(1) One or more qualified industry organizations, which in the aggregate represent at least thirty-five percent of the total volume of odorized propane sold at retail in the State of Nebraska, may conduct a referendum among retail marketers for the creation of the Propane Education and Research Council. The organization conducting the referendum shall pay the cost of the referendum. If the council is established, the council shall reimburse the organization for the costs incurred by the independent accounting firm under subsection (2) of this section and any other costs for the referendum incurred which the council finds reasonable and necessary.
(2) The referendum shall be conducted by an independent accounting firm selected by the qualified industry organization initiating the referendum. Each retail marketer voting in the referendum shall be allowed one vote for each gallon of retail odorized propane sold by such retail marketer within the State of Nebraska in the previous calendar year or other specified representative period. All persons voting in the referendum shall certify to the independent accounting firm the volume of odorized propane represented by their votes. This information shall be treated as confidential information. Only vote totals shall be made public.
(3) Upon approval by retail marketers representing a majority of the votes cast in the referendum, the qualified industry organization initiating the referendum shall certify the vote to the Governor, the Propane Education and Research Council shall be created, and its members shall be appointed by the Governor as provided in section 66-1618.