Senator Brasch Introduces Bill Involving Motor Collisions with Livestock

By Senator Lydia Brasch

Our seventh week of session – Days 26 through 29 of our 60-day session – adjourned on Friday.

The Legislature did not convene on Monday in honor of Washington’s Birthday, a United States federal holiday that is celebrated on the third Monday of February. Officially started as a way to honor the birthday of George Washington, it has been used in many states as a day to remember all of our United States Presidents.

On Tuesday the Legislature convened and I introduced LB811 and LB929 which were on Consent Calendar for General File. Consent Calendar is a way to get noncontroversial bills through the debate process quickly. The bills selected for Consent Calendar can sometimes be technical in nature, such as LB929, or they may make small changes to statutes that help clarify language and reduce waste in certain agencies, thereby saving the state money, which is the case with LB811.

LR26CA was a constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Larson that would have lowered the age requirement (to 18) to hold any public office in Nebraska. It was defeated Thursday on Select File. I voted with those who were also opposed to the bill.

On Wednesday I introduced LB1037 to the Revenue Committee. The intent of LB1037 is to solve the increasing valuation problem specific to farm sites and farm home sites due to non-agricultural, housing developments around farmsteads. LB1037 redefines agricultural and horticultural land to mean a parcel of land that excludes buildings or enclosed structures located on the parcel, which is primarily used for agricultural or horticultural purposes. Agricultural or horticultural purposes would also now include farm sites and farm home sites lying in or adjacent to and in common ownership or management with other agricultural and horticultural land. The effect of the bill would be that the land that the home sits on would also be valued at 75% of its market value, but the home itself would still be valued as residential – which is 100% of its market value. Senator Bill Kintner, from Sarpy County, chose LB1037 as his priority bill.

On Friday I introduced LB890 to the Judiciary Committee. This bill deals with civil action lawsuits involving motor collisions with livestock. Defendants in these cases – usually the owners of livestock – are oftentimes put into an indefensible position in court cases because plaintiffs – usually the drivers of the motor vehicles – are not required to provide evidence of negligence by the defendant. Under a certain legal doctrine, even if there is no evidence of negligence provided by the plaintiff, the Nebraska Supreme Court decided that in these cases negligence by the defendant can simply be assumed and they can then be held liable if the judge or jury decide it to be so. However, this relieves the driver from assuming any responsibility for not driving carefully, and also assumes no other outside party was an influence in the case. There are times when the livestock owner was negligent and should be held accountable, but if no evidence exists that they were negligent, then their negligence should not be assumed. To put the livestock owners on an even playing field in these lawsuits, LB890 would have required the plaintiff to provide specific acts of negligence by the defendant. I appreciate that several citizens who are livestock producers and some who are not, took time out of their busy workweek to come testify as proponents. Their support for the bill was much appreciated. There were only two opponent testifiers: the Nebraska Trial Attorneys Association and the Nebraska Trucking Association.

Please contact me; my administrative aide, Katie Wattermann; or my legislative aide, Brett Waite, with questions or concerns at (402) 471-2728 or by email at; or stop by Room 1016 if you are in the Capitol. If you would like to follow the Legislature online you can visit Live broadcasting is also available on NET2.

Keeping the Good Life growing in Nebraska,

Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16

Senator Lydia Brasch

Senator Lydia Brasch

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