Hughes' Views: Natural Resource Committee hearings wrapping up

We are now to the point in session where all my bills have been heard in committee, and many have been scheduled for general file. 

There are still some being decided upon by committees, which we are monitoring closely. I will select my priority bill by March 19. Selecting a bill as a priority ensures that it will be heard and debated on the floor, as long as it has been advanced by the committee of jurisdiction. 

There are many considerations for designating a priority bill. First, I want to select a bill I feel strongly about. I also want to select a bill that has a strong chance to be successful on the floor during debate. 

On the committee side, the Natural Resources committee hearings are wrapping up. LB367 was heard by the committee without much discussion last Thursday, as anticipated. That bill made small changes to the Nebraska Litter Reduction and Recycling Act. It extends the deadline of the act to September 2025, and eliminates a sentence in statute which allowed transfers from this self-generated fund to the general fund. 

The bills coming up in Natural Resources this week are LB606, LB285 and LB509. 

LB606 is a bill introduced by Senator Groene giving Natural Resources districts the authority to develop water augmentation projects for improving the flow of water. 

LB285 is a McCollister bill related to appropriations, and intends to provide state funds for a study of the Nebraska Power Review Board and to create public policy related to it. That bill also specifies that it will create an emergency, so the funds are appropriated and the study actually happens. 

Lastly, LB509, another McCollister bill, changes a definition in statute related to customer-generated power, net-metering and what a qualified facility is. It’s a technical bill. I believe the overall goal is to allow power utilities freedom in rate-making as more and more customer-generators pop up and enter the power market.

Finally, we will welcome 100 fourth, fifth and sixth graders from the district to the Capitol this week. Perkins County Schools is bringing down their fourth graders and Medicine Valley Schools is bringing their fourth, fifth and sixth graders. Preparations for this and other visits began many weeks ago, and we are ready!

If you would like to speak directly to me about legislative issues, join the Great Plains conference call Tuesday at 7 a.m. MT and McCook Chamber Conference call Thursday at 7 a.m. MT. 

I always enjoy hearing from the Nebraskans I represent. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you might have. 

My email address is dhughes@leg.ne.gov and my phone number is (402) 471-2805. 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 sessions, hearings, and other Capitol events.

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

308-352-4311 (Phone)
308-352-4101 (Fax)

PO Box 67
327 Central Ave in Grant
Grant NE 69140