A new specialty license plate that seeks to educate the public about water safety received first-round approval from lawmakers May 4.
LB166, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Suzanne Geist, would authorize Josh the Otter-Be Safe Around Water license plates, available as of Jan. 1, 2022.
Blake and Kathy Collingsworth of Lincoln created the Josh the Otter character and a memorial foundation after their son, Joshua, succumbed to his injuries following an accidental drowning. Geist said she introduced the bill on their behalf because they have turned a tragedy into a positive force in the community.
The fee for the alphanumeric plates would be $5, credited to the Josh the Otter-Be Safe Around Water Cash Fund. Personalized plates would cost $40, with $10 credited to the state Department of Motor Vehicles Cash Fund and $30 credited to the Josh the Otter-Be Safe Around Water Cash Fund.
The bill would require the Game and Parks Commission to create a program to award grants from the cash fund to nonprofit organizations dedicated to educating children about water safety.
“This grant program would hopefully help to lower the number of childhood drownings in Nebraska,” Geist said.
Following the 39-0 adoption of a technical Transportation and Telecommunications Committee amendment, senators voted 39-0 to advance LB166 to select file.