Posts Tagged ‘Nebraska Legislature’

Trooper Downing and First Lady Sally Ganem

Wow what a week last week was for our MADD State Office!  On Tuesday we held our 12th annual “Outstanding Law Enforcement Awards & Recognition” in LaVista and Iowa law enforcement joined our event too.  It was a pleasure to see more than 25 awards handed out to deserving individuals that work tirelessly to ensure that we have safe roads to travel home on each and every day.
MADD appreciates the  financial support from Bob Batt to make this event a reality and we really appreciate the support of the family members of the winners as they pay a price that we, the public, will never understand but we do appreciate.  There was much fun to be had on Tuesday and the Candy Bar was a hit again. Thanks to our signature sponsor No Frills.
Next, there was the signing of LB 667 into law by the Governor.  A comprehensive piece of legislation brought to the state senators by the Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, manged by the Speaker of the Legislature, Mike Flood and prioritized by Senator Wallman.  Additionally, there was considerable victim input by several families and MADD was pleased to see more ignition interlock put into use, boating under suspension, and a separate offense for transporting a child while intoxicated. The bill went through all three rounds of debate without a single NO vote.  That is a testament to the legislature’s support to stop drunk driving and support victims/survivors impacted by this violent crime.
Last, we all kicked off the 100 days of summer with Memorial Day weekend.  A time for reflection, family and gratitude for those that serve our country to ensure we all have our freedom to live life to the fullest.
Several different agencies were conducting DUI enforcement and  seat belt enforcement. Naturally, there was some of concern around the Nebraska State Parks as this is the first year it has been legal to consume alcohol in our state parks for some while.  However, at first glance it seems all went well despite the fact it has put some additional burden on our law enforcement agencies.
That about wraps it up – busy week!  Thanks to our supporters, our victim families and the community for supporting our mission.


Friday, Dec. 3rd the Greater Omaha area held an educational “wet lab” to demonstrate just how many drinks it really takes to reach .08 BAC (blood alcohol content).  There were more than half a dozen volunteers that were drinking and then equal amount of law enforcement Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) on hand to monitor the impact alcohol had on the volunteer drinkers. Most volunteer drinkers felt that they would not want to drive after they reached a limit of .05 BAC.

Also there was a press conference where First Lady Sally Ganem spoke about the need for parents to talk to their youth about the dangers of underage drinking and keeping a close eye on our children this holiday season. 

Attorney General Jon Bruning stepped up to the plate at the press conference stating that his office and several key senators were working to implement changes to hold offenders accountable:

Changes in the law would include:

  • Mandatory ignition interlock for all offenders .08 and above
  • DUI/Child Endangerment as a Felony Offense
  • Higher penalties for those that procure for minors, including jail time
  • Enhanced BUI for boating under the influence
  • Distinct crime for DUI homicide and serious bodily injury  

These are all welcome changes for our members and supporters.  When you consider the fact that DUI is the most frequently committed crime in our state with more than 13,000 arrests in 2009 and the fact that 1 person dies every 4 days in our state due to an alcohol-related crash and 1 person is injured every 3 hours – Attorney General Bruning, and the Nebraska Unicameral, is spot on to address the need to enhance penalties and hold offenders accountable.

Contact your state senator and let them know you support increased penalties for DUI homicide and injury, DUI Child Endangerment, BUI enhancements. The most important letter you can write this holiday is not to Santa but to your state senator requesting  that the Unicameral pass a bill implementing  mandatory ignition interlock on every offender’s car we want them to – “Blow Before You Go”.  This legislation will save lives, support the fabric of our community and hold those who make the choice to drink and drive accountable for their crime.

A special note of thanks goes out to the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department, and all participating law enforcement agencies, and to Fire Guard for their hospitality on Friday!


July 17, 1984 the 40th President of the United States saw the importance of signing the 21 law to stop the :”crazy quilt of States’ drinking laws and far too many blood borders, borders where teens drive across to reach States’ with lower drinking ages”

While the 21 law is in tact,  here in Nebraska, we face county blood borders as each county and city independently decide to implement or turn down the 2 am bar closing. Creating, for the entire state, a public health issue.

Just as President Reagan publicly stated at the White House signing of the National Minimum Drinking Age Law, “this is a problem bigger than the individual states” so too is this law (2 am bar closing)  a problem bigger than one county. This law is a state problem for all of us and MADD will ask the Unicameral leaders to step up and fix the law. Clearly, the motoring public would benefit from a “uniform” bar closing that is mandated by the state.  There are times when we appreciate local control but just as President Reagan looked at the greater good for the nation, we too must look at the greater good for the state.

Nebraskans should  contact their state senator and let them know that we do not want county blood borders. 

Nebraskans deserve a Uniform state law for the sale of alcohol.

  Your voice does matter – this is a good time to use it!



Here at MADD we want to acknowledge that April 18 is the beginning of Crime Victims’ Rights Week.  The first National Crime Victims’ Rights Week was launched by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, a year after the founding of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 1980.

