Nebraska Lawmakers to Address Police & Protests in the 2021 Legislative Session

Dec. 17, 2020, 5:20 p.m. ·

Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha (left) and Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon.

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Following this year’s protests over racial justice and police conduct, questions about how to address those issues are expected to be front and center when the Nebraska Legislature convenes in two weeks.

Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha says Nebraskans are looking for progress on several complicated criminal justice issues:

"We’re talking about the implicit bias, we’re talking about the structural problems of not having an attorney at the beginning versus having an attorney come in who has 50-60 cases kind of in the middle, we’re talking about the benefit of the doubt, we’re talking about pretrial diversion," Wayne said. "We’re talking about all these things that we can do in the legislature to keep people out of prisons but keep them also on the right path."

Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon has talked about a proposal that would strengthen penalties for protests that include property damage, violence, or blocking roadways.

"At the point where you turn into this world where buildings are burning and roads are blocked and really bad things are happening, we all of a sudden now transition from First Amendment to chaos," Brewer said. "If we’re going to live in a society that has rule of law, there has to be a way to have penalties so that those kind of behaviors are put into check."

Hear more from Senators Wayne and Brewer on how these topics could play out in the legislature on this week’s episode of Speaking of Nebraska.

Tune in Thursday at 8 Central on NET, or Friday at 6:30 Central on NET Radio.

Watch the full discussion below: