Attorney General Doug Peterson has already made changes in the Attorney General’s office after taking over for long-time Attorney General Jon Bruning.
Peterson has created a new bureau: Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources to, among other things, take on what he sees as the regulatory over-reach of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“So they develop their own rules and regulations and broaden their scope of authority,” Peterson tells Nebraska Radio Network. “And, they’ve taken the biggest reach with this definition of Waters of the U.S. It used to be pretty commonly understood that that was a limited scope of jurisdiction and now they’re broadening it.”
Peterson has returned to a Capitol office in which he worked for three years, from 1988 to 1990 under Attorney General Robert Spire. Peterson says Spire modeled what a public servant should look like. Peterson left the office for the private sector, but says he became reflective in his 50s, asking himself how he wanted to finish his career.
The new attorney general says he wants the office to become the best legal counsel the state can have. He says an experienced staff will provide strong law enforcement services to rural Nebraska counties handling difficult criminal cases. Peterson says Nebraska consumers will receive aid from the Consumer Protection bureau. And the new bureau will focus on issues especially important to an agricultural state.
Peterson has a limited legislative agenda, much smaller than the ambitious plans offered every legislation session by Attorney General Bruning. Peterson says that might well disclose more of a difference in background than philosophy. He says Bruning, coming from the legislation, naturally was legislation-minded.
As for Peterson, he will move to crack down on marijuana and synthetic marijuana as well as human trafficking.
“I cared throughout the campaign and before the campaign about the human trafficking issue and I saw that Nebraska had a problem,” Peterson says. “So that’s something I wanted to address immediately and that’s why we proposed the LB on human trafficking.”
The anti-marijuana bill grew out of talks Peterson had with county attorneys.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]