County Visitors Promotion Fund requirement advanced

A bill that would place restrictions on how money from the County Visitors Promotion Fund could be spent was advanced from general file Jan. 23.

Currently, if county attractions do not require improvement, the county’s governing body may use the money to promote attractions in the county. Under LB215, introduced by Ogallala Sen. Ken Schilz, the governing body would be required to use the funds to promote, encourage and attract visitors to the county.

Schilz said the bill is simple but important to tourism in Nebraska.

“When we do spend these dollars, we need to ensure they’re spent in a way that brings tourists to town,” he said. “If [the spending] is questioned, we need to be able to defend it. These are tax dollars being spent for the benefit of the members of the community.”

Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist supported the bill, saying it would protect tourism in the state.

“Without this bill, we could jeopardize the successful promoting and hosting of out-of-state tourists,” he said.

Following the adoption of two technical amendments, senators advanced the bill to select file on a 34-0 vote.

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