Thanks to the vision and action of many, and in particular President Reagan, every state has passed a victims’ rights law and  there are a multitude of statutes in every state that empower crime victims with hard-won legal protections.

In Nebraska, LB 270 was passed (41– 4) in 2004 to secure the enacting legislation to ensure ALL victims had the right to present their victim impact statement at sentencing and that victims of crime had the right to be in court.  In our state county attorneys have the duty to contact those impacted by crime and assure them of their rights.

MADD Nebraska has a trained victim advocate on staff and two trained volunteer victim advocates to assist those impacted by

Need help to pick up the pieces - 800-MADD-HELP

drunk driving.  If you are a victim of an alcohol-related crash please know that we are here to support you as you navigate through court, financial struggles, property damage, injuries and grief.  Our motto is “we help survivors survive” and we do it with dignity, respect and the fairness you deserve.

Many of us never thought we would find ourselves needing anyone to help but all too often something bad does happen and then you have pieces to pick up. We just want you to know you don’t have to do it alone.

I want to take a minute of your time to strongly encourage you to contact your state senator and let him or her know your support for LB 258, a bill that holds minors in possession accountable for multiple offenses. The bill provides for enhanced penalties much like our DUI statutes.

 MADD stands strong on the concept of Restrict, Repay and Recover.  As a community we want to ensure that an MIP offenders do not have the opportunity to re-offend year after year without increased penalties.

 LB 258, provides the appropriate avenue for offender accountability.  Currently, a young person can have multiple Minor In Possession(MIP) violations and the same consequence is in place – just as if it was a first offense. There must be a strong deterrent factor: tougher fines, community service, alcohol education.

   As a society, we must implement sanctions that hold the offender accountable in order to assure that the MIP offender does not go on to become a DUI offender that is in control of a 2,000 pound bullet.  A bullet that poses substantial risk to our wellbeing as we drive the roads to work, school & social functions.  Everyone in the community ought to have the right to travel safely without the worries of being impacted by a drunk driver.

 On behalf of MADD and our members, I want to encourage  you to contact your Nebraska State Senator ASAP and affirm your support for this legislation.

Nebraska Unicameral

 Please take time to support this legislative issue that addresses the continued lack of attention to the repeat MIP issue. Additionally, thank Senator Harms for introducing it and Speaker Flood for his strong support on the floor during debate, Tuesday, February 16th.

Simera Reynolds, M. Ed.

MADD Nebraska

This is a tough pill to swallow.  Sarpy County District Judge Arterburn issued a 14-page ruling agreeing with the defense attorney that the golf course (where a golf cart crash killed a woman) was not open to public access at the time of the fatal wreck.  Hmm, does thisgolfcart imply if the golf cart crash had taken place in the open hours it would have meant that felony motor vehicle homicide did take place?  The offender, Kimberly McIllece had a blood alocohol content of .198 more than twice the legal limit.

 “Clearly an individual who is twice the legal limit and driving a motorized vehicle is a public health issue for all of us” stated Senator Tony Fulton, District 29.

Nebraska Unicameral

When a person gets into any recreational vehicle and drives over the legal limit resulting in a death they need to be held accountable.  Each of us has a duty to call on our state senator and let them know that we are concerned for our public safety. This is an issue that will not cost the tax payer any money to clear up and will result in stronger and more consistent treatment of those who make the choice to break our state laws. 

You have the voice – – and now you have the resource.  E-mail your state senator and let them know that we want to make sure that those who drive drunk are held accountable and especially at night!  It does not matter if you are operating a boat, a motorcycle or a golf cart.  Here in Nebraska we have standards and that standard is .08.

There is no time like the present.  With a Special Session around the bend your state senator will be in Linclon.  The tax revenues may be low but our standards can still stay high.  Thank you for taking time to voice your concern – every victim deserves a voice.  Thanks for yours!

The war against drunk driving continues on, in Nebraska, 65 people were killed by drunk drivers with an illegal alcohol level of .08 BAC or higher, in 2008. Despite a tremendous decline – here at MADD, even one more death is unacceptable. 

 The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving is exactly what it says it is. New, smart technology is in development that would detect if a driver is drunk and prevent the car from starting.  In our state we are fortunate enough to have a legislative body that stands behind this Campaign and supports policies to reduce drunk driving, LB 497.

 When you think about how far technology has come from anti-theft sensors to a car that parallel parks itself, it’s highly conceivable that in years to come cars will have alcohol sensors to stop drunk driving all together.

In the meantime, the Campaign calls for stepped up efforts to stop drunk driving – high visibility law enforcement crackdowns, and mandatory ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. Both of these tools are utilized in our state and prehaps that may be one reason our alcohol-related deaths are at an all time low.

 We believe we can eliminate drunk driving once and for all. But we need the public’s support so MADD will work to mobilize our grassroots to fight to eliminate drunk driving.  Please take a moment to thank your state senator for voting for LB 497,   and

the Governor, for signing the bill as it arrived on his desk.

Nebraska State Capitol
Nebraska State Capitol

Simera Reynolds, M.Ed.

State Executive Director