For much of his hour-long Coffee with a senator, State Sen. Les Seiler of Hastings talked about reforms he hopes to see made to the state prison system.
That discussion included LB 999, a bill introduced by Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha that Seiler made his priority bill last week. Among its provisions include a study into costs of modernizing Building 7 at the Hastings Regional Center to house and rehabilitate criminals with mental illness, which would help alleviate prison overcrowding.
About 30 people attended the coffee Saturday morning at Kitty’s Roadhouse.
Seiler said Hastings and HRC, which has a long history treating individuals with mental illnesses, is the perfect place for such a program.
“Everybody here has grown up with mental health,” he said. “It’s been there since the ’20s. You’re not afraid of it.”
The bill has unanimous approval from the judiciary committee, including Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, Seiler said.