N-CORPE in the spotlight again

Thursday, February 15, 2018

This past week N-CORPE was in the spotlight again. Senator Groene of North Platte introduced two bills that were heard in the Natural Resources Committee. LB 1123 and 1124 both deal with the N-CORPE project in Lincoln County but could also affect the Rock Creek Project in Dundy County. During the hearing, Senator Groene asked the committee to not take any action on LB 1124 because provisions in LB 758 address the concerns that led to LB 1124.

However, LB 1123 drew a lot of interest and we had several testifiers expressing their thoughts both in favor of and in opposition to the bill.

LB 1123 would allow the sale of the N-CORPE land to private owners. Currently, the land is owned by the N-CORPE group, which is a government entity made up of four natural resources districts. Landowners for a Common Purpose, a Lincoln County group, would like the land to be held by private citizens.

One testifier in the neutral position, Professor Anthony Schutz, a law professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law, explained to the committee some of the legal issues with the bill that could cause problems with Nebraska’s compliance with the Republican River Compact. Senator Groene, in his opening, offered an amendment that would completely replace the original drafted language of the bill, but the language in the amendment still did not fix the concerns of those opposed to the bill.

LB 758 is scheduled for its second round of debate before the full Legislature as I am writing this article. Hopefully by the time you are reading this, it will have been passed from Select File on to Final Reading.

I would like to share that the rules and procedures for the letters for the records have changed. If you were planning to testify on a bill and are unable to attend but wish to have a written position letter included in the official hearing record as an exhibit, the letter must be delivered to the office of the committee chair (or emailed to the committee clerk) of the committee conducting the hearing on the bill by 5:00 p.m. on the last workday prior to the public hearing. Additionally, the letter must state a position of for, against, or neutral on the bill in question and include a request for the letter to be included as part of the public hearing record.

I always enjoy hearing from the Nebraskans I represent. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you might have. My email address is dhughes@leg.ne.gov and my phone number is (402) 471-2805.

You can read more about bills and other work of the Legislature at www.nebraskalegislature.gov, and you can click on the Live Video Streaming NET logo to watch sessions, hearings, and other Capitol events.

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