Attorney General Jon Bruning unveiled his 2013 legislative crime package Thursday, the second day of Nebraska's 103rd legislative session.
The first bill will create a separation between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. The bill would make a distinction between the two primarily by making their penalties different.
Involuntary manslaughter would remain as a Class III felony punishable by one to 20 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine. However, voluntary manslaughter would change to be classified as a Class II felony, carrying a possible penalty of one to 50 years in prison.
"When you kill someone intentionally, you should be penalized accordingly," said Bruning. "This bill addresses the intent behind acts of manslaughter and provides a more appropriate penalty for intentionally taking a life."
The second bill included in the package would require businesses to notify the Attorney General's Office of data security breaches involving Nebraskans. Currently, 17 states require companies to notify the state Attorney General's Office when data breaches occur.
The third bill would place sanctions on any Nebraskan's abilities to invest public funds in companies associated with Iran. "State-level sanctions can make a substantive
contribution to federal efforts to isolate and pressure Iran," said Bruning.
Under the bill, the Attorney General's Office will compile an annual list of scrutinized companies with links to Iran. The list will be provided annually to the Nebraska State Investment Officer to prevent future investment with listed companies.
The last bill would make it a criminal offense to disarm or attempt to disarm a peace officer while performing his or her duties. The bill also sets the penalty for intentionally or knowingly disarming an officer at a Class III felony offense, which is punishable by one to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of $25,000. Intentionally or knowingly attempting to disarm a peace officer would be considered a Class IV felony and would be punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000.
"Currently, the act of disarming an officer is addressed by charges like resisting arrest or obstruction of an officer, both of which are misdemeanor charges," said Sen. Coash, who is sponsoring the bill. "A misdemeanor charge is not appropriate for this level of threat."
This is the 11th legislative package announced by Bruning's office. In all, 36 of Bruning's legislative initiatives have been signed into law since 2003.