McCOOK, Nebraska -- A bill introduced this legislative session by Sen. Mark Christensen intends to change provisions of incarceration for the McCook Work Ethic Camp.
Sen. Christensen told members of the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce, last week during their Thursday morning legislative conference call at the Keystone Business Center, that LB 313 may reduce the number of inmates at the WEC but there was talk of a future bill to expand the operation.
Sen. Christensen said that legislators from Eastern Nebraska would likely push for the expansion to be part of a new WEC constructed to the east, but he hoped to gather support for expanding on the McCook location instead. Sen. Christensen said he hoped to pursue the scenario during the next legislative session.
Sen. Christensen also introduced a bill this session which intends to remove restrictions put on WEC work crews that prevent them from assisting non-profit organizations. Sen. Christensen said the work crews were utilized successfully in the past but subsequent interpretation of the law has since prevented it. LB 52 will offer another work option for those incarcerated, as well as another opportunity to utilize the labor, said Christensen.
City Councilman Mike Gonzales, who also serves as executive director of the McCook YMCA, said the work crews were a great asset in the past. "It really hurt our workforce," when that option was taken away, said Gonzales.
Community Hospital Health Foundation executive director Terri Shipshock added that the Chamber of Commerce had previously ised work crews to do various tasks in the community as well.
LB 52 will change employment provisions for persons committed to the department of correctional services, effective Jan. 10, 2013, allowing for arrangements with any charitable, fraternal, or nonprofit corporation for labor services which have a public benefit.
Among the 18 bills introduced by Sen. Christensen this session are three gun-related bills. LB 335 intends to prevent employers from establishing rules that disallow firearms from being kept in private vehicles, on public or private property.
LB 390 would change provisions relating to the governor's powers regarding restrictions on firearms and ammunition, under the Emergency Management Act.
Among other details, the bill would prohibit the restriction of the otherwise lawful possession of firearms during a declared state of emergency.
Sen. Christensen explained that LB352 standardized the signage requirements pertaining to concealed handguns. The bill would implement a standard 3' by 5' colored sign to be placed over every entrance to a building where concealed handguns are not permitted.
Other bills introduced by Sen. Christensen;
LB 16 changes provisions relating to title to Champion Mill State Historical Park, allowing for Chase County to revert ownership of the park back to the state should a financial need detrimental to the county arise.
LB 387 eliminates provisions relating to constructing drainage facilities and taking other control measures on public roads. Sen. Christensen said there were to different areas of state law that addressed the topic, his bill eliminated one of them. He added that he would likely pull his bill as efforts to merge the two progressed.
LB 386 pertains to notice of road maintenance by counties. Sen. Christensen said only one county had communicated opposition to the bill to him thus far, Dawson County.