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LB 19 changes lab certifications

Bill LB19 -- "Change Provisions Relating to Laboratory Certification Under the Nebraska Safe Drinking Water Act" -- was introduced in the latest session of the Nebraska Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Ricketts on March 3rd, 2016.

It will require the DHHS to set standards to certify independent laboratories for water parameter testing, including compliance testing. Previously, the law stated that DHHS may certify other labs. The bill now requires the director to set certification standards for these tests. In the past, DHHS had chosen not to certify other labs for several reasons involving issues like funding and consistency of results. The bill passed 41-0.

The bill may lower overall testing costs in the future as more labs are certified and competition drives the price down. The effect of fewer tests being done by the DHHS lab (and thus less income) is uncertain. The legislature estimated the lab may lose $100,000 in income as a result of passage.