The Natural Resources Committee is responsible for processing legislation involving the following subject areas:
During session, the Natural Resources Committee meets on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in Room 1525 on the 1st Floor of the Capitol.
Explanation on How to Prepare Written Testimony In Lieu of In-Person Testimony for Public Hearings held during the 2021 Nebraska Legislative Session
This document provides an explanation of the “how to” for preparation of written testimony in lieu of in-person testimony for public hearings held during the 2021 Session. The six requirements which an individual must follow for their submission to be treated as written testimony—with the testifier listed on the committee statement and the testimony scanned so as to be included as part of the hearing transcript—are outlined on the Nebraska Legislature’s website at https://nebraskalegislature.gov/committees/public-input.php.
While most of the requirements are self-explanatory, requirement number five has presented some confusion which this document is intended to clarify. This requirement reads:
Since the written testimony will be included as part of the hearing transcript (and will not be treated as an exhibit), the written testimony you submit needs to be a written statement that if read at the public hearing would fit within the standard protocols of oral testimony. In other words, when your written testimony is scanned into the public hearing transcript, someone reading the finalized transcript should not be able to tell from your testimony that you were not at the hearing in person unless you mention in your testimony you are providing it via the written format. (Note, however, that the Committee Statement will identify the written submitted testimony so as to communicate that the testifier was not present to respond to questions at the hearing.)
Your written testimony should start with a greeting to the committee chair and members and then introduce who you are, just like each oral testifier at a public hearing must do. Second you will want to identify if you are representing yourself or a principal(s). And then you will state your argument in support of or opposition to the measure. No handouts or exhibits will be accepted with written testimony. Maps, charts, letters and similar handouts are classified as exhibits and not included as part of the hearing transcript when shared with the committee during oral testimony. For written testimony, nothing considered an exhibit will be accepted except as described below. (Please keep in mind that you may always deliver exhibits directly to a senator in addition to submitting written testimony.)
Letters from a principal will be accepted as part of written testimony, if an individual incorporates the letter into the text of their testimony and the total length of written comments and the letter fit within the requirement of no more than 2 single-spaced, typed pages or 4 double-spaced, typed pages (a letter will count as a full page if submitted on letterhead). You may choose to incorporate statements from your principals rather than an actual letter. Please note, this practice of allowing a letter as part of your testimony only applies to written testimony. This does not mean you may now read a letter from a principal during in person testimony. In-person testimony guidelines are decided by each committee chair.
For an example, I want to share with you testimony provided to the Business and Labor Committee last year by a lobbyist on behalf of two principals in opposition to LB 963 (2020), a bill to change workers’ compensation provisions for injuries to first responders and frontline state employees. The lobbyist’s in-person testimony from last year reads:
Chairman Hansen, members of the committee, for the record, my
name is [FIRST NAME LAST NAME]. It’s spelled F-i-r-s-t N-a-m-e L-a-s-t N-a m-e. I’m appearing today as a registered lobbyist on behalf of the American Property Casualty Insurers Association [SIC] and Nebraskans for Workers’ Compensation Equity and Fairness in opposition to LB963. There are two primary concerns with the legislation, some of which [previous testifier] dealt with. Number one is the broad list of providers that may not have the requisite
education or experience to treat or diagnose PTSD. As you heard from the proponents themselves, that the number of practitioners who can help people with PTSD is rather limited, even in areas like Lincoln and Omaha. Our second concern is the clear causation between the injury, the mental health injury and the job. We feel that it would be a departure from existing workers’ compensation law to allow for, for a presumption. I want to give you an aside. . .
If the testifier presented this testimony as “written testimony,” the spelling of her name would not be needed, however she would still have an introduction and greeting to the committee members. Additionally, since she would not know the proponents’ comments shared at the hearing, she might, however, want to address some of the “for” arguments that she believes will come up during the hearing. And she could include a letter from one of the two principals she is representing by stating something along the lines of, “additional concerns that Nebraskans for Workers’ Compensation Equity and Fairness have with LB 963, are best articulated in a letter from their president.” With this introduction and reference to the letter in her written testimony, the testifier could now include a letter from that principal as part of her written testimony as long as the length of the testimony with the letter does not exceed the maximum page length.
Additionally, the committee statement would reflect that the testifying lobbyist provided written testimony, representing both of the principals she mentions in the testimony. You will need to indicate who you are representing on the Written Testimony Testifier’s Sign-In Sheet you fill out when submitting your written testimony.
Individuals who testify in-person are allowed to testify only once in the proponent or opponent category. Similarly, written testimony may be submitted only once for a bill. If you are representing multiple principals, you will be identified as representing more than one principal as long as you identify them on the Written Testimony Testifier’s Sign-In Sheet which you will fill out when you submit your written testimony.