Friday, February 23, 2018

LB693 would create new offenses, including "unmanned aircraft harassment by a registered sex offender"

It remains to be seen if this bill will get off the ground. The Judiciary Committee heard testimony on LB693, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Carol Blood, which would regulate the use of unmanned aircraft (drones) in the state. Much of the bill's language prohibits the use of drones to trespass or spy on another person.
Any person who intentionally causes an electronic device—including an unmanned aircraft—to enter the property of another in order to secretly peep into the dwelling of another person would be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor. 
The bill would prohibit operation of an unmanned aircraft within a horizontal distance of 500 feet or a vertical distance of 300 feet above any penal institution. Operation of an unmanned aircraft carrying a deadly weapon also would be prohibited.
The bill also creates several new offenses related to the use of drones, including "unmanned aircraft harassment by a registered sex offender."
Sec. 6. (1) A person who is required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act commits the offense of unmanned aircraft harassment by a sex offender if he or she: (a) Operates an unmanned aircraft for the purpose of following, contacting, or capturing images or recordings of an individual; and (b) Is subject to a protection order or a condition of probation, parole, or supervised release that prohibits such following, contacting, or capturing of images. The order or condition need not specifically prohibit such conduct by means of an unmanned aircraft.
Violating this provision would be a Class I misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class IV felony for subsequent offenses.

Is this really a problem? And is it necessary to single out registered citizens, when the bill already prohibits anyone from using drones to trespass, harass, or spy on another person?

You can read the bill here.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Bill would eliminate voting restrictions for ex-felons

Testimony on another good bill was heard by the Legislature's Government, Military, and Veteran's Affairs Committee. Sen. Justin Wayne introduced LB1027, which would immediately restore voting rights to convicted felons when they complete their sentence.
Currently, a person automatically regains his or her voting rights two years after completion of a felony sentence, including parole. LB1027, introduced by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne, would eliminate this waiting period. 
Wayne said people who participate in the political process are 30 percent less likely to re-offend in the future. Voting helps people become more engaged in their communities, he said, which benefits everyone. 
“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue,” Wayne said. “When you’ve done your time, you should be able to participate.”
Read more here.

Text of LB1027

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Periodic review of occupational licensing laws discussed

The Nebraska Legislature discussed a bill this week that could make it easier for people with a criminal history to obtain a professional license in the state.
As introduced by Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete, LB299 would create a legislative office responsible for reviewing proposed legislation that would enact or modify occupational licensing regulations to ensure that they are the least restrictive means of achieving the regulation’s ends. It also would require ongoing legislative review of occupational regulations and legislation.
Language in LB299 does appear to ease the burden for those with a criminal history, including felonies, to pursue occupational licenses in the state.
Sec. 16. The purposes of the Occupational Board Reform Act are (1) to require occupational boards to respect the fundamental right of an individual to pursue an occupation and (2) to ensure that occupational boards and individual members of occupational boards avoid liability under federal antitrust laws.Sec. 17. (1) The fundamental right of an individual to pursue an occupation includes the right of an individual with a criminal history to obtain an occupational license, a specialty occupational license for medical reimbursement, or government certification or state recognition of the individual’s personal qualifications. (2) An individual with a criminal history may petition the appropriate occupational board at any time, including prior to obtaining required education or paying any fee, for a determination as to whether the individual’s criminal history would disqualify the individual from obtaining an occupational license, a specialty occupational license for medical reimbursement, or government certification or state recognition of the individual’s personal qualifications from that occupational board. 
Read more here.

Kansas reconsiders criminal registries

Officials in Kansas are considering reducing the number of crimes (though apparently not sex offenses) that can land people on public registries.
It’s meant to boost public safety, but the Kansas Sentencing Commission says other consequences come with publishing the past transgressions of nearly 20,000 Kansans.“The state,” agency director Scott Schultz told lawmakers this month, “has unintentionally become an online shopping portal for methamphetamine and other drugs.”Kansas lawmakers have, piece by piece and year after year, created a particularly expansive set of criminal registry rules and a whole new class of crimes for not keeping up with them. Now, some policymakers want to rethink them.Schultz’s agency is among those pushing to pare back a system they say complicates reintegration and rehabilitation for thousands of Kansans, making it harder to find homes and jobs and to keep away from active criminals.
Sex offender registries also complicate reintegration and rehabilitation for thousands of Kansans and hopefully they will be part of the conversation.

Read more here.

Increased penalties for registered citizens move forward in SD Legislature

Lawmakers in South Dakota have advanced legislation that would increase the punishment for failing to keep sex offender registration up to date.
Senate Bill 61 would increase the penalty for sex offenders who fail more than once to register after moving to a new address. Currently, law penalizes second offenses the same as first offenses, a class 6 felony. Under the bill, a second offense and any subsequent offense would be a class 5 felony. 
Read the full story here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Porn and sex addiction: signs you may have a problem

Another report from Julie Cornell of KETV, Omaha, examines online pornography and sex addiction.
Omaha, NE --His private world was exposed in the fall of 2017, when an Omaha man’s wife discovered his infidelity stemming from a life-long struggle with pornography and sex addiction. “Ryan” is middle aged, highly educated, and has children. When his story unraveled, he revealed he’d been seeing prostitutes regularly, up to twice a week to feed his sex addiction after years of on-line porn use. 
Another young man was just 11 years old when he became hooked on internet porn, because he was curious. Thirteen years later, “Josh” told me it’s still a daily struggle to not seek out pornography.
Full story here.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Penalties paid, Heimlich ready to return for Oregon State basebaall

The college baseball season is underway and once again this year, Oregon State and star pitcher Luke Heimlich are among the favorites to make it to Omaha and the College World Series. You may recall Heimlich did not make the trip to Omaha with his teammates last season. He's back on the mound as the Beavers begin this season.
Oregon State's No 2-ranked baseball team opens its season Feb. 16 against New Mexico at Surprise, Arizona.The Beavers are expected to send senior left-hander Luke Heimlich to the mound against the Lobos.Eight months ago, that didn't seem likely.Heimlich, the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and the national ERA leader with an 11-1 record, withdrew from the OSU team before its Super Regional against Vanderbilt last June. He was not with the Beavers during their College World Series appearance, either. In a written statement to the media, he said he didn't want to be a distraction in the wake of reports in The Oregonian that, at age 16, he pleaded guilty to one count of felony child molestation.The charge, brought forth by the ex-wife of Heimlich's brother and mother of his niece, was that Luke inappropriately touched the girl in a private area of her body at his family's home in Puyallup, Washington, at least twice when he was age 13 to 15 and she 4 to 6, from 2010-12. Heimlich pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to two years probation, with the possibility of it being sealed from his record at the end of a five-year period.(That has happened. Heimlich's court records were sealed on Aug. 28 in Pierce County Juvenile Court.)
Read more here