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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 25, 1999)
Senators debate merits of seat-belt bill
By Shane Anthony
A bill that would allow law
enforcement officers to stop motorists
for not wearing seat belts strapped sen
ators into intense debate Wednesday.
Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers
opposed LB356, saying it would lead
to racist police harassment. But
Beatrice Sen. Dennis Byars stuck by
his bill, saying safety was the major
concern. Debate ran back and forth
between Chambers and Byars with
other senators chiming in until the
Legislature adjourned at noon.
i win not oe aeierrea, LmamDers
said. “I will not be dissuaded, and I
certainly will not be intimidated.”
He offered, debated and withdrew
a motion to indefinitely postpone the
bill; offered an amendment - which
failed - that would have returned the
bill to reflecting current law; and
moved to bracket the bill until March
“This is one of those matters where
I’m going to have to use die opportuni
ty to educate my colleagues,” he said.
During part of the debate,
Chambers said he might have to spend
more time on issues where he was
against the majority of the Legislature
and less time on bills such as those
introduced by the Agriculture
Committee that target meat packers.
“I will have a lot more time if I
leave these rural issues alone,” he said.
“Let them take care of their own.”
In addition to making seat belt vio
lations primary offenses, the bill
would also count one point against a
person’s drivers license for being con
victed of a seat-belt violation and
require convicted persons to pay court
Byars said he wanted to keep peo
ple from dying.
“What I’m about, what this bill is
about, what my motivation is about is
saving lives,” he said.
Byars drew support from Wahoo
Sen. Curt Bromm and Eddyville Sen.
Bromm said he did not discount
Chambers’ arguments about harass
ment and racism. But an increase in
fatal accidents concerned him.
“I’m not content to sit here as a
legislator and do nothing,” he said.
Chambers spoke at length about
police harassing black motorists. He
cited the shooting death of Marvin
Ammons by an Omaha police officer
as an example. Police pulled Ammons
over for a minor offense, he said.
“This is how the police operate,”
Ord Sen. Jerry Schmitt and
Lincoln Sen. LaVon Crosby supported
Schmitt, a retired Nebraska State
Patrol Officer, said he respects law
enforcement, but some officers would
use the law as an excuse to stop peo
Byars said that was not the bill’is
“This isn’t a bill to discriminate,”
he said. “This is not a bill in any way
that will give law enforcement a tool to
harass. It is to save lives.”
Crosby said seat belt laws already
exist and felt Byars was trying to lay a
guilt trip on other senators.
“I understand what you are talking
about,” she said. “But I don’t like die
guilt laid on me”
The Legislature adjourned without
taking any action on the bill. The issue
is scheduled for debate again today.
Senior staff writer Jessica
Fargen contributed to this report.
Landis pushes for cigarette tax
By Brian Carlson
Sen. David Landis of Lincoln was
skeptical when first asked to sponsor a
bill to deter youth smoking by raising
cigarette taxes from 34 cents to $1 per
After all, he had received vigorous
complaints and pokes in the ribs from
constituents angry about previous cig
arette tax hikes of just a few cents.
Surely a tax hike of 66 cents would be
just too controversial.
But as Landis mulled over the
idea, he reached a new conchisioa
“The facts were clear,” he said.
“First, if tobacco costs more, youth
consumption goes down. Second, if
youth do not start smoking, they live
“Would it be worth the political
downside?” he asked Wednesday in a
hearing before the Legislature’s
Revenue Committee. “Of course it
LB505 would implement that 66
cent-per-pack cigarette tax hike and
create the Tobacco Prevention,
Control and Enforcement Fund to
conduct anti-smoking programs.
At Wednesday^ hearing, a group
of ninth-graders from Luke County
Public Schools in Taylor told the
Revenue Committee that a tax hike
would deter youth smoking and save
Errin Van Diest said 90 percent of
smokers start die habit as teen-agers.
At Luke County Public Schools, she
said, about one-third of students in
grades 7 through 12 are smokers.
Orrin Backhmd said he had seen a
reduction in smoking among Taylor
students since federally negotiated
cigarette price hikes went into effect
He said he believed steeper state ciga
rette hikes would deter even more
Andrew Nelson said that by pass
ing LB505, the Legislature could take
an important step to protect young
people from the dangers of smoking.
“Who could be against anything
this important in the fight against teen
age smoking?” he said.
Chris Caudill of the Nebraska
Medical Association said teen-age
smoking has risen 70 percent since
Studies by the Centers for Disease
Control have firmly established a link
between higher cigarette prices and
lower youth smoking, he said. Thus
the state should pass LB505 to protect
young smokers from effective market
ing that has billed smoking as some
thing that is “cooL, macho, the thing to
do,” Ik said.
“Simply put, this bill will save
Death penalty opponents speak
DEATH from page 1
in prison has led to an unfounded
basis for keeping the death penalty,
said Carter Van Pelt, state coordina
tor of Nebraskans Against the Death
“I think there’s a hysteria that
life sentences are not served,” he
said. “That’s not true.”
LB76 safeguards against early
release of a person sentenced to life
in prison without parole, he said.
The bill states that “a person so sen
tenced shall not under any circum
stances whatsoever be paroled.”
