Hughes' Views: Senator gearing up for 2019 session

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I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving weekend spent with family and friends. Now that it is December, things in Lincoln are beginning to gear up quickly. I have spent the last week meeting with people about future legislative work and finishing some interim hearings for the committees I serve. 

I would like to give a short update on some things I will be finishing up before the 2019 session starts on Wednesday, Jan. 9.

On Nov. 30, the Natural Resources Committee held its second interim hearing. It was held in Omaha and dealt with public power in the state.

LR 464, introduced by Senator Wayne of Omaha, wanted to discuss many aspects of public power. Net metering was the only topic of interest from the lone citizen testifier.

Currently, Nebraska’s net metering law allows someone who has a private electrical generation to contribute as much as 25 kW toward their own power consumption without paying any fee to be connected to the grid. 

Since wind and solar generation remains inconsistent, and therefore unreliable, anyone with wind or solar must have access to the power grid to have power available at all times. 

Some people in the state want to raise that cap to 100 kW without paying the connection fee. That ultimately means those not using private electrical generation will be forced to pay more to maintain the lines, transformers, and personnel costs.

On Monday, Dec. 17, I will be in two separate hearings for the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. 

In the morning, we will be hearing from the Nebraska Department of Transportation on their annual needs. 

Then in the afternoon, we will be talking about LR 424, introduced by Senator Friesen of Henderson. 

The resolution was created to study a comprehensive list of issues related to autonomous vehicles. Some of the issues to be looked at include, vehicle classifications, testing, safety standards, and cyber-security.

As the final weeks of 2018 come to close, I am looking forward to the year ahead. As you begin to travel for the holidays I urge you all to stay safe and updated on weather conditions. Winters in Nebraska are never predictable so make sure to use caution as you travel.

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.

Read more about bills and other work of the Legislature at www.nebraskalegislature.gov. Click on the Live Video Streaming NET logo to watch sessions, hearings, and other Capitol events.

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.

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