The Nebraska Legislature's Agriculture Committee voted 7-1 to advance LB 128 introduced by Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers. The bill would repeal the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act, which placed authority for managing prairie dogs with Nebraska's counties.

Chambers said the management act does not take into account that prairie dogs are indigenous to Nebraska and an important part of the state’s ecosystem. Instead, he said, the act was modeled on noxious weed laws, which are designed to completely eradicate invasive species.

John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, testified in support of the bill. The act that it would repeal leads to a “heavy-handed” approach to prairie dog management and puts a strain on counties and on relationships between neighbors, he said.