Day two of the special legislative session
By: Megan Palera
The governor called the special session but did not introduce a bill himself. Now lawmakers are left to write their own, and with three already in the works, many lawmakers say keep them coming.
It was another quick work day for lawmakers at the state capitol. Two more bills were introduced, Senator Bill Avery drawing one up to deal with eminent domain. “They sent a letter saying here is the letter. You have thirty days to accept if. If you do not accept the offer within thirty days, we will begin eminent domain proceedings, and we will take your land. That they cannot do without a permit. That is intimidation. It's wrong and I want to stop it,” says Avery.
Senator Chris Langemeir also introduced a bill similar to the one Senator Dubas introduced Tuesday. He wants to see Governor Heinman have the final say on a permit for TransCanada's 1,700 mile oil pipeline. Senator Langemier says, “This is a narrow, narrow path that we're trying to go down in Nebraska and so we've got to make sure we flush out all those opportunities.”
There are now three bills, all different, but all the same in that the senators behind them hope to keep the Keystone XL Pipeline out of the Sandhills of Nebraska, and away from the Ogallala Aquifer. TransCanada says it's too late in the game for them to re-route it. They still need a permit from the federal government and President Obama just announced he'll be the one to make the final decision.
Senator Tony Fulton now makes this plea to the president, “We're down here in a special session, spending valuable taxpayer resources to deal with something that has pitted Nebraskan against Nebraskan. The President can make this go away by simply saying they'll move the route outside the Sandhills.”
The big question still on everyone's mind is can lawmakers get the 33 votes needed to enact legislation, right now that's still a coin toss.