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We had a morning of floor debate on Tuesday this week, but we will not engage regularly in debate until Tuesday, March 2. We are doing our best to get through as many bills in committee as possible. The second week of March we will have morning floor debate followed by afternoon committee hearings and executive sessions as needed. The plan is to finish all committee hearings, other than Judiciary, by March 4th. Due to the number of bills referred to the Judiciary Committee, they will not finish up until March 12th.
As I was trying to think of bills that may be of interest to the 44th legislative district, I came across one introduced by Senator Mike Flood of Norfolk, LB 650. This bill would allow Nebraska to facilitate further studies of carbon capture and sequestration projects in Nebraska. Currently, the regulatory authority of these projects is the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. This bill would give statutory authority to establish intent to facilitate carbon capture in Nebraska, designate property rights and create a cash fund for the regulatory operations. Carbon capture and sequestration is when carbon dioxide is created by a company during its manufacturing process and is then captured and moved to a storage site, thus keeping it from entering the atmosphere. In Nebraska we have deep underground formations that would be appropriate geological stratums to store the CO2. The same protocols that are used in the oil and gas industry to protect groundwater would be followed. CO2 injection is currently being done at several sites around the globe today. I have not made up my mind about this legislation, I just thought it was interesting and I look forward to learning more about it.
Last week the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee heard several bills about the challenges of building out broadband to rural areas. If anything has come out of 2020 it is the need for all areas of our state to have fast internet speeds that we can rely on. Our society is moving towards more and more things being done on the internet, not only business meetings, but also telemedicine, educational classes and even farming. It can be very costly to get broadband out to rural areas, but it must be a priority. Telecommunications companies and public power must work together to find a solution that works best for Nebraskans. If you would like to read more on the legislation that has been proposed I would encourage you to look at LB’s 388 and 456 regarding broadband grant programs. There are 2 more bills that deal with broadband if you’re interested you can look at LB 455, pole attachments and LB 520, big cell tower.
Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you might have. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is (402) 471-2805. My office is in room 2108 at the Capitol if you are in the Lincoln area. 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 the session, hearings, and other Capitol events.