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Myron Dorn

Sen. Myron Dorn

District 30

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March 11 weekly update
March 11th, 2022

All day debate has begun in the Legislature, and several high profile bills were discussed on the floor, one of which was LB 773 about concealed carry requirements. The first step in taking up this bill, introduced by Sen. Brewer, who chairs the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs committee, was to pass a motion to pull it from committee. After about an hour of discussion on Tuesday, the motion passed. Debate on the actual bill began on Thursday. LB 773 would prohibit cities, counties and villages from regulating the ownership, possession and transportation of concealed handguns. Individuals who are already prohibited from possession of a gun would still be barred under this bill; as would carrying while under the influence, carrying in schools and certain government premises, and private businesses that have such rules in place.

When the bill was heard in committee, both Lincoln and Omaha Police Departments opposed the bill. Since then, OPD worked with Senator Brewer who has offered an amendment which made it more workable for them. After eight hours of debate, there were 36 votes to invoke cloture (meaning all debate ceases). The vote to advance the bill to the next round of debate was 35 for, nine against, four not voting. I am a co sponsor of LB 773 and voted in favor of advancement.

The Appropriations Committee has completed work on the general fund budget, which will be printed and distributed for senators to review in preparation for debate next week by the full legislature. As a committee, we will continue to meet in executive session over the noon hours again next week; this time to work on the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding coming into Nebraska.

One major recurring budget item is corrections. The overall goal in our prison system is to rehabilitate the people coming into the system so they can be released. Nearly 95% of all people incarcerated will return to society. LB 896 was introduced by Sen. Lathrop to require an evaluation of programming and treatment in our prisons. The study, conducted by an educational institution, would give the Legislature a better understanding of how the state is doing with persistent overcrowding, provide a cost-benefit analysis and rate the effectiveness of existing programs. As we know, both the pandemic and staffing issues have really been challenging in the past couple of years. Helping inmates get necessary programming, training and education, visitation and so on, is key to reducing recidivism, and establishes a solid foundation for a ‘second chance’ after being released.

A new prison is part of the Governor’s budget proposal. The Appropriations committee did set aside another $175 million for this purpose. Along with the $65 million we put aside last year, there is funding sitting in an account – but without the specific authority to build, which would still need approval by the Legislature. If the decision is made, the funding is there. As Senator Stinner points out, just constructing a new prison facility does not solve the significant overcrowding problem in Nebraska. You cannot build your way out of overcrowding, you have to look at the complete package of sentencing reform and programming for inmates as well.

About six to eight years ago, some reforms were passed, with the idea of reducing the number of inmates; however it only stabilized numbers of those incarcerated. Sometimes the best intentions of enacting strict sentences do not have the desired effect and result in more prison overcrowding. I believe we need to work in tandem on these two: site construction and responsible sentencing reform. I do not see successful passage of either measure without tackling both in the same time frame.

Another bill which advanced out of the Health and Human Services committee would look at ways we can improve our child welfare system. This would include bids, the appeals process, contracting and delivery of services; and how various branches of government work together to help families, children and providers within the program. We know there is much we can do to make this better for the children who need this system and the support.

To find the details on every legislative bill, the calendar and contact information, go to Contact me directly at 402-471-2620, You can also follow me on Facebook, and listen to my weekly report on Friday mornings at 8:30 am on KWBE radio.

Sen. Myron Dorn

District 30
Room 1208
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2620
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