Debate over prairie dogs likely took up a disproportionate amount of floor time this legislative session.
Legislators eventually approved Legislative Bill 449, which repealed the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act.
Now, Gov. Pete Ricketts has vetoed it.
“This legislation repeals the authority of counties to prevent the spread of prairie dogs when an individual landowner refuses to implement effective control measures on his property,” Gov. Ricketts said in a written statement released by his office. “My primary concern with LB 449 is that it fails to protect the individual property rights of those landowners who are detrimentally harmed by a neighbor’s inaction. This bill has been represented to be a landowner protection bill; however, repeal of these statutes would actually infringe on the property rights of responsible landowners.”
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha made it his mission this session to repeal the 2012 law, calling it poorly written and an infringement of private property rights, claiming the law gave counties unconstitutional power to eradicate prairie dog colonies deemed invasive without consent of the property owners.
LB 449 passed 26-13-10 on the final day of the session.
LB 449 was one of three bills vetoed by Gov. Ricketts.
Ricketts also spiked LB 873, a bill which carried several provisions. Ricketts, in his veto letter, states he agrees with much of the bill, but cannot support the expansion of land banks in Nebraska beyond the Omaha metropolitan area.
Ricketts also vetoed LB 998, which would authorize Educational Service Units at Nebraska public schools to use $3.6 million in private funds to hire social workers. Ricketts writes in his veto message that while the goal of the bill is noble, it is not needed because private foundations can directly provide money to ESUs for that purpose.
Read Ricketts veto messages by clicking here.