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 […]

Omnibus prison reform bill advances

The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee has advanced a bill that seeks to address overcrowding of the state’s prisons. Under LB 841 advanced on Tuesday, corrections and the State Board of Parole would be required to devise a plan, by Dec. 1, on how to deal with, or avoid, such an emergency… The bill advanced on Tuesday also allows […]

LB693 would create new offenses, including "unmanned aircraft harassment by a registered sex offender"

It remains to be seen if this bill will get off the ground. The Judiciary Committee heard testimony on LB693, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Carol Blood, which would regulate the use of unmanned aircraft (drones) in the state. Much of the bill’s language prohibits the use of drones to trespass or spy on another person.Any […]

Bill would eliminate voting restrictions for ex-felons

Testimony on another good bill was heard by the Legislature’s Government, Military, and Veteran’s Affairs Committee. Sen. Justin Wayne introduced LB1027, which would immediately restore voting rights to convicted felons when they complete their sentence.Currently, a person automatically regains his or her voting rights two years after completion of a felony sentence, including parole. LB1027, introduced […]

Periodic review of occupational licensing laws discussed

The Nebraska Legislature discussed a bill this week that could make it easier for people with a criminal history to obtain a professional license in the state.As introduced by Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete, LB299 would create a legislative office responsible for reviewing proposed legislation that would enact or modify occupational licensing regulations to ensure that they […]