Natural Resources

Natural resources omnibus bill clears final round

A package of bills related to natural resources, including one that allows for an online hunting and fishing guide and outfitter database, received final approval from senators April 11.

Sen. Bruce Bostelman
Sen. Bruce Bostelman

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

Also included in LB867 are the provisions of six other bills heard by the Natural Resources Committee this session.

The amended provisions of LB866, also sponsored by Bostelman, eliminate a requirement that at least one member of the Nebraska Power Review Board be an accountant and increase the number of consecutive terms a member may serve from two to three.

The bill allows no more than one person who has been a director, officer or employee of any electric utility or an elective state officer to serve on the board at the same time.

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

The amended provisions of LB868, introduced by Bostelman, extend the Petroleum Release Remedial Action Cash Fund’s sunset date from June 30, 2024, to June 30, 2028. They also 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, 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 are valid only on Veterans Day in the year in which they are issued.

The amended provisions of LB1001, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Danielle Conrad, require the commission to establish a migratory waterfowl hunting season for veterans and members of the armed forces during which those individuals may 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, require the commission to offer an annual park entry permit to active-duty military members who are stationed in Nebraska. The fee is $5, regardless of residency.

Finally, the provisions of LB636, introduced by Thurston Sen. Joni Albrecht, prohibit political subdivisions from enacting any ordinance or other policy that restricts or prohibits the types or fuel sources of energy that natural gas utilities, natural gas transmission companies and certain other entities may use or deliver to serve customers.

LB867 passed on a vote of 47-0 and takes effect immediately.

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