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Last week in the Legislature, the Natural Resources Committee and myself had another busy schedule. We were successful in getting the committee priority bill, LB 758, advanced to Select File. After the full six hours of debate, the bill was advanced by a 47-0 vote. I am pleased with the outcome and thankful for my committee’s hard work on this bill. In today’s article I would like to touch base on LB 1080 and LR 266. Both of these will have hearings next week, so I would like to update everyone on them ahead of time.
LB 1080 is a bill that would allow the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles to design three new license plates to be known as Wildlife Conservation Plates. These plates would reflect support for the conservation of Nebraska wildlife, including sandhill cranes, bighorn sheep, and rainbow trout. A bill similar to this was passed in 2016, which created the mountain lion plate that has helped raise approximately $225,000 in funds for the Wildlife Education Fund. The commission uses this money to provide youth education programs related to wildlife conservation practices. Game and Parks receives $30 for every message plate and $5 for every alphanumeric plate. LB 1080 would follow the same guidelines allowing three new beautifully designed wildlife license plates.
LR 266 is a resolution urging the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation and the Nebraska congressional delegation to work together. We need to a find a solution that allows the people occupying lots around Hugh Butler Lake, Harry Strunk Lake and Swanson Reservoir to freely transfer their permits and to leave non-permanent structures currently in place on existing lots. It also urges the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to consider taking such action as may be helpful to bring about a solution that allows for the transfer of permits and for non-permanent structures to remain on the lots surrounding these lakes. Currently, the Bureau of Reclamation is mandating that trailer home owners vacate the lakes no later than April 30, 2020. This would make for a total of 232 cabins and trailers to be removed.
The Natural Resources Committee held a hearing last Thursday afternoon for LB 1054, introduced by Senator Brewer of Gordon. LB 1054 would change provisions relating to pre-construction hearings before the Nebraska Power Review Board and for electricity generation using wind as its fuel source. There were a lot of people who came out to testify in front of the committee, both as proponents and opponents to the legislation. There was plenty of discussion and information given to the committee. This bill has been designated as Senator Brewer’s priority bill. The committee will take some time to digest the testimony that was given, before making a decision on whether to advance it to the full Legislature for debate or hold it in committee.