Bill allowing amber lights on vehicles stalls

An attempt to force a vote on a bill that would allow public safety volunteers to use special lights to identify their vehicles failed Feb. 4.

LB399, introduced by Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh, would allow volunteer members of public safety or crime prevention organizations to use rotating or flashing amber lights on any motor vehicle. As amended, the bill would require county attorneys to register and authorize volunteer members of public safety groups before they are allowed to display the lights.

Currently, flashing amber lights may be displayed on vehicles used for specific purposes such as military, public utility maintenance, towing, vehicle maintenance, Civil Air Patrol, oversized load, railroad, emergency management and storm spotting.

Calling the bill “impractical, unworkable and unconstitutional” because it does not detail the guidelines the county attorney would use to authorize use of the lights, Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers offered a motion to bracket LB399 until April 17. The motion failed 16-24.

Lautenbaugh introduced several technical amendments that were either withdrawn, not adopted or remained pending.

After eight hours of debate spanning three morning sessions, Lautenbaugh offered a motion to invoke cloture and force a vote on the bill. The motion failed 32-12, falling one vote short of the number required.

A failed cloture attempt prevents further debate on the bill for the day. LB399 remains stalled on select file.

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