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This week we have begun full-day debate. I do not anticipate having to go to late-night sessions until later this month. Depending on how much progress we can make during the days will determine how quickly our late night schedule will begin. Tuesday of this week was Day 33 of our 60 Day session.
I have designated LB 931 as my personal priority bill. It was originally introduced by Senator Halloran. LB 931 would amend Nebraska Rules of the Road relating to vehicles maximum weight overload exception by the addition of allowing seasonally harvested products to be transported from farm storage to market or factory. There is some question as to whether farms can haul from their fields to bin and bin to market. Carrier enforcement was interrupting the law one way and the farmers another way. The intention of this bill is to make this clearer to everyone. Nebraska is a year-round harvest state. This bill was voted out of the Agricultural committee on an 8-0 vote and there were no opponents.
The Speaker can designate up to twenty-five bills as Speaker Priority Bills. This year the Speaker has chosen LB 803 to be one of the twenty-five bills. I introduced LB 803 this year. This bill would create a checkoff program for pulse crops. By creating a checkoff on these crops there will be funds available for production research and also for market promotion. Pulse crops include a variety of peas, lentils, chickpeas, faba beans, and lupine. These crops have been grown in Nebraska for quite a few years now and are gaining popularity with farmers as an alternative crop. By being part of the checkoff chickpea producers would be eligible for revenue insurance.
Senator Moser has designated LB 899 as his personal priority bill. This is a bill I introduced this year. The bill amends Section 70-625 which gives authority to public power districts in Nebraska to develop bio-fuels as long as they help offset greenhouse gas emissions. This bill came out of the Natural Resources Committee along with an amendment to it.
Senator Lindstrom introduced LB 1014 which at times is referred to as The Multiemployer Welfare Arrangement Act or “MEWA”. Senator Dorn designated LB 1014 as his personal priority bill. It would allow self-employed individuals to participate in health insurance offered by regional cooperatives. Land O’Lakes is a farmer co-op but is a national brand and if you are a member they can offer you an insurance package and therefore be able to take advantage of group rates. If LB 1014 is advanced it will affect farmers and agricultural co-ops alike. This bill has passed General File and is currently on Select File.