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Dan Hughes

Sen. Dan Hughes

District 44

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As I mentioned in my last article, I would like to update you on bills that have a priority status and will be debated when the Legislature resumes the 2020 session on July 20th.  Each of the standing committees are allowed to designate up to two bills as committee priority bills.  Typically, committees will use this as an avenue to combine a few bills together. The bills are usually noncontroversial and would likely pass on their own, but due to time constraints, their best chance of passing is to be included in a committee priority bill.

The Natural Resources Committee used one of their priority designations on LB 632.  LB 632 was originally drafted as a shell bill. The original bill made no substantive changes and was only meant to serve as a vehicle for other legislation to be amended into.  During the amendment process, LB 632 was deleted and replaced with the contents of LB 769, LB 861, LB 933, and LB 1201. Even though it contains several other pieces of legislation, the bill will still appear on the Legislature’s website and the agenda as LB 632.

The first bill included in LB 632 is LB 769. This bill would require each member of the Natural Resources Commission to be a Nebraska resident. Currently, there is no Nebraska residency requirement for serving on the Commission. This change would make the Commission eligibility requirements consistent with most other boards and commissions in Nebraska.

The second bill included is LB 861, which would amend the Nebraska Intergovernmental Solid Waste Management Act by creating a statewide regulatory system for containers. This would help ease the burden on retailers and restaurants, which are currently forced to comply with a patchwork of city, county, and agency container regulations. It also encourages the state to utilize recycling and secondary processes, specifically biomass and pyrolysis. 

The third bill is LB 933, it would amend laws relating to utility disconnections and reconnections. The bill would put a cap on the fees a utility can charge for disconnecting or reconnecting service. It would also allow customers to postpone disconnection by showing that their household includes an ill or handicapped individual who would be harmed by disconnection through a note from a doctor, APRN, or physician’s assistant. Utilities would be required to post certain information about their disconnection and reconnection policies online as an additional part of this bill. Utilities owned and operated by villages would be exempt from these requirements.

Lastly, LB 1201, as amended, would create a plan development group to put together a stand-alone state flood mitigation plan. The state’s current flood mitigation plan is included in the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency’s larger state hazard mitigation plan, but has not been updated for several years. The bill would require the Department of Natural Resources to complete the state flood mitigation plan and report it to the Governor and the Legislature before December 31, 2021.

 

Sen. Dan Hughes

District 44
Room 2108
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2805
Email: dhughes@leg.ne.gov
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