One bill has been filed in the special legislative session, so far. Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton has revised a bill she introduced earlier, seeking to address concerns about the original version’s constitutionality. It is LB1.
“I’m comfortable with the bill in the way it’s drafted, that we have covered those particular legal challenges and just looking forward to the hearing and the debate on the floor,” Dubas told reporters after the brief session at the Capitol opening the special session.
Dubas’ bill would authorize the Public Service Commission to evaluate and approve oil pipeline applications. She points out that wouldn’t necessarily force TransCanada to move the Keystone XL pipeline away from the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer, but would give the state more power over the decision.
Dubas had circulated a draft earlier to all 49 senators in the Nebraska Unicameral. Questions arose about whether it would pass a court test. Dubas said she stripped references to safety, operation and maintenance; all provinces of the federal government. She said she believes it avoids conflicts with the Commerce Clause, because it establishes broad policy, not specific prohibitions against the Keystone XL pipeline.
More bills could be filed today when the legislature reconvenes. They likely head to the Natural Resources Committee, which hasn’t been kind to similar legislation in the past. Dubas said she expects her bill to be assigned to that committee and added that would be appropriate, because the committee has wrestled with the issue in the past.