LINCOLN--Attorney General Mike Hilgers announced his 2024 legislative priorities today alongside the three state senators introducing legislation, Senators Bosn, Ibach, and Armendariz. The bills all focus on strengthening the protections for vulnerable Nebraskans from exploitation.
“Our office works tirelessly to protect vulnerable Nebraskans. The tools in these bills will help protect Nebraskans, including trafficking victims and children, from exploitation. I am grateful for the senators for introducing these bills, and look forward to working with the Legislature to pass these common-sense bills that will do enormous good for Nebraskans’ health and well-being.”
Today, the Attorney General announced three bills as part of this package.
The first bill, sponsored by Senator Carolyn Bosn, will strengthen the ability of the Attorney General to protect Nebraskans who have been financially exploited. Nebraskans who have lost money or property to unfair or deceptive businesses expect and deserve the best opportunity to get their money back. This legislation gives the Attorney General the ability to request a trial by jury for deceptive businesses that have harmed our local citizens. It also allows assets of deceptive businesses to be frozen, permitting a better opportunity for restitution for victims.
"Deceptive businesses should not be able to spend money fraudulently taken from consumers, and this bill would help prevent that," stated Senator Bosn.
The second bill, sponsored by Senator Teresa Ibach, will make substantial modifications to the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act to limit a perceived loophole for Delta 8 and related products. The Attorney General’s office has launched a significant, statewide enforcement effort after investigation and finding that nearly 90% of the products tested by the office contained incorrect labeling and that these products often contained a variety of dangerous chemicals, some of which can lead to serious injury or even death. In addition, unknown chemicals, as well as known carcinogens used in the production of some products, have appeared in ingestible products that bear copycat packaging to branded foods and candies or are marketed in a manner attractive to children.
“The Legislature passed legislation to create a market for a non-dangerous commodity product, and bad actors are using perceived loopholes to put Nebraskans, especially children, at risk,” stated Ibach.
The third and final bill, sponsored by Senator Christy Armendariz, is critical legislation to combat child exploitation and human trafficking online. This bill continues the ongoing partnership between the Nebraska Legislature, the Attorney General's Office, and the Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force by strengthening Nebraska statutes to protect potential victims of sex trafficking and sexual assault, particularly children.
"Our goal is to take power away from traffickers and strengthen our ability to empower victims," said Senator Armendariz.
It will allow protection beyond the geographic limits of Nebraska to affect internet content providers who distribute content in our state that exploits children and sex trafficking victims.