Why It Matters: Nebraska’s 2023 legislative session provided many challenges as a near session-long filibuster ultimately blocked many proposed bills from being debated. Despite this hurdle, The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) was successful in securing legislative victories that protect the investments in conservation made by sportsmen and women and provide greater resources for future conservation work which will benefit all Nebraskans, fish and wildlife, and habitats.
- Nebraska Legislative Bill 398 (LB 398) would have changed current statue to require the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) to make payments in lieu of taxes on all properties ever acquired by the Commission. CSF successfully testified in opposition to this bill, which failed as the session adjourned.
- Nebraska Legislative Bill 565 (LB 565) increases the price of several nonresident hunting and fishing licenses that the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission offers. This critical increase in conservation dollars will advance the already strong legacy of sportsmen-generated conservation impacts within the state that benefit all Nebraskans and fish and wildlife.
On June 1, the Nebraska legislative session adjourned for 2023. Due to a filibuster that lasted nearly all session, many bills failed to make any progress as they never made it to the floor for debate. Despite this, CSF worked with the Nebraska Legislative Sportsmen’s Forum and in-state partners to secure several critical victories.
Nebraska Legislative Bill 398 would have amended the current statute to require NGPC to make payments in lieu of taxes for all property ever acquired by the Commission at a rate equivalent to the highest and best use of each property. Currently, NGPC makes payments in lieu of taxes for all properties acquired after 1977. CSF submitted formal testimony to The Revenue Committee in opposition to LB 398, highlighting that the bill would create an unnecessarily large financial burden on NGPC which would pull resources away from their critically important conservation work that is substantially funded by sportsmen and women through the “user pays – public benefits” American System of Conservation Funding. Requiring a payment for back taxes on existing properties would also essentially freeze any new acquisitions as well as any efforts to make improvements on existing holdings to the detriment of all Nebraskans, our fish and wildlife resources, and their habitats. LB 398 failed to advance during the legislative session and was officially killed as the session adjourned.
Nebraska Legislative Bill 565 was introduced by Nebraska Legislative Sportsmen’s Forum Chair, Senator Bostelman. LB 565 successfully passed through the unicameral legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. This bill addresses multiple items, but most importantly, it increases the price on a variety of nonresident hunting and fishing licenses that NGPC has to offer. The cost associated with natural resource management is increasing yearly and ensuring that license prices keep up with inflation helps state fish and game agencies continue their work of providing quality recreational opportunities while successfully managing the Cornhusker state’s public trust resources for future generations. Within the bill, there are price increases on several nonresident permits: annual hunting permits are increased from $106 to $138, two-day hunting permits increased from $75 to $95, one-day fishing permits increased from $12 to $15, three-day fishing permits increased from $22 to $29, and annual fishing permits increased from $159 to $207.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds the members of the Nebraska Legislative Sportsmen’s Forum and our in-state partners for their work in promoting pro-sportsmen and women legislation despite the challenging conditions and gridlock that were present in this year’s legislative session.