Changes to one-call system amended, advanced

A bill that would make changes to the One-Call Notification System Act was amended and advanced from general file May 16.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist34' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Curt Friesen'>Sen. Curt Friesen</a>
Sen. Curt Friesen

Great Plains One-Call Service is a system used by excavators to identify and locate underground facilities prior to excavation to protect the facilities from damage. A notice to the service center is required prior to performing an excavation.

LB462, as originally introduced by Henderson Sen. Curt Friesen, would have created a dispute resolution board to hear disputes between excavators and operators regarding damage to underground facilities caused by excavation. It also would have required all persons locating underground facilities to be licensed by the state fire marshal.

A Transportation and Telecommunications Committee amendment, adopted 37-0, removed those provisions and replaced the bill. As amended, it would allow the board of directors to review locator training materials and propose best practices.

The board would be required to assess the effectiveness of enforcement programs and actions, as well as the board’s damage prevention and public awareness programs. A report of its findings would be submitted to the governor and Legislature no later than Dec. 1, 2021, and biennially after that.

Finally, LB462 as amended would require the state attorney general to submit a report annually to the Legislature, state fire marshal and board of directors detailing the number of complaints filed and prosecuted each year under the One-Call Notification System Act.

The committee amendment also incorporated provisions of LB617, originally introduced by Lincoln Sen. Mike Hilgers, which would eliminate notice and hearing requirements for local telecommunications companies if they wish to raise local service rates.

Cavanaugh opposed removing the notice and hearing requirements, saying doing so would eliminate consumer protections that have been in place since the 1980s. Hilgers then introduced an amendment, adopted 37-0, to reinstate the 60-day notice requirement for all local service rate increases.

Following adoption of a technical amendment, senators advanced the bill to select file on a 37-0 vote.

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