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Committee hearings have concluded and the Legislature is now spending full days debating those measures that have been identified as priorities. Each senator is allowed to designate one bill as his or her priority bill and the committees are allotted two priorities. In addition, the Speaker of the Legislature has the option of designating 25 priority bills. Fortunately for District #14, Speaker Mike Flood designated a bill I introduced, LB 589, as one of his priority bills for this session.
LB 589 is not only very important to my legislative district, it is important to communities across the entire state. Recently, the Nebraska Department of Roads adopted a policy that would prohibit cities, counties and villages from using state highways with speed limits over 45 M.P.H. for special events such as parades, marathons, street dances and bike races. This new rule effectively ends Papillion’s Dualthon and the Triathlon; events that attract participants from all over the country and bring thousands of dollars into the community and into the state.
According to the Department of Roads, the concern is that of liability. My bill addresses this issue by requiring the Department to authorize the encroachment of the state highway system if the city, county, or village waives all rights of recovery against the state for any damages or liability. A public hearing on LB 589 was held in front of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee on March 8th. The committee has not yet advanced the bill to the entire Legislature for consideration, but the Speaker’s priority designation should help get the bill moving.
These special events are important to Nebraska. These events celebrate our heritage, they strengthen our communities, they attract people from other states and they are valuable to the economy. Passage of LB 589 will ensure that these events continue throughout our state for years to come.