Bill Concerning Public Utilities Appeals Advances


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska lawmakers have moved to streamline appeals for anyone who challenges a decision of the commission that regulates utilities, phone companies and taxi services.

The bill advanced on Thursday, 33-8, after an eight-hour filibuster. Opponents say the industry-backed bill would hinder the public's ability to challenge decisions by the Nebraska Public Service Commission.

The measure by Sen. Annette Dubas would send those appeals to the Nebraska Court of Appeals, instead of state district courts. Supporters say the bill is meant to reduce legal costs for attorneys who represent the commission.

Opponents argued that the appeals court can only review the legal record made by the commission. District court judges are allowed to bring in outside experts to use in their decision.