Increased game law damages, records exemption for public power approved

Lawmakers gave final approval April 6 to a bill that was amended to include several bills related to natural resources, including a provision that allows public power utilities to withhold information that could give competitors an advantage.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist23' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Bruce Bostelman'>Sen. Bruce Bostelman</a>
Sen. Bruce Bostelman

LB1008, introduced by Brainard Sen. Bruce Bostelman, increases the amounts of liquidated damages for a person who illegally sells, purchases, takes or possesses certain wildlife.

It increases damages for:
mountain sheep from $15,000 to $25,000;
elk with a minimum of 12 points from $5,000 to $10,000 and from $1,500 to $3,000 for all other elk;
whitetail deer with a minimum of eight points and a spread between beams of at least 16 inches from $5,000 to $10,000;
all other antlered whitetail deer from $1,000 to $2,000;
antlerless whitetail deer and whitetail doe deer from $250 to $500;
mule deer with a minimum of eight total points and a spread between beams of at least 22 inches from $5,000 to $10,000 and for all other mule deer from $1,000 to $2,000;
mountain lions, lynx, bobcats, river otters or raw pelt from $500 to $5,000; and
wild turkeys from $100 to $500.

The bill includes provisions of four other bills heard by the Natural Resources Committee this session.

LB713, introduced by Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard, increases compensation of those serving on the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates the oil and natural gas exploration and production industry in the state. It raises the per diem for commissioners from $50 to $400 and increases the annual compensation cap from $2,000 to $4,000.

LB820, introduced by Venango Sen. Dan Hughes, authorizes the Nebraska Power Review Board to assess a $500 fine on a private electric supplier that begins construction on a renewable energy generation facility less than 30 days before notifying the board of its intent.

LB762, also sponsored by Hughes, extends the sunset date for the state’s scrap tire grant program from 2019 to 2024.

Also included is LB822, which the committee replaced with an amendment authorizing the public power industry and the Nebraska Power Review Board to withhold competitive or proprietary information that would give an advantage to business competitors.

The bill defines such information as that which “a reasonable person, knowledgeable of the electric utility industry, could conclude gives an advantage to business competitors.”

The bill passed on a vote of 42-4.

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