LINCOLN, NEBRASKA – The Center for Rural Affairs applauds Nebraska lawmakers for their support of legislation that reduces overregulation in the food truck industry, promotes entrepreneurship, and provides consumers with safe and affordable dining options.
Originally introduced by Sen. Tony Vargas as Legislative Bill (LB) 740, the provisions were added as an amendment (AM 1563) to LB 562, which was approved by the Nebraska Legislature on Tuesday.
“Mobile food businesses bring variety to communities across Nebraska, but a convoluted set of rules and regulations are creating artificial barriers to their success,” said Johnathan Hladik, policy director for the Center. “Tuesday’s action not only removes many of these barriers, but shows the Legislature's willingness to support businesses of every size.”
The legislation encourages the use of reciprocity agreements between agencies issuing health inspection permits for food trucks in Nebraska and requires the Nebraska Department of Agriculture to host an online registry listing the ordinances or requirements of every municipality in Nebraska that chooses to regulate food trucks.
Vargas said with a patchwork of regulations established by local and state governments, it has become difficult and costly for entrepreneurs to navigate and become profitable.
“These same operators often operate in multiple cities, so these differences greatly impact their ability to conduct business and remain profitable,” the senator said.
An interim legislative study, introduced by Sen. Ray Aguilar last summer, found more than 620 rules and regulations established by cities, counties, and health departments across the state. Vargas said AM 1563 is a significant step toward finding solutions to maintain health and safety, respecting local control, and recognizing the rights of the food industry.
Hladik thanked members of the agriculture committee for their unanimous vote to bring the bill to the floor and Sen. Myron Dorn for supporting the amendment.
The Nebraska Grocery Industry Association, the Nebraska Hospitality Association, the Platte Institute, Americans for Prosperity, Nebraska Farmers Union, and the Public Health Association of Nebraska also supported the legislation.
The bill now awaits Gov. Jim Pillen’s signature.
Feature photo: Sen. Tony Vargas addresses members of the Nebraska Legislature's Agriculture Committee during a hearing earlier this year. | Photo by Teresa Hoffman