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Yesterday, Governor Dave Heineman signed LB 719 into law. LB 719, a bill introduced by Senator Sue Crawford (District 45, Bellevue), brings greater transparency, efficiency and accountability to the rulemaking process.
LB 719 requires agencies to prepare a report for all proposed rules and regulations following a public hearing. The report includes a summary of comments raised during the hearing through oral or written testimony and includes a response from the agencies to these summarized comments.
It also strengthens the complaint process currently available to senators to challenge regulations that have drifted from legislative intent or are unconstitutional. This complaint procedure was created several years ago through a bill introduced by then-Senator Pat Bourne and prioritized by then-state senator, now U.S. Senator, Deb Fischer.
“The current process for rulemaking hearings makes it difficult for citizens, the Governor and legislators to assess the responsiveness of agencies to citizen and legislative comments on proposed changes to regulations.” explained Senator Crawford. “LB 719 provides a tool for senators and the Governor to use to assess the justifications behind the agency’s response–or failure to respond–to the concerns raised.”
Organizations who testified in support of LB 719 at the bill’s hearing included the Association of Nebraska Ethanol Producers, Nebraska Appleseed, Mosaic, Common Cause, and Nebraska Nursing Facility Association.
“I would first like to commend Senator Crawford for introducing LB 719 and thank the 46 senators who voted in support of the bill.” shared Loran Schmit, Executive Director of the Association of Nebraska Ethanol Producers. “The regulatory process can be extremely burdensome to all industries and the passage of this bill will require the regulatory agencies to be more aware of the burden they can place on industry due to excessive regulation.”
“LB 719 will allow greater accountability within the rulemaking process, helping the public be more engaged and better understand decisions made by state Departments.” stated James Goddard, Director of Economic Justice and Health Care Access Programs at Nebraska Appleseed. “It will also require Departments to be more responsive to concerns expressed by the public.”
“The nursing and assisted living facility industries are two of the most heavily regulated industries in the state.” shared Nick Faustman, Nebraska Nursing Facility Association’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs. “Changes in regulations could easily be the difference between being able to continue caring for Nebraska’s most vulnerable populations or shutting down the facility altogether. LB 719 will enable our members to be even more proactive in partnering with the State to develop effective regulation.”