A bill that would remove obstacles to better constituent representation by members of Central’s board of directors was passed by the Nebraska Legislature on Aug. 3 and signed into law by the governor.
Specifically, LB1055 would allow members of a public power and irrigation district’s board to represent the interests of their constituents when it comes to discussing and providing input on matters related to standard form water service agreements and lot leases at District-owned property near Johnson Lake and Lake McConaughy, if a board member also holds such an agreement with Central.
Sen. Matt Williams (Dist. 36, Gothenburg) introduced LB1136 which contained the necessary changes to the Accountability and Disclosure Act.
The bill was amended into LB1055, which was introduced by Sen. Tom Brewer (Dist. 43, Gordon), that changes provisions regarding elections and the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act. Three other bills were also amended into LB1055 and the bill was designated as one of two priority bills by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, of which Sen. Brewer is the chairman.
Central’s board members are now allowed to have an interest in a con-tract with the district. They will still be required to disclose a potential conflict of interest to the Accountability and Disclosure Commission and abstain from voting on the agreements in question.
Board members will, however, be free to discuss and provide input to their fellow board members about said agreements, thus allowing them to more properly represent constituents who elected them to the board.
The bill also repeals another section of law to eliminate the prohibition against a member of certain boards from having an interest in a con-tract with the governmental entity. This is an unusual provision rooted in events which took place more than 80 years ago during the formation and construction of public power and irrigation districts.
Finally, the bill eliminates the previous possibility that board members with lease agreements or water service agreements could be removed from the board if they are party to certain contracts.
Central and its constituents would like to thank Sens. Williams and Brewer for their efforts to secure passage of LB1055/LB1136 and members of the Legislature who voted in favor of the bill.