The hysteria put aside, Alex
Wolf, a member of the Omaha
Indian Tribe, said the racial dispari
ties in the death penalty are reason
enough to abolish it
The recent case of convicted
murderer Randy Reeves, who is
American Indian, has sparked pub
lic outcry that the death penalty is
Two days before Reeves was
scheduled to die in the electric chair
earlier this year, he was granted a
stay of execution by the Nebraska
“Randy Reeves is an example of
our ingracious, unequal judicial
system here in the state of
Nebraska,” said Wolf, who said he
was also speaking on Reeves’
He noted that two of the three
people executed in Nebraska in the
1990s have been minorities.
Pat Knapp, a Lincoln attorney,
said the death penalty was racist,
and that she saw Nebraska politi
cians using a pro-death penalty
stance to gain political clout
we are Killing people in
Nebraska because the issue can be
used on a statewide level to further
political careers,” she said. “No one
should die because someone is run
ning forU.S. Senate.”
Former Gov. Frank Morrison
saw disparity in the way county
prosecutors sentence people to die.
Morrison, who is also a former
prosecuting attorney, said he has
seen an 18-year-old given the death
penalty and seen other murderers
escape any penalty at all.
“I’ve always marveled at the stu
pid things intelligent people do,” he
Greg Keller, journalism and
American history teacher at Lincoln
High, disagreed with holding the
state to a different standard than
I think there's a
hysteria that life
J-..- I .0.1(11, .•!•••• • t • «' • •
sentences are not
Carter Van Pelt
Nebraskans Against the
Death Penalty State Coordinator
“Why is it acceptable for the
state to commit homicide?” he said.
“Why don’t we hold the justice sys
tem to the same standard?”
In related death penalty bills:
■LB391, sponsored by Lincoln
Sen. David Landis, aims to com
mute death sentences to life in
prison if racial discrimination was
shown in the sentencing.
■ LBS2, sponsored by Omaha
Sen. Kermit Brashear, would
change the method of execution
from the electric chair to lethal
Testimony continues in
foster-home murder case
, GALLIGO from page 1
The two teen-agers who discov
ered Schmader’s body Dec. 22,1995,
when they were digging a fort with a
shovel, also testified Wednesday.
Michael GlaSer, 19, and Adrian
Doan, 17, told the jury how they
uncovered Schmader’s head when
they were digging dirt to fill sandbags
Schmader’s body was found in the
farthest south of three tunnels in the
48th Street underpass. A bike trail
runs through the north tunnel,
Antelope Creek flows through the
middle tunnel and die southern tunnel
is for overflow.
Lancaster county coroner
Mattias Okoye said Schmader died
from a deep stab wound in the middle
of his back and a skull fracture that
ran from ear to ear across die base of
his skull. 1
Okoye said Schmader also had
several cuts on his right hand that
showed he had been fighting off his
In Beggs’ testimony, she said that
Hopkins and Galligo were very close
when they lived in her house.
“Where you saw Tim you usually
saw Tony,” Beggs said.
The Beggses have run a foster
home at 2155 S. 52nd St for 32 years,
where they are licensed to care for
Brandon Pickinpaugh, 17, anoth
er resident of the Beggs foster home,
was found murdered last Thursday in
a McDonald's parking lot, 48th and
Van Dorn streets, a few blocks from
where Schmader’s body was buried.
At the time ot scmnader s murder,
seven boys were living in the house.’
Hopkins and Galligo roomed
together in the Beggs’ sun room,
which is connected to the room
Schmader was staying in.
Several months before
Schmader’s murder, some other boys
in the house accused him and two
other boys of sexual assault.
Beggs said that when she heard
about the problem from a counselor
who was working with the boys, she
addressed the problem and it stopped.
Hopkins is scheduled to testify
today, and die trial is expected to run
into the middle of next week.
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ALL MATERIAL COPYRIGHT 1999
THE DAILY NEBRASKAN
Career fair to begins at UNL today
By Bernard Vogelsang
Students looking for summer
jobs, internships or permanent
employment can connect today with
155 employers from across the
The employers will recruit stu
dents and provide them with career
information at the Three-in-One
Career Fair from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
in the Nebraska Union.
Geri Cotter, acting director of
UNUs Career Services, said the fair is
the last chance for students to get into
contact with employers this semester
since there will not be a summer job
fair this year.
The fair welcomes private busi
nesses, nonprofit and government
employers and summer employers.
Cotter said she is excited that
more federal agencies will participate
in the fair this year. Both the U.S.
Department of Health and Human
Services and the U.S. Department of
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Conservation agencies will send
Cotter said students should pre
pare well before they attend the fair.
She recommended students bring
several copies of their resumes and
wear business attire.
“Students don’t have to wear a
suit,” she said, “but they should dress
the way they think an employer wants
to see them.”
Cotter said students also should
prepare a one-minute introduction of
who they are and what they are inter
The fair will conclude with a
recruiter reception from 6:30 p.m.
until 8:30 p.m. to provide students,
particularly minority students, an
opportunity to interact with employ
ers in a relaxed atmosphere.
Prior to the fair, the Criminal
Justice Students Association will
sponsor a discussion about career
opportunities in law enforcement and
corrections at noon in the union.
Human Resources Assistant Jean
Campbell of the L.A.-based William
M. Mercer, the world’s largest human
resource management consulting
firm, said his company would recruit
students at the fair.
Campbell said Mercer also
attended the fair to increase the firmfe
name recognition among students.
She said she hoped more students
would consider starting their careens
at Mercer after the fair.
“The fair gives the company a lot
of good exposure.”
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