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Nebraska legislator mulling options after Pete Ricketts vetoes bill on setting aside convictions

March 24, 2018 GMT

The sponsor of a bill allowing former criminals to have their convictions set aside will weigh his options now that Gov. Pete Ricketts has vetoed the legislation.

State Sen. John McCollister of Omaha said Thursday that he will consider the merits of an override attempt before making a decision. But he disagreed with the governor’s criticism of the bill as “poor public policy.”

“It would strike the right balance between punishment and providing former offenders with a second chance and an opportunity,” McCollister said.

The law already allows those fined or placed on probation to petition the court to have their convictions set aside. Legislative Bill 350 would let those convicted of certain more serious felonies seek set-asides as well.

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The bill passed the third and final stage of consideration on a vote of 30-11. It requires a minimum of 30 votes to override a veto.

In his veto message, the governor said the bill erodes the deterrent effect of penalties for criminal offenses.

“LB 350 weakens confidence in the criminal justice system,” Ricketts said. “It is wrong to put post-sentence remedies for these crimes on the same level as those where a judge believes a simple fine or time in the community on probation is the appropriate sanction.”