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Nebraska State Legislature

Legislative Bills of interest to the NSA that were passed in 2014:

The 103rd Nebraska Legislature adjourned Sine Die on April 17. Below is brief summary of legislation that passed. All legislative bills not passed during the 2014 session are indefinitely postponed and must be reintroduced in the next legislative session. The legislative bills along with supporting documents, including testimony can be found at the Nebraska Legislature website: www.nebraskalegislature.gov.

The Nebraska Legislature will convene on January 7, 2015. There will be at least 17 new senators in addition to new leadership for the committees and a new speaker. The NSA encourages you to take time during the interim to meet with your representatives and candidates to discuss issues that are important to law enforcement and jail administration.

LB 390 (Christensen) Change provisions relating to Governor's powers regarding restrictions on firearms and ammunition under the Emergency Management Act

LB 390 allows a person to possess a firearm at school if the firearm is used for a purpose permitted by the school, for a historical reenactment, for hunter education course or as part of an honor guard. Prohibits the governor from suspending or limiting the sale of firearms during a declared emergency. Allow Adjutant General to make expenditure of up to $25,000 for aerial fire suppression or hazardous material response without an emergency proclamation by the Governor. The bill becomes operative on July 18, 2014.

LB 464 (Ashford) Change court jurisdiction over juveniles and indictment procedures

LB 464 would require charges against juveniles younger than 18 years old for misdemeanors and Class IIIA and IV felonies be initiated in juvenile court. The bill exempts Class I, II, and III felonies for minors aged 14 and older from the mandatory juvenile court initiation.
The bill also establishes a plan for school districts and families to address student attendance problems. The bill further replaces the 3-member Truancy Intervention Task Force established in 2010 with a 10-person Council in Student Attendance. The council, which would include a student and their parents in addition to education officials and a county attorney, would review school district absentee policies and be required to report to the Legislature annually.

LB 464 also makes technical changes and updates to the processes dealing with juvenile offenders, changes that were made through passage of LB 561 in the first session in 2013.
Technical changes deal with clarifying obligations both pre and post adjudication in terms of process as well as clarifying which entities are responsible for which costs throughout the process in cases dealing with juvenile offenders.

LB 1093, amended into LB 464, would expand the definition of juvenile facilitated conferencing and establishes an intent of the Legislature to transfer funds directly from the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) budget to the budget of the Nebraska Supreme Court in lieu of those funds being transferred through a granting process between DHHS and the Administrative Office of the Courts and as contracts to individual juvenile facilitated conferencing programs. Sections 3, 4, 8, 9, 16, 17, and 38 of the bill become operative on January 1, 2015. The other sections become operative on July 18, 2014.

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LB 699 (Larson) Change hunting permit and hunter education provisions, provide reports to a firearm database, and eliminate certain firearm provisions.

LB 699 provides that a license-purchase exemption certificate issued by the state Game and Parks Commission to be available to a developmentally disabled person to purchase a hunting permit. Individuals applying for an exemption certificate will be required to provide a written note from their physician, indicating that the person is at all times capable of understanding and following directions given by another person and that he or she is not currently a danger to themselves or others. The bill also consolidates current hunter education programs to form one program covering all hunting implements including firearms, crossbows, bows and arrows, and air guns. Those applying for bow hunter permits will be required to take additional bow hunter education.

LB 1035, amended into LB 699, would require the Nebraska State Patrol and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to provide the Legislature with a record of citizens unable to purchase handguns due to disqualification or disability. The report would also be published on the State Patrol and DHHS websites. The bill became operative on April 3, 2014.

LB 811 (Schilz) Change provisions relating to controlled substances, prescriptions, and certain assault provisions

LB 811 would amend one class of currently banned substances under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and would add another class of synthetic cannabinoids to the list of banned substances. The bill would revise the act to apply to substantially similar imitations of prohibited controlled substances that may be developed in the future. First-time offenders would be guilty of a Class III misdemeanor punishable by up to 3 months imprisonment, a $500 fine, or both. A subsequent offense would be a Class II misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment, a $1,000 fine, or both.

LB 752, amended into LB 811, adds emergency responders, state correctional employees, DHHS employees, and health care professionals to the list of professionals protected under enhanced penalty provisions dealing with the assault of an officer.

LB 869, amended into LB 811, amends and updates the pharmacy practice provisions of Nebraska’s Controlled Substances Act. Definitions within the Act are updated to conform to current statutory drafting standards. The bill also allows electronic prescribing of controlled substances as authorized in federal law. Clarifications were included to distinguish between written, oral, and electronic prescriptions, and requirements for each filing and record keeping. Additions to the Act are the definition of compounding and the requirements for a controlled substance prescription. The bill becomes operative on July 18, 2014.

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LB 814 (Avery) Redefine all-terrain vehicle, utility-type vehicle, and sales price, change sales and use tax provisions relating to ATV's and UTV's, and change duties of sellers in the distribution of sales tax revenue to provide funding to the Game and Parks Commission
LB 814 would dedicate the state sales tax revenue derived from the sale or lease of motorboats, personal watercraft, and all-terrain and utility-type vehicles to the Game and Parks Commission Capital Maintenance Fund for commission infrastructure maintenance projects.

LB 841, amended into LB 814, would finance the Game and Parks Commission’s deferred maintenance projects and dedicate the state sales tax revenue from all-terrain and utility-type vehicles that have been titled in Nebraska to the Game and Parks Commission Capital Maintenance Fund.

LB 982, amended into LB 814, would expand the definitions of all-terrain vehicles and utility-type vehicles to incorporate advances in product development. All-terrain vehicles would be defined as vehicles 50 inches or less in width with a weight of 1,200 pounds or less. A utility-type vehicle is defined as 74 inches or less in width and with a weight of 2,000 pounds or less. The bill becomes operative on October 1, 2014.

