Addressing climate change does not seem to be much on the minds of the Legislature this year (after year). One exception will get a public hearing Monday February 11 when the legislature’s Executive Board hears testimony on Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks proposal LB 283.
283 would direct the University to develop a “ strategic action plan” to find ways of adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change in the state. The plan, not to exceed more than $250 thousand, would be due 12/15/20. It would be funded through the Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Fund. That fund comes primarily from tire and landfill fees and generates 3-4 million dollars annually. It gave out more than 4 million in grants to local communities in 2017 so it seems like it could afford this one time expense.
Coincidentally (or not) LB 367, which extends the Fund another 5 years, would prohibit the Legislature from transferring money out of that fund to the General Fund. Now maybe this can be read as protecting the recycling fund from Senators trying to balance the state budget. I don’t have info on whether it’s been raided before. But, it also might be used to prevent funding for 283 which would be harder to pass with a straight up appropriation by a tax fearing legislature. As bills are numbered chronologically 283 came first and so it is possible that that part of 367 is in response. Regardless, this appropriation is going to look like pretty small potatoes before very long if elected representatives at all levels don’t get serious about global warming today .
The hearing starts at noon in Room 1525 of the state capitol. If you can’t make it but want to express your thoughts you need to email them to the chair of the Executive Board, firstname.lastname@example.org, by 5pm Friday Feb 8th. If you do go and arrive right at noon you get the bonus of also hearing testimony on designating corn as the state vegetable.