Gov. Dave Heineman has signed into law the brand surcharge bill passed by the Nebraska Legislature May 5. The measure, LB 181, passed with a 45-0 vote.
Michael Kelsey, executive vice president of the Nebraska Cattlemen, says the association kept a close eye on the measure, LB 181, during the session. It would allow a surcharge to be implemented by the Nebraska Brand Committee in order to make up for traveling expenses incurred by inspectors.
Now that the governor has signed the bill into law, the Nebraska Brand Committee will have to write the rules and regulations to implement it. They will begin that discussion at the committee's June 3 meeting.
A public hearing will take place to allow public input regarding the rule before the law is implemented.
State Sen. Tom Hansen of North Platte introduced LB 181 and made it his priority bill. This bill was voted on by Nebraska Cattlemen membership to also be a priority bill. Nebraska Cattlemen members are concerned about the Nebraska Brand Committee's ability to financially meet travel expenses with rising fuel prices, Kelsey says.
"Brand inspection has been in place since 1940 and has been administered very well by producers all these years," says Hansen. "They have been frugal with their policies and as lawmakers we see the need to keep this agency fiscally viable."
As written, the measure permits the committee to add up to a $20 surcharge per location to the brand inspection fee to cover travel expenses incurred by brand inspectors.
LB 181's accompanying appropriation bill, which provides $50,000 from the Nebraska Brand Inspection and Theft Prevention Fund to implement the surcharge, also passed 45-0.