Nebraska state senate votes to limit controversial ‘safe haven’ law

Nebraska state senate votes to limit controversial ‘safe haven’ law

[JURIST] The Nebraska state senate [official website] voted Friday to amend its controversial 'safe haven' law [LB 157 text, PDF], which allows parents to abandon their children at certain locations without fear of prosecution. Friday's amendments reduce the age at which children can be abandoned from 18 years and under to 30 days and under. The bill advanced [press release] to final stage Wednesday by a vote of 41-6. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman [official website] signed [press release] the bill into law Friday afternoon.

The amendments were made in response to the frequent abandonment of teenagers under the law. The director of Nebraska's Department of Children and Family Services has been critical of the law since September, calling it too broad [press release; JURIST report]. Of the 35 children abandoned since the law was implemented in July, only six were under the age of 10. [NYT report]. On November 14, Heineman called a special session [JURIST report] of the state senate in order to deal with the loophole.