(1) The department shall establish and administer a vegetation control program which may allow permits for the cutting or trimming of vegetation in the vicinity of advertising signs, displays, or devices placed pursuant to section 39-220. A permit issued under this section shall allow the cutting or trimming of vegetation under controlled conditions when such vegetation obstructs or obscures a lawfully placed advertising sign, display, or device. The department may establish criteria for what vegetation may be cut or trimmed. Each permit shall be valid for no more than thirty days and shall only be applicable for one sign, display, or device location.
(2) The department may charge a fee in an amount reasonably calculated to defray the cost of administering the vegetation control program and may adjust the fee periodically to ensure continued recovery of administrative costs, except that such fee shall not exceed fifty dollars. The applicant to whom the permit is issued shall furnish the department with a cash deposit or certified check upon a solvent bank or a surety bond in a guaranty company qualified to do business in Nebraska. The deposit, check, or bond shall be in an amount required by the department and shall be furnished on the condition that the sum be forfeited to the state in the event that the conditions of the permit or rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the department are violated. The applicant for a permit shall sign a release acknowledging that he or she will assume all risk and liability for any accidents and damages that may occur as a result of the work done as the permitholder. The applicant shall provide proof of liability insurance of at least one million dollars. The permitholder shall be responsible for compensating the state for loss or damage to state property, including, but not limited to, intentional vegetation, and for restoring state property to its preexisting condition as determined in the sole discretion of the department. Permits are subject to all state and federal environmental laws, rules, and regulations. Each approved permit shall grant written consent to encroach onto the state's right-of-way pursuant to section 39-1359.
(3) The department may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out this section.