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Bill would have allowed land surveyors to trespassTell North Platte what you think

Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial said he would kill a bill after more than a dozen people testified against it Tuesday during a Judiciary Committee hearing.

The bill (LB 520) would have allowed registered land surveyors to enter onto land to conduct investigations after giving a “good faith attempt” to notify landowners the purpose of entering their land and providing proper identification.

Christensen said the bill was brought to him from the Professional Surveyors Association of Nebraska.

Three people testified in support of the bill and 13 testified against it during the hearing.

Todd Whitfield, a Nebraska registered land surveyor, was among those who testified for it.

He said the intent of the bill was to provide a legal avenue for private practice surveyors to enter onto a property to perform their duties without it being considered trespassing.

Doug Stevenson, a member of the Professional Surveyors Association of Nebraska, said this bill could give surveyors peace of mind while simultaneously holding them accountable.

Many of those who spoke against the bill were Nebraska landowners.

They gave similar reasons for opposing the bill, including the idea that the bill would legalize trespassing and that it was protecting bigger corporations’ rights rather than the landowners’ property rights.

“I have to wonder what Sen. Christensen’s reasons are for introducing this bill,” Susan Dunavan, a York landowner, said. “This bill gives more equality to entities than to landowners and does nothing to protect Nebraska citizens.”

Sen. Al Davis of Hyannis also questioned the motivation behind the bill, indicating that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline could be a source.

Many of the opposing testimonies reflected the thought that TransCanada, which wants to build the controversial oil pipeline across Nebraska, could be a corporation that would benefit from the bill.

In his closing, Christensen said he would move to kill the bill during the committee’s executive session. Applause echoed from those who testified against it.

“Normally, we don’t allow applause or emotional outburst, but in this case, it’s probably just fine,” said Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha, the Judiciary Committee chairman.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 3/6/2013
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