Once the Unicameral goes into session, my thoughts go to advocacy. How can we as an organization better advocate for those issues we believe are important? Audubon Society of Omaha has been tracking three main topics:
1. Conservation Easements, where no legislation has been introduced;
2. The Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET), where changes have been proposed to the manner in which education monies are spent; and
3. Platte River issues, which we continue to monitor.
Public meetings surrounding NET and Title 137 Rules and Regulations Governing Activities of the Nebraska Environmental Trust took place from October through December last year. When the executive order is finalized, the proposed regulations will be placed on public notice for a hearing before the Nebraska Environmental Trust. I urge everyone to familiarize themselves with Title 137 and then watch for information on the NET public notice and hearing, and both attend and speak at the hearing.
I urge you all to contact your lawmakers to urge them to support or defeat specific bills you feel passionate about. When you are writing or calling, there are some basic guidelines to follow.
1. Keep the letter to one topic. Be direct, concise and courteous.
2. Let the lawmaker know how the issue affects you.
3. Let the lawmaker know you live and vote in his or her state/district.
4. Ask for a reply — you want to know your legislator’s position on the issue.
Advocacy is important and something we all can take part in as we look to protect our native ecosystems and restore nature-friendly environments in the greater Omaha area. We can all monitor the issues and stay informed, write letters to the editor, contact our senator, and, lastly, get others involved. Let’s make a positive change for our environment!
TIP: Many legislative bills only allow online comments. Find bills and their status at nebraskalegislature.gov/bills. Send comments at least 24 hours before the bill’s hearing.
Photo of Glacier Creek Prairie Preserve by Thomas B. Bragg