LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Nebraska is a step closer to eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders under a compromise bill advanced by the state Legislature.
Senators voted 25-22 on Wednesday to advance an amended bill after it became clear a proposal to eliminate mandatory minimum penalties for a variety of low-level felonies did not have enough support. It still needs two more votes.
It would apply to people who possess and intend to distribute cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine. Current mandatory minimum prison sentences are three or five years, depending on the amount of drugs found.
Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Omaha, who proposed the amendment, says drug offenders should not be sentenced like people who committed violent crimes.
Opponents contend distributors of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine still committed serious crimes.