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CATTLE TODAY

NEBRASKA CATTLEMEN APPLAUDS SEN. HANSEN FOR PRIORITIZING ANIMAL DRUG BILL

(February 12, 2008) LINCOLN, NE – Nebraska Cattlemen is applauding Sen. Tom Hansen, North Platte, for selecting LB 1022 as his priority bill. The proposed legislation would allow veterinary drug distributors to obtain a state license to sell animal prescription drugs to producers and veterinarians.

The bill under consideration by the Health and Human Services Committee is one of four Nebraska Cattlemen NC had selected as its priorities during this session of the Nebraska Legislature. The NC Board selected the priorities after NC leaders and staff evaluated 189 of 485 bills and legislative resolutions. The Board received recommendations from its Legislative Committee and then took positions on 118 of the bills and decided to designate four of them as priorities.

LB 1022 is a priority for the Cattlemen because in 2005, LB 256 revised the Nebraska Pharmacy Act and in 2006, LB 994 revised the Wholesale Drug Distributor Licensing Act. The revision of these two acts focused on human drugs in an effort to curtail counterfeiting and illegal distribution. The unintended consequence left those who handle veterinary drugs without statutory authority to purchase, posses and sell items in the state as they have, in some cases, for four decades. Prior to the statutory revisions, these entities were subject to licensure, inspection and oversight by the Department of Health and Human Services. This act would create a new class of license exclusive to those who handle only veterinary drugs.

“It is important that legitimate distributors have authority to sell and deliver veterinary drugs directly to livestock producers,” NC President Larry Smith, Ashland, said. Food safety is a paramount concern to the livestock industry in Nebraska and livestock producers have a regular need of professional veterinary care and the judicious use of pharmaceuticals for the prevention and treatment of animal diseases. Without LB 1022, livestock producers would be unable to legally buy prescription drugs from distributors, Smith said.

In addition to pushing for approval of LB 1022, NC leaders and staff have been busy testifying at hearings and talking with senators and other concerned groups about a range of bills that could impact cattle producers. On Feb. 4, NC testified in support of LB 961, which would provide for transfers of funds from state reserves to provide property tax relief. The bill, introduced by Senator Mike Flood, Speaker of the Legislature at the request of Governor Dave Heineman, would increase property tax relief from $115 to $190 million. NC believes property tax relief will occur this session. While LB 961 may not be the ultimate vehicle for property tax relief, the NC Board decided it was the best bill to support for significant property tax relief.

The Nebraska Cattlemen association serves as the representative for the state's beef cattle industry and represents professional cattle breeders, ranchers and feeders, as well as 48 county and local cattlemen's associations. Its headquarters are in Lincoln and second office in Alliance serves cattlemen in western Nebraska.

This and other Nebraska Cattlemen information is available at www.nebraskacattlemen.org.

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