Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has signed a handful of bills of
interest to truckers.
One bill that was signed into law directs funds to local
governments for new road construction and maintenance. The new rule takes
effect Oct. 1, 2006. The new law, previously LB904, sends all sales and use tax
collected on motor vehicle, trailer and semi-trailer sales to the state’s
It also reroutes the half-cent in the 5.5-cent sales tax
that is diverted to the state’s general fund for local road projects. The
revised allocations will amount to an estimated $15 million a year to be
distributed equally between counties and cities.
Local governments could opt to use those revenues to pay off
Sen. Tom Baker of Trenton, the bill’s sponsor, said the new
law was needed for local governments who lost transportation funding during
recent budget crunches.
Another bill signed by Heineman addresses safety concerns
that likely are shared by many truck drivers.
The new law, previously LB79, requires certain public
railroad crossings to be closed if they do not have gates, signals, alarm bells
or warning personnel and are located within one quarter mile of a crossing that
does have those signals. Any closing could be contested.
Crossings that are the only access to a property are exempt
from the rule.
According to a fiscal analysis, the Department of Roads
estimates as many as 200 rail crossings will need to be closed.
Another new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2007, might
cause some concern for truckers and other drivers. It changes the renewal
period for a driver’s license for persons required to use bioptic or telescopic
Existing state law requires annual renewal for affected
drivers. The new law, previously LB1008, requires such renewals every two years
unless a shorter period of time is deemed necessary by an optometrist or
One other bill signed into law funds enhanced 911 emergency
services in the state.
Enhanced 9-1-1 is a service that allows emergency
dispatchers to pinpoint the location and phone number of a person on a cell
phone without the caller having to say a word.
The new law, previously LB1222, assesses a surcharge of up
to 70 cents for cellular customers to help finance the service. Customers based
in Omaha will pay up to a 50 cent surcharge.
Each county in the state is required to implement enhanced
911 service by July 2010.