Juvenile Justice Omnibus Bill Passed by the NE Legislature

Senators passed a bill July 31 that makes several changes to existing juvenile justice practices. The bill also authorizes the court to hold a review hearing for any change in placement and issue a temporary stay of such change until completion of the review. Each juvenile who is placed at a YRTC is entitled to an annual review of their placement by the juvenile court for as long as they remain committed.LB1148, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Tony Vargas, requires the Office of Juvenile Services to file a report with the court and give notice of any changes in a youth offender’s placement at a youth rehabilitation and treatment center. The office is required to provide copies of the notice to all interested parties, including any parent or guardian of the juvenile, at least seven days before the placement.

Provisions of four additional bills also are included in LB1148:

• LB458, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop, which allows child advocacy centers to access child abuse and neglect investigations under review by the state Department of Health and Human Services;
• LB906, sponsored by Bennington Sen. Wendy DeBoer, which clarifies the process of retaining forensic interview videos by child advocacy centers;
• LB969, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne, which ensures that defendants are entitled to a physical copy of a video recording in which they are described; and
• LB975, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Suzanne Geist, which allows DHHS to share information gathered from adult and child abuse investigations for the purpose of complying with other state or federal investigations.

The bill passed on a 35-6 vote.