Natural Resources

Natural resources omnibus bill advanced

A proposal to create an online hunting and fishing guide and outfitter database received first-round approval March 7 after lawmakers amended it to include several other bills related to natural resources.

Sen. Bruce Bostelman
Sen. Bruce Bostelman

Under LB867, introduced by Sen. Bruce Bostelman of Brainard, the state Game and Parks Commission would charge a registration fee to administer the database. Applicants who meet the bill’s requirements would be placed in the database for three years.

Among those requirements is that an applicant could not have been convicted of a felony or violated state or federal game law within three years prior to application.

Under a Natural Resources Committee amendment, adopted 26-0, an applicant also could not have had their privilege or right to hunt or fish suspended in Nebraska, another state or a state participating in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

Bostelman said the database would give hunters and anglers a list of “trusted” businesses that comply with state and federal laws.

Also included in the amendment are the provisions of five other bills heard by the committee this session.

The amended provisions of LB866, also sponsored by Bostelman, are intended to address concerns about succession planning, continuity and technical expertise on the five-member Nebraska Power Review Board, he said.

They would increase the number of consecutive terms a member could serve from two to three and eliminate the requirement that at least one member be an accountant.

Under current law, no one may serve on the board who has been a director, officer or employee of any electric utility or an elective state officer within four years preceding their appointment.

LB866 would allow no more than one person with that background to serve on the board at the same time. A member who previously served as a director, officer or employee of an electric utility could not take action in any proceeding before the board that involves the utility for four years after the member leaves that position.

The proposal also would increase the per diem for most board members from $60 to $100 per day and increase the cap on total annual pay from $6,000 to $7,000.

The amended provisions of LB868, introduced by Bostelman, would extend the Petroleum Release Remedial Action Cash Fund’s sunset date from June 30, 2024, to June 30, 2028. They also would direct investment earnings to the fund and repeal a provision allowing transfers to the state’s General Fund.

The amended provisions of LB971, sponsored by Sen. Loren Lippincott of Central City, would require the state Game and Parks Commission to issue upon application a free, one-day hunting permit, habitat stamp and Nebraska migratory waterfowl stamp to any veteran who is a Nebraska resident and was discharged or separated under honorable conditions.

The permit and stamps would be valid only on Veterans Day in the year in which they are issued.

The amended provisions of LB1001, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Danielle Conrad, would require the commission to establish a migratory waterfowl hunting season for veterans and members of the armed forces during which those individuals could hunt as long as they have a valid hunting permit and all required stamps.

The amended provisions of LB1406, sponsored by Sen. Rita Sanders of Bellevue, would require the commission to offer an annual park entry permit to active-duty military members who are stationed in Nebraska. The fee would be $5, regardless of residency.

LB867 advanced to select file on a vote of 30-0.

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