LINCOLN — A bill that sought to conceal the identities of those who buy and register handguns in Nebraska won't be debated on the Legislature's floor this year.
Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion made Legislative Bill 293 his priority for the session, but it failed Tuesday to advance out of the Judiciary Committee on a 4-4 vote. If the bill doesn't advance out of committee next session, it dies.
Kintner introduced the bill in response to the publication of thousands of names and addresses of gun owners by a small daily newspaper in New York. Many of the gun owners were angered by what they considered an invasion of privacy, and they argued their homes would become targets of criminals looking to steal guns.
Voting to advance the bill were Sens. Al Davis of Hyannis, Steve Lathrop of Omaha, Mark Christensen of Imperial and Colby Coash of Lincoln. Voting against advancement were Sens. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, Amanda McGill of Lincoln, Brad Ashford of Omaha and Les Seiler of Hastings.
The committee later voted to advance a bill that would lift the cloak of secrecy in disciplinary cases against police.
Chambers introduced Legislative Bill 541 in response to the reinstatement of two Omaha police officers who were involved with kicking, punching and stomping a man outside a hospital. Controversy erupted after surveillance camera footage of the 2011 incident became public.
Two of the officers involved were fired by then-Police Chief Alex Hayes. Both appealed their terminations, and under the police union contract, the case went to arbitration. An arbitrator reinstated both after receiving evidence behind closed doors.
Chambers also said he has concerns because, under the union contract, an arbitrator's decision cannot be appealed. The secrecy of the process has fed community doubts and suspicions about whether the city properly presented the case against the two officers, Chambers said.
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