Government Military and Veterans Affairs

Land surveyor updates clear first round

Laws governing the work of professional land surveyors in Nebraska would be overhauled by a bill advanced from general file Jan. 25.

Sen. Steve Erdman
Sen. Steve Erdman

LB102, sponsored by Bayard Sen. Steve Erdman, would revise the Nebraska Plane Coordinate System Act, Land Surveyors Regulation Act and related state laws that govern the land surveying profession in Nebraska.

Among other provisions, the bill would provide new authority for professional land surveyors and their assistants and trainees to enter public and private lands and waterways to conduct land surveys and to place survey monuments. Vehicles used for this purpose would have to be clearly marked with identifying information and surveyors would be liable for any property or crop damage resulting from their work.

Erdman said the idea came from a constituent in the land surveying profession who was having difficulty accessing private land to find a property marker. Calling the bill a “commonsense approach” to helping land surveyors do an important job, he noted that state laws governing the profession have not been updated since 1983.

For example, Erdman said, county and state surveyors currently are able to go on private land to find markers without landowner permission but others lack that authority.

“Many of our parcels [of land] are owned by absentee landowners, or by an LLC or a trust, and so when the surveyor is trying to discover who owns the parcel and get permission, it could take several days or weeks to discover who that is,” Erdman said.

In addition, he said, the bill would protect private landowners by shielding them from liability for damages to surveyors incurred during their survey work, unless such damages are the result of an intentional tort.

The bill also would define the scope of practice and licensure processes for land surveyors who offer their services through an organization and would set out a professional disciplinary process for the examining board to follow in enforcing the Land Surveyors Regulation Act.

A Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee amendment, adopted 37-0, would allow county facilities other than a county courthouse to be used as storage for surveyor records and make other technical changes.

Elmwood Sen. Robert Clements supported the bill, noting that he had difficulty obtaining permission to access land near a farm that he purchased in order to establish property boundaries.

Following adoption of the committee amendment, senators voted 37-0 to advance LB102 to select file.

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