Omnibus transportation bill amended, advanced

Lawmakers amended and advanced a bill from select file March 6 containing several transportation measures.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist25' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Suzanne Geist'>Sen. Suzanne Geist</a>
Sen. Suzanne Geist

LB944, as introduced by Lincoln Sen. Suzanne Geist, would allow owners to seek a refund on vehicle registration if a vehicle is lost to natural disaster. Geist said the bill also would harmonize several technical provisions of state law related to motor vehicles.

Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson offered an amendment, adopted 39-0, that incorporated provisions of his LB1088. These would allow people to purchase a personalized message organizational license plate.

The provisions also would permit the state Department of Motor Vehicles to discontinue issuance of certain specialty license plates if less than 500 new and renewal applications are received in any consecutive two-year period. The current threshold is 200.

The Friesen amendment also would incorporate provisions of five additional bills, including:
• LB843, introduced by Omaha Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, which would provide for “Donate Life” license plates;
• LB903, introduced by Omaha Sen. Rick Kolowski, which would provide for Down syndrome awareness license plates;
• LB921, introduced by Omaha Sen. Robert Hilkemann, which would provide for “The Good Life is Outside” license plates;
• LB942, introduced by Omaha Sen. Megan Hunt, which would provide for “Support the Arts” license plates; and
• LB1139, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Anna Wishart, which would provide for “Pets for Vets” license plates.

Lincoln Sen. Kate Bolz also offered an amendment on select file to incorporate provisions of her LB976, which would add neurological impairment to the list of criteria eligible for handicap parking passes within the existing 200-foot mobility impairment standard.

Bolz said she brought the bill on behalf of a constituent who has a son with autism. Simply walking through a crowded parking lot can be difficult for her son, Bolz said, and having access to closer parking spaces would help alleviate that stress.

Senators voted 35-0 to adopt the Bolz amendment.

A Transportation and Telecommunications Committee amendment adopted on general file incorporated provisions of LB831, originally introduced by Brainard Sen. Bruce Bostelman.

These would allow the state Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a salvage title for a vehicle manufactured prior to 1940 if it previously was titled as “junk.” The vehicle owner also would be required to prove that no major component part had been replaced, the vehicle had been restored to its original specifications and had been inspected.

The committee amendment also incorporated provisions of four additional bills, including:
• LB768, originally introduced by Thurston Sen. Joni Albrecht, which would incorporate updated federal regulations related to cabin trailers, low-speed vehicles, handicapped parking, vehicle registration and driver licenses and state identification cards, among others;
• LB785, originally introduced by Friesen, which would provide length, weight and load capacity exceptions for stinger-steered automobile transporters, towaway trailer transporter combinations, battery-powered vehicles, emergency vehicles and certain heavy-duty tow and recovery vehicles;
• LB983, originally introduced by Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford, which would eliminate the one-point deduction from a person’s driver license for a speeding violation of up to five miles per hour over the speed limit; and
• LB1067, originally introduced by Bayard Sen. Steve Erdman, which would allow all-terrain and utility-type vehicles to cross controlled-access highways of more than two marked lanes, if used for agricultural purposes.

Senators advanced LB944 to final reading by voice vote.

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