Health and Human Services

Human trafficking bill narrowed, returned to final reading

A bill on final reading related to human trafficking was narrowed Aug. 4 after senators voted to return it to select file.

Sen. Lou Ann Linehan
Sen. Lou Ann Linehan

LB518, as introduced by Elkhorn Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, would have adopted the Support for Trafficking Survivors Act and created the Support for Trafficking Survivors advisory board.

Linehan said the original bill would have formalized a statewide plan to provide services to victims of sex trafficking and would have supported law enforcement in more successfully investigating and prosecuting sex traffickers.

“Unfortunately, those things come at a cost,” she said, “and this is not the time [that] our state is able to take on those costs.”

Senators voted to return the bill to select file to consider an amendment offered by Linehan to remove provisions outlined in her original bill. She said the amendment would eliminate the bill’s fiscal impact.

“[LB518] will still be a meaningful step in supporting victims of sex trafficking and abuse,” Linehan said.

The amendment was adopted 40-0.

Remaining in LB518 are provisions of Bellevue Sen. Carol Blood’s LB745, amended into the bill on select file. These provisions would outline procedures for certification of immigration visas by local law enforcement in Nebraska.

The provisions would require Nebraska law enforcement agencies to certify a form—within 90 days of when it is requested—for two types of immigration visas that are set aside for victims of certain crimes.

A “T” visa is for victims of human trafficking and a “U” visa is for victims of specific crimes who have suffered abuse and who are helpful to law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of criminal activity.

Following adoption of the Linehan amendment, lawmakers advanced LB518 to final reading by voice vote.

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