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Nebraska Cattlemen Select Priority Bills for the 2019 Legislative Session *AUDIO*

Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) Board of Directors met this week in Lincoln for their annual legislative meeting. NC’s six policy committees brought attention to bills and resolutions recently introduced in the Nebraska Legislature that are of interest to Nebraska beef producers.

Under close review and in accordance with NC Policy, the Board of Directors considered and took positions on nearly 90 pieces of legislation and choose three bills as priorities for this legislative session.

Once again, NC board members went into this legislative meeting acknowledging the immediate need for property tax relief and reform in the State. Nebraska Cattlemen chose to support and prioritize LB 497 by Senator Curt Friesen. The bill is the product of much work and discussion during the interim with senators and agricultural interest groups who have heard the outcry for property tax relief from constituents and members. LB 497 contains many provisions to address the inequity in school funding statewide and the over reliance on property tax dollars. NC policy aligns with provisions of the bill and the association looks forward to working with the Legislature to pass reform in 2019.

After much discussion about agricultural challenges across the country, NC took a position to support and prioritize LB 227, introduced by Senator Dan Hughes. The bill would strengthen existing nuisance protections for Nebraska agriculture operations under the Nebraska “Right to Farm Act”. Nebraska Cattlemen worked directly with Senator Hughes to add new terminology regarding changes to agricultural operations while still following all local zoning laws and regulatory permitting requirements. NC strongly believes this bill is important for livestock expansion and economic development in Nebraska and will continue to work with Senator Hughes on the bill’s progression.

Lastly, NC choose to support and prioritize LB 660 by Senator Tom Brewer. This bill will change the provisions relating to the executive director and chief investigator of the Nebraska Brand Committee. NC has worked with the Nebraska Brand Committee to clarify duties of staff in the best interest of the Nebraska cattle industry.

“We had a great discussion this year on numerous bills and issues that we face as an industry. As in years past, property tax relief is at the top of the list and something our organization continues to be passionate about. We will continue to work diligently with the Legislature and Governor Pete Ricketts to help fix this issue for all Nebraskans and encourage action to implementing a definitive plan” said Ken Herz, Chairman of NC Legislative Committee.

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