Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Nebraska Legislative Update

NEBRASKA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Halftime!

by Jon Bailey, Center for Rural Affairs, jonb@cfra.org

-- editor's note... the following is excerpted from Jon Bailey's weekly legislative update, to receive a full copy of the update just send me an e-mail - johnc@cfra.org...

March 13th marks the halfway point of the 2007 session. The halfway point of the session is also the deadline for Senators and committees to designate Priority Bills. All Senators and committees designated their Priority Bills by March 9. These designations are important because Priority Bills will make up the bulk of legislative issues that will receive attention during the second half of the session.

Bills Update

Any bill designated a Priority Bill will also have a “P” attached to its number (for example, LB 123P). The chief sponsor of the bill is listed in parentheses. The words Support or Oppose after a bill description indicate where the Center for Rural Affairs has taken a position on the bill.

As bills are killed in committee or become law, they will be deleted from the update.

Rural Development

LB 232P (Dubas) – Modifications to the Building Entrepreneurial Communities Act that was adopted in 2005. The bill is awaiting committee action. Sen. Karpisek designated this as his Priority Bill. Support
LB 498 (White) – Establishes the Business Partnership in Rural Education Program to use donated business tax incentive tax credits to raise funds for projects related to educating students for economic development needs. The bill awaits committee action. Sen. White designated this as his Priority Bill.
LB 567 (Louden) – Establishes the Recreational Liability Act; generally exempts private landowners from liability for the public use of property for recreational purposes. The bill awaits committee action.
LB 609 (Carlson) – Establishes the Nebraska Recruitment Promotion Act, a $100,000 grant program to communities, counties, or regions losing population to develop marketing and promotional materials. A hearing was held on March 5 before the Business and Labor Committee.

Agriculture

LB 69 (Hudkins) – Modifies the state value-added agriculture grant program. The bill was advanced to General File on March 7 by unanimous vote of the Agriculture Committee. The committee amended the bill to omit a proposed 25% set-aside for specialty crops.
LB 46 (Hudkins) – The bill was advanced to General File on March 7 by unanimous vote of the Agriculture Committee. The committee amended the bill to substitute a grape assessment mechanism similar to other commodities.
LB 313 (Natural Resources Committee) – Requires those required to obtain permits for animal feeding operations to comply with the Engineers and Architects Act; it exempts small and medium animal feeding operations. The bill was approved on Final Reading on March 1 by a 31-0 vote and signed into law by the Governor on March 8.
LB 515 (Stuthman) – Would eliminate certain planning and zoning commission public hearings, specifically for conditional use applications by livestock operations. On March 7, the Agriculture Committee voted 7-0 to Indefinitely Postpone (kill) this bill. Oppose
LB 516P (Agriculture Committee) – Establishes the Corporate Farming Policy Advisory Council. The bill is awaiting committee action. The Agriculture Committee designated this as one of its Priority Bills. Oppose
LB 633 (Dierks) – Modifications to the Competitive Livestock Markets Act regulating livestock production and marketing contracts. The bill awaits committee action. Support

Education

LB 234 (Dierks) – Would reestablish Class I schools reorganized or dissolved after November 30, 2005. On February 28, the Education Committee Indefinitely Postponed the bill by unanimous vote. Support
LB 658P (Raikes) – This is the Class I bill advanced by the Education Committee. Speaker Flood also designated it as his Priority Bill. The bill would allow for the creation of new Class I school districts anywhere in the state through a reorganization and election process instituted by individuals or groups of individuals.

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