NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Sen. Dan Hughes

Sen. Dan Hughes

District 44

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Tuesday of this week committees commenced hearings on bills introduced this year. I will be addressing the contents of LB 861, LB 862, and LB 899 this week. These bills have been referenced to the Natural Resources Committee. 

Over the past decade, numerous cities and other local governmental units have been subject to special interest activism that would either ban or tax consumer merchandise packaging and other containers or products used by consumers. Items like plastic bags, bottles, cups, cutlery, straws, Styrofoam (EPS), and other similar products have been subject to this tax. If any of those proposed local ordinances had been enacted, the business sector would have been subject to an amalgamation of city ordinances, local mandates, taxes, fees, and regulations. It would have made it impossible for them to comply with regulations within their communities, state, across state lines, and the global economy. LB861 amends the Nebraska Intergovernmental Solid Waste Management Act by defining the terms “consumer merchandise” and “container”. The bill provides that local governments shall not adopt regulations that set standards or requirements regarding the sale or marketing of consumer merchandise and containers, therefore, allowing for more uniform regulation. With this change, business and industry will avoid having to comply with varying or conflicting regulations among and between local jurisdictions in Nebraska. The bill would provide for additional state policy under the act to encourage recycling and secondary uses of solid waste through biomass and pyrolysis processes. The bill continues to allow local governments the authority to regulate solid waste, recycling collection, solid waste, and recycling programs. This bill was brought to me by a group of Nebraska retailers including the grocers association. LB 861 has not yet been scheduled for a hearing in the Natural Resources Committee.  

Another bill I am introducing this session is LB 862.  This bill was brought to me by the Nebraska Council of School Administrators. LB 862 would prohibit possession by minors of tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems, or alternative nicotine products. Our school administrators would like to have the option of involving law enforcement while trying to get a handle on the vaping problem. 

On Thursday of this week, the Natural Resources Committee will be hearing testimony on LB 899. This bill would allow any public power district to develop, manufacture, use, purchase, or sell biofuel and biofuel byproducts. Biofuel is defined as any fuel that is derived from biomass, plant or algae material or animal waste. Since such feedstock material can be replenished readily, biofuel is considered to be a source of renewable energy, unlike fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas. Therefore, it has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The public power industry has already entered the biofuel market by being allowed to sell ethanol, so it seems appropriate that they be allowed to explore new technologies and products that could be financially beneficial to public power.

Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you might have. My email address is dhughes@leg.ne.gov 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.

Sen. Dan Hughes

District 44
Room #1117
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2805
Email: dhughes@leg.ne.gov
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