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All day floor debate began this week. Session is more than halfway finished, and I anticipate the pace and focus of the legislature will increase. Tuesday, April 2nd, was the 51st day of session. That is important because we will change focus from bills, to passing the budget on the 70th day, and we have to have a budget passed by the 80th day of session. That may seem like a long way off, but it will arrive very quickly.
My personal priority bill, LB268, regarding telecommunications and broadband service is on the agenda and hopefully by the time you are reading this it will have passed the first round of debate. This bill would make it easier for some rural citizens to obtain high speed internet from a different company other than their current telephone provider. It will not help a large number of rural people get high speed internet right away, but it will allow a few more to get it, and more importantly it should apply additional pressure on telephone companies to build out faster.
LB227, my bill expanding nuisance protections under the Right to Farm Act is also scheduled on the current agenda. It was given a priority by the Agriculture Committee. The actual date of debate will vary depending upon how quickly or slowly we discuss other bills ahead of it on the agenda. There is some talk of extended debate on this bill by a couple of Omaha senators.
LB227 provides the current levels of protections now given to Ag and public grain warehouses may continue after a change in the operation. Some examples, could be a change in ownership, the building of additional pens or barns in a livestock feeding operation, or just changing the crops being raised on a farm. All county zoning, setbacks and capacities, must still be adhered to and dust, flies, and odor abatement measures must be taken. Aside from having meetings in my office and discussing the bill’s intent with other Senators on the floor, I have gotten practice discussing this concept with the University of Nebraska Beef Scholars class of 2020 and Collegiate Farm Bureau. I have had great support from the agricultural groups who brought this bill to me, Nebraska Cattlemen and Nebraska Farm Bureau. I am confident we have put together a strong case for expanding the current law.
If you would like to speak directly to me about legislative issues, join the Great Plains conference call Tuesday at 8 AM CST and McCook Chamber Conference call Thursday at 8 AM CST. I always enjoy hearing from the Nebraskans I represent. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you might have. My email address is email@example.com and my phone number is (402) 471-2805.You can read more about bills and other work of the Legislature at www.nebraskalegislature.gov, and you can click on the Live Video Streaming NET logo to watch sessions, hearings, and other Capitol events.