This week I will be introducing two bills to the Judiciary Committee, LB 63 and LB 34.
LB 63 is legislation regarding the ongoing acts of street violence that are continuing to effect our communities. Please read the brief summary below regarding the legislation.
Summary of Amendment to LB 63
LB63 increases penalties for various weapons related felony charges and for assault on a police officer. It removes existing statutory requirement that handgun permit applicants supply social security number because such a mandatory disclosure violates federal privacy laws. It allows judges to consider an offender’s dangerousness when setting bail as opposed to the current bail statute which only allows judges to consider whether an offender is a flight risk. LB63 abolishes the jailhouse informer statute, and abolishes the statute prohibiting law enforcement from using confidential informants who are inmates, probationers or parolees. It allows prosecutors and judges to consider a juvenile offender’s gang affiliation when deciding whether to transfer their case to juvenile court or maintain jurisdiction in adult court. It creates the offense of unlawful membership recruitment and makes it a Class IV felony to recruit members into joining a gang or for preventing a gang member from quitting the gang. LB63 creates the offense of unauthorized application of graffiti and makes it a Class I misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class IV felony for a second and subsequent offenses. It prohibits persons currently under a valid protection order and persons who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence from possessing a firearm, knife, or brass or iron knuckles as opposed to the current statute which only prohibits felons and fugitives from possessing such weapons.
Amends the process when a juvenile is taken into custody pursuant to a warrant. LB 63 would provide that a juvenile taken into custody on a warrant, shall be delivered to a probation officer who will make a decision as to whether or not the juvenile should be detained. In making their determination, the probation officer shall decide whether release of the juvenile without bond is in the “best interest” of the juvenile, the safety of the community will not be jeopardized, and the court issuing the warrant has been notified that the juvenile has been taken into custody.
Would create the Office of Violence Prevention under the Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. The Office would be charged with developing, fostering, promoting, and assessing violence prevention programs for implementation in the state of Nebraska. The Office of Violence Prevention shall have a director and advisory council, the counsel shall have six members and it’s suggested that the members’ qualifications be as follows: two members representing local government, two members representing law enforcement, one member representing community advocacy and one member representing education with some expertise in law enforcement and juvenile crime. The Director of the Office of Violence Prevention and the Advisory Counsel to the Office shall both be appointed by the governor and will be tasked with raising funds for the program, assess applications for grants from the Office, and make recommendations to the Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice for grants to be awarded.
With the addition of the Office of Violence Prevention, the state of Nebraska joins other cities and states across the country in adding violent crime prevention as an essential element of its crime prevention package. Combined with tougher penalties and tougher enforcement, we can stop the shooting and stop the violence. However, without any element of the total package of crime prevention we will never break the cycle of violent crime, and be forever mired in redundant outcomes.