Earlier parole eligibility vetoed

A bill intended to address the overcrowding crisis in Nebraska’s correctional system was vetoed by Gov. Pete Ricketts Aug. 17.

Sen. Steve Lathrop
Sen. Steve Lathrop

Under LB1004, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop, a committed offender automatically was eligible for parole within two years of their mandatory discharge date, unless they are eligible for parole at an earlier date.

The director of the division of parole supervision would establish caseload standards for parole service and provide annual caseload reports to the Legislature beginning in January 2021.

The parole provisions contained within LB1004 would not have applied retroactively.

The bill included provisions of LB1036, originally introduced by Lincoln Sen. Adam Morfeld, that changed the age of consent for health care decisions from 19 to 18. It also allowed a person under 19 who is in the custody of the correctional system to consent to medical and mental health care decisions.

Lawmakers passed LB1004 on a 29-11 vote Aug. 13.

In his veto message, Ricketts said he appreciated Lathrop’s “innovative” approach to addressing overcrowding, but called LB1004 “overly broad” and said it could make certain inmates eligible for parole as soon as they enter a correctional facility.

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