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Suzanne Geist

Sen. Suzanne Geist

District 25

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We have had many late nights these past couple of weeks. Multiple late nights often happen as we near the end of session. Friday was the last day for bills to be heard on general file or the first round of debate.

Over the past couple of weeks, the legislature has discussed LB920. LB920 was introduced by Senator Lathrop. It would change many items within the criminal justice statutes. Senator Lathrop claimed that LB920 was the consensus items from the Crime and Justice Institute working group report. I was a member of this working group last year and I was disappointed when I saw LB920. The working group assumed the bill would only include the 18 consensus items from our report. Unfortunately, Senator Lathrop also included the non-consensus items along with consensus items and a couple ideas that were not even recommended by CJI.

The non-consensus items and additional ideas Senator Lathrop included would have greatly compromised public safety. I introduced an amendment that only included consensus items and was willing to negotiate with Senator Lathrop from the time the amendment was introduced until it was debated on the floor. Two weeks ago, Senator Lathrop was willing to begin negotiations on the bill. I thought we were negotiating in good faith. After over 10 hours of negotiating, I offered Senator Lathrop a very good compromise. He would be receiving 85 percent of what he wanted in the bill. He decided that if he could not get the full one hundred percent of what he wanted, he would rather have the bill fail and not advance forward. As we were about to go to a cloture vote which would require 33 votes to end debate on the bill, Senator Lathrop pleaded with the other members of the legislature to advance the bill without adding my amendment and asking them to allow us to negotiate. During debate on LB920, Senator Lathrop had said multiple times that no one was willing to negotiate with him, which was not true. He only received 26 of the 33 votes needed to end the debate on the bill. Even though we were not able to pass the consensus items that would do many great things like providing mental health care for inmates, I have agreed to work during the interim with several other Senators on a corrections package for next session.

Sen. Suzanne Geist

District 25
Room 1110
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2731
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