4 BILLS AIMED AT CHLD WELFARE, JUVENILE JUSTICE ISSUES IN NEBRASKA

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s economic woes shouldn’t stop lawmakers from taking steps to help abused and neglected or troubled children, a trio of state senators said Monday.

The three, who sit on the Nebraska Children’s Commission, unveiled a package of bills addressing child welfare and juvenile justice issues.

Together, the bills would cost more than $1 million, which could be a tough sell in a session when lawmakers already are facing a nearly $900 million budget shortfall through June 30, 2019, the end of the next two-year budget period. The shortfall equals about 6.3 percent of the budgeted and projected state spending during that same period.

But State Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln said children should be a priority for the Legislature.

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