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Our inspector general for corrections and local media continue to document critical staffing shortages in our state prisons. The situation at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln is particularly concerning. I am paying close attention to this issue, as adequate staffing is necessary in order to keep these facilities under control. The implications for public safety are real and cannot be ignored.
The Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on matters related to the correctional system Oct. 25. I also encourage people to read these recent news articles on the subject:
My personal priority bill this session is LB538, which establishes a process for the Revenue Department to vet cash-dispensing video games at bars and gas stations across Nebraska, and to remove those which violate the state’s constitutional ban on gambling. You can read more about the issue in this article, which appeared in the Omaha World-Herald last spring.
Many of these machines are almost certainly illegal, but the state lacks an effective way to enforce the law. LB538 would fix that. Furthermore, these machines aren’t held to the same standards as the state lottery or keno, which are required contribute large sums to our state and local communities.
LB538 is a bill with a simple purpose — to ensure that Nebraska’s Constitution and anti-gambling laws are being followed. I am thankful to my colleagues for voting last week to advance the bill to a second round of debate before the full Legislature.
Hello! This is the first edition of my newsletter, giving constituents and others the latest updates on legislative activity related to District 12. You’re receiving this email because of previous correspondence with my office.
I am honored to be back in Lincoln representing the people of our district. I am also honored to have been elected chairman of the Judiciary Committee by my fellow senators.
The first three months of the legislative session have been exhilarating. The Judiciary Committee held hearings on 143 bills, the most of any committee. Those hearings ended last week, and this week we switch to all-day debates by the full Legislature.
Judiciary Committee members and staff pose for a group portrait in the Warner Chamber on Thursday, March 28, the last day of hearings.
On March 15, the Legislature passed LB125, a bill I introduced that extends protections to people who fall victim to serious financial crimes at the hands of their intimate partners. This bill will ensure that such victims have the right to be notified and informed at each step of criminal proceedings.
Our state prison system is experiencing an overcrowding crisis. The Judiciary Committee has designated one of my bills, LB686, as a Judiciary Committee priority for this legislative session. Using this bill as a vehicle, I hope to work with other members of the committee to offer solutions that will ease overcrowding within the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services while keeping our communities safe.
Some of the other bills I introduced this session include: LB538, which clearly distinguishes games of chance from games of skill to prohibit gambling devices in Nebraska; LB576, which ensures that firefighters are compensated when they are diagnosed with cancer or heart disease as a result of their heroic work; and LB309, which provides funding for an additional judge in Douglas County’s overburdened District Court.
For the latest updates from the Capitol, and to meet members of my legislative staff, follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/SenSteveLathrop
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