own propaganda, but rather would be required to submit this evidence to the appropriate authorities to investigate the abuse. This approach ensures that any perpetrators of animal abuse are properly investigated and that the welfare of the animals is the top priority, rather than fundraising or lobbying efforts by groups like HSUS. Tactics such as infiltrating an agricultural business to disrupt its operations also cannot be allowed, and LB915 also addresses this concern.

On January 12, Governor Dave Heineman reported to the Legislature with his annual State of the State address as well. Governor Heineman focused on the need for work on the state’s child welfare system as well as streamlining the Department of Labor and the Department of Economic Development by combining the two departments. Governor Heineman’s main focus was tax relief for middle class Nebraskans and the elimination of inheritance taxes.

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

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

On January 4, 2012,  the second session of the 102nd Nebraska Legislature convened, symbolizing the 75th Anniversary of the only unicameral legislature in the nation. I am excited for my second session as a member of the Legislature and hope to build on my achievements of last year. Last session, my bill, LB305, helped bring national attention to the issues regarding horse processing the U.S., and my priority bill, LB229, helped allocate more Environmental Trust Fund monies to water resources projects.

In addition to the carryover bills that were not addressed last session, senators have begun introducing new bills. This session, I introduced LB721, which seeks to include police animals owned by any county, city, or village under peace officer obstruction laws and police dog harassment laws. Current laws only protect police animals that are owned by the State of Nebraska used in assisting a Nebraska state trooper, and this bill will extend protection to all police animals.

LB857 requires grant recipients of monies from the Environmental Trust Fund who have purchased real estate with such grant funds and subsequently sold or transferred the property to repay the original grant amount. The repayment will be remitted to the Water Resources Cash Fund to support water resources projects. This legislation builds on LB229 from last session and works to ensure the best use of Environmental Trust Fund monies.

The Legislature will continue bill introduction until January 19 and will begin debate on carryover bills from last session this week.

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

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

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

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

Sen. Tyson Larson

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