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This week we have been debating bills that are Senator Priority bills, Committee Priority bills and non-prioritized bills on General File that we did not debate last session.
The hearing for my bill, LB1017 which will provide funding to the Supreme Court to fund a pilot program for mental health courts was Wednesday afternoon in the Appropriations Committee. I am happy to say that there were no opponents to my bill. I brought this bill because throughout my time serving as a state senator, I have learned about drug courts and how they have changed the lives of so many people. My interest in drug and specialty courts in Nebraska led me to learn about mental health courts. The purpose of mental health courts is to provide an alternative for people who have mental health issues and have committed a crime that stemmed from their mental illness. Rather than incarcerating this individual they can be redirected to Mental Health Courts. This court will give the judge the ability to give this person a second chance by allowing them to go through strict programming that would help get them the medication, education, programming and services they need. This will not be easy option and the program will last for two years. If the person does not comply with the rules and regulations of the program they would end up being sent to jail to serve their sentence. The Supreme Court has meticulously worked on standards that are to be followed by judges and the mental health courts. This is a small, but important tool that helps address the needs of those who suffer from severe mental illness in our communities.
There were many filibusters during floor debate in the mornings this week and we did not pass many bills. We were able to pass a few bills on final reading before we adjourned for the week on Thursday.
As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.