FRA Certification Helpline: (216) 694-0240

A filibuster stretching over three days derailed a proposal in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature to require two-person train crews. State Sen. Mike Jacobson sponsored the proposal, which had been introduced multiple times in recent years. This was the first time it advanced to floor debate. Sen. Jacobson said it was a disappointing end to a hard-fought effort to bring about common sense rail safety legislation. In a message published by the North Platte Telegraph, Jacobson wrote, “I also believe that this vote sent a message to the FRA that they should act.” The Nebraska State Senators who fought against the proposal were clearly aligned with rail industry lobbyists.

A similar situation recently evolved in Nevada when the governor vetoed a rail safety bill. In response, BLET member Jason Doering authored a guest editorial in The Nevada Independent detailing efforts by rail industry lobbyists to undermine proposed rail safety legislation in The Silver State. Brother Doering wrote: “The politics of rail safety in Nevada tread a fine line between earnest concern and political theater. On record, there’s a chorus of agreement on the importance of rail safety. Yet, behind the scenes, the rail lobby’s influence casts a long shadow over legislative decisions.” Given the development of Brightline West, he wrote, it’s crucial that Nevada reevaluate its stance on rail safety. “This project should be seen as an opportunity to set a new standard in rail safety, not just for Nevada but for the nation,” he wrote. “We must advocate for stringent safety standards for passenger and freight operations, comprehensive training for rail workers and a commitment to ongoing safety oversight for an industry that is historically self-regulated.”

Brother Doering has 20 years of experience as a locomotive engineer and conductor, and recently joined the BLET as a member of Division 766 in Las Vegas. To read his message in its entirety, please visit The Nevada Independent.