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Human trafficking measure advances in Nebraska Legislature

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A proposal to raise Nebraska's penalties for people who engage in human trafficking received first-round approval Wednesday in the Legislature.

Sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks and backed by Attorney General Doug Peterson, the bill advanced on a 42-0 vote.

Pansing Brooks invoked victims of human trafficking during her statements in support of the bill on the legislative floor.

"We have people who are truly vulnerable that need to be supported," she said following the vote.

But several senators raised concerns about the measure during several hours of debate Tuesday and Wednesday. They argued it would dial back efforts to eliminate mandatory minimum penalties and would strip judges of discretion in sentencing.

Pansing Brooks said she is committed to working with her colleagues to address those concerns.

The bill (LB289) must advance through two additional rounds of debate before becoming law.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7234 or zpluhacek@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @zachami.

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