LB 816 (Murante) Authorize use of electronic forms of evidence of insurance for purposes of motor vehicle registration

LB 816 would amend the Motor Vehicle Registration Act to allow motorists in the state of Nebraska to provide proof of insurance through display of an electronic image on a portable electronic device. The bill provides that display of an electronic image in this manner does not constitute consent for a law enforcement officer, court, or officer of the court to access other contents of the electronic device. The bill becomes operative on October 1, 2014.

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LB 907 (Ashford) Add, change, and eliminate provisions relating to criminal justice, incarceration, probation, parole, and legal education financial assistance

LB 907 proposes a new initiative to provide prison reform and address recidivism rates. The bill would:
1) appropriate to the state Office of Probation Administration $5 million to expand mental health services and $3.8 million to expand new reporting centers; 2) appropriate $5 million to the Nebraska Crime Commission for the vocational and life skills program; 3) provide $200,000 to establish the Nebraska Center for Justice Research at the University of Nebraska-Omaha;
4)
create a reentry program coordinator position to advise corrections officials regarding programs that transition inmates into communities; 5) require the state Department of Correctional Services to ensure that an inmate’s rehabilitation/reentry program is complete or near completion upon the inmate serving 80% of their sentence; and 6) create the Nebraska Justice Reinvestment Working Group, comprised of 4 members selected by the Governor, 4 members selected by the Speaker of the Legislature, 4 members selected by the Chief Justice, and 4 members representing local governments selected by the Governor, Speaker, and Chief Justice. The group will assist the Council of State Governments Justice Center in producing a report that prescribes how to reduce prison overcrowding to 125% within 5 years.

LB 808, amended into LB 907, would make public service attorneys practicing in areas having a population of less than 15,000 people eligible for $6,000 a year in loan forgiveness. The bill would also provide $500,000 to the loan repayment fund.

LB 932, amended into LB 907, would prohibit public employers from asking an applicant to disclose information concerning his or her criminal history until the employer has determined if the applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications. The bill would not apply to private employers, nor would it affect law enforcement agencies, any position for which federal or state law requires a criminal history record check, or for which federal or state law specifically disqualifies an applicant with a criminal background. The bill would not prevent a public employer from conducting a criminal record check after determining that an applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications. The bill specifically states that public school districts and educational service units can require an applicant to disclose their criminal record or history relating to sexual or physical abuse. Sections 11, 20, and 23 of the bill became operative on April 17, 2014. The other sections of the bill become operative on July 18, 2014.

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LB 998 (Karpisek) Change provisions relating to disposition of human remains, offenses related to the person, sexual exploitation, labor and sex trafficking, the Sex Offender Registration Act, and driving under the influence

LB 998 would reduce the penalty for using a vehicle not equipped with an ignition interlock device for those restricted to driving only vehicles with said device. The penalty would be reduced from a Class IV felony – punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, a $10,00 fine, or both – to a Class I misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment, a $1,000 fine, or both. The felony penalty would still apply if the driver has a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher, and would include revocation of the offender’s driver’s license for 15 years. The bill would also extend the penalty reduction to the offense of tampering with or bypassing an interlock device.

LB 441, amended into LB 998, would change provisions relating to the disposition of human remains.

LB 795, amended into LB 998, allows repeat offenders of the DUI laws to apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles for a recommendation to the Board of Pardons to be eligible for an ignition interlock permit. Currently, repeat offenders arrested prior to January 1st, 2012 are not eligible for an ignition interlock permit. The bill sets the application fee at $100 and strikes the requirement an offender first serve seven years of their sentence.

LB 933, amended into LB 998, revises the definitions of labor trafficking and sex trafficking and establishes penalties for controlling or threatening to control another person’s access, and physical and mental impairment causing adverse effects on another person’s cognitive and volitional function. Prohibited acts include debt bondage, threats of deportation, controlling or threatening to control access to substances, and exploitation of disabilities.

LB 1034, amended into LB 998, would prohibit a person from knowingly photographing, filming, recording, or broadcasting images of another person’s intimate areas without that person’s consent, regardless of whether the person is in a public or private place. An initial violation of the law would be a Class I misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to one year of incarceration. A subsequent violation would be a Class IV felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to five years of incarceration. Sharing images or video made in violation of the proposed law would be a Class III felony punishable by up to 50 years imprisonment. Additionally, if an offender is at least 19 years old and the victim is younger than 18 years old, the offender would be required to register as a sex offender. The bill became operative on April 10, 2014.

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LB 999 (Ashford) Adopt the Criminal Justice Reentry and Data Act and create the Reentry Programming Board

LB 999 would authorize the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to study the feasibility of establishing a behavioral health center at the site of the former Hastings Regional Center. The department would provide the Governor, by December 15th, 2014, a program statement that examines: 1) long-term needs of mentally ill and substance-addicted inmates; 2) renovating or building facilities for up to 200 inmates at the center; 3) criteria for inmates to be placed in the center; 4) programs needed to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment; and 5) estimated costs of building renovation, staffing, operation, and a proposed project schedule. The bill becomes operative on July 18, 2014.

LB 1001 (Wallman) Allow production and marketing of industrial hemp, exempt industrial hemp from the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, and provide powers and duties for the Department of Agriculture

LB 1001 would allow only postsecondary institutions or the state Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp for agricultural or academic research. The department would be required to develop regulations for industrial hemp cultivation and certify sites where it is grown. The bill becomes operative on July 18, 2014.

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