Key Bills Heard by Committees, Priority Bill Moves Forward

A big step toward victory on property tax relief was taken this week with the Legislature voting to advance LB 723 to Select File. LB 723 (Briese) addresses the refundable income tax credit created in 2020 by LB 1107 and ensures a floor of $548 million under the tax credits. Before the vote was taken to move the bill on to the next level, Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) delivered a letter of support to every senator on behalf of the agricultural leaders.

This is a great progression, and we appreciated all the members of Nebraska Farm Bureau that reached out to senators in support of this bill. When the debate on Select File will take place is yet to be known. That depends on when Speaker Hilgers decides to schedule it. When we know, we will let you know.  

Several committees also met and debated bills this week that affect agriculture and rural Nebraska. LB 1014, the bill laying out all the governor’s priorities for COVID-19 relief dollars (ARPA), was heard in the Appropriations Committee and Nebraska Farm Bureau testified in support of several sections of that bill. A few of those priorities include meat processing infrastructure, building and site development, workforce housing grants, workforce development, and drinking water projects.

In the Agricultural Committee, LB 848, which allows counties to better respond to livestock mortality emergency events, was heard. The Nebraska Pork Producers and Nebraska Cattlemen testified in support on our behalf as well as for the rest of the agricultural leaders.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau State Legislative Policy Committee met Thursday, Jan. 27 to review important bills that will come before the Legislature this year. Their recommendations will be considered by the NEFB board or directors this upcoming Monday, Jan.31.

Farm Bureau Applauds Supreme Court Decision to Hear Clean Water Act Case

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall commented this week on the U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which challenges EPA’s overreach of its Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

“AFBF is pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the important issue of what constitutes ‘Waters of the U.S.’ (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. Farmers and ranchers share the goal of protecting the resources they’re entrusted with, but they shouldn’t need a team of lawyers to farm their land. We hope this case will bring more clarity to water regulations.

“In light of today’s decision, we call on EPA to push pause on its plan to write a new WOTUS rule until it has more guidance on which waters fall under federal jurisdiction. For the past 10 years, Farm Bureau has led the charge on elevating the issue of government overreach in water regulations. The goal is simple, clean water and clear rules.”

Farmers and ranchers want clean water, and they need clear rules. Visit now to ask EPA to withdraw this rule and return the clarity and common sense provided under the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

California Ruling on Prop 12 Highlights Need for Supreme Court Review

The Superior Court for Sacramento County in California will halt enforcement of Proposition 12 because the California Department of Food and Agriculture is more than two years late finalizing regulations outlining what is expected of pork producers. The ruling delays enforcement until 180 days after the final rules go into effect.

“AFBF is pleased the Sacramento County Superior Court recognized that the state of California has rushed implementation of Proposition 12 without clear rules on how it will be enforced. California voters were told the law would improve animal welfare and food safety, but it fails to accomplish either of those goals,” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said.

“Today’s ruling is another example of inherent flaws in Proposition 12. Besides putting unfair pressure on retailers, it takes away farmers’ flexibility to ensure hogs are raised in a safe environment. Small farms across the country will be forced to make expensive and unnecessary changes to their operations, which will lead to more consolidation and higher food prices for all of America’s families. It’s imperative that the Supreme Court address the constitutionality of Proposition 12. The laws of one state should not set the rules for an entire nation.”

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