LINCOLN — Gov. Dave Heineman voiced support Tuesday for a legislative effort to strengthen Nebraska's ability to fight wildfires.
Lawmakers gave first-round approval this week to a bill that would spend $1.7 million on wildfire control measures, including contracts with aviation companies to keep two tanker planes in western Nebraska during fire season. If Legislative Bill 634 passes two more rounds of debate, it would end up on the governor's desk.
“I believe this should be a very high priority for the state,” Heineman said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters.
Heineman didn't say whether he thought lawmakers should refrain from amending the $1.7 million fiscal note currently attached to the bill. That number could change as senators sort through budget decisions.
With the state mired in drought and on the heels of a record wildfire year that burned 500,000 acres, lawmakers voted 36-0 Monday to advance LB 634 to the second round of debate. Sen. Al Davis of Hyannis authored the bill, which has eight cosponsors.
No senators spoke against the bill Monday, but some warned that it will have to compete with other proposals seeking new funding.
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