Nebraska Spent at Least $2.9 Million to Preserve $129,000 in Byrne Funds

In 2009, those who promulgated LB 285 — the Nebraska version of the Adam Walsh Act — filed a Statement of Fiscal Impact that erroneously claimed the bill would have no budget impact. That was just plain untrue. A major argument in favor of LB 285 was that Nebraska would avoid having 10 percent of […]

Why prison should be abolished

Nebraska legislators have advanced a bill (LB841) that aims to address the state’s prison overcrowding problem.Nebraska prisons house approximately 5,300 inmates, when they were designed to hold just over 3,400 — 155-percent of capacity. Provisions of the bill include requiring the Department of Correctional Services to implement an accelerated release plan for inmates if the […]

Bills to reduce Nebraska prison overcrowding pulled from debate after filibuster threat

One word nearly derailed the Nebraska Legislature’s attempt to pass a bill aimed at reducing the state’s prison population, as reported in the Lincoln Journal-Star.An attempt to change one word — the word “shall” to the word “may” — nearly scuttled a package of legislative bills aimed at reducing prison crowding Tuesday. It did prompt Judiciary Committee Chairwoman […]

Governor vetoes criminal conviction set-aside bill

Governor Pete Ricketts vetoed a bill (LB350) that would have allowed a person convicted of a misdemeanor or felony with a sentence other than probation or a fine to ask the court to set aside their conviction once they complete their sentence.Sen. John McCollister introduced the bill initially in January 2017, and the legislature passed […]

Child sexual abuse reporting requirement advances

The Nebraska Legislature advanced LB1078, with two amendments added to the original bill.Lawmakers amended and advanced a bill March 15 that would strengthen reporting requirements regarding children in the state’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Currently, all cases of death or serious injury of a child in a foster home, private agency, child care facility […]

Yale rape verdict shows how "yes means yes" can be murkier in court

A recent not guilty verdict in the rape trial of a Yale college student is a real-world example of how affirmative consent, or “yes means yes,” (such as is being debated in the Nebraska Legislature) does not make determining whether a sexual assault has occurred any simpler. A New York Times article helps explain the […]

Legislature debates bill to control high-cost calls for inmates

The Unicameral debated a bill (LB776) that would require city and county jails to provide inmates with affordable communications, via telephone or video conferencing, with their attorney and family. Omaha Sen. John McCollister introduced the bill.A person housed in a city or county jail has not necessarily been found guilty of a crime yet, said […]