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News Scan

NE Death Penalty Repeal Dies:  The Associated Press reports that a bill to repeal Nebraska's death penalty, which had been thought inevitable, was killed Tuesday. The bill was filibustered, a vote to end the filibuster fell five votes short. Though the death penalty remains in Nebraska, some lawmakers expressed frustration with the already hampered process. The state, which has 11 death row inmates, has not carried out an execution since 1997.

WA Prison Guard Killer's Fate Being Considered:  The Associated Press reports, that the jury that convicted Byron Scherf for the murder of a prison guard at Washington State Prison began the sentencing trial Monday.  Already serving a life term for multiple rapes, Scherf strangled Jayme Biendl to death in the chapel at the prison. In Washington, aggravated murder carries the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Continued from this News Scan.

CA Lax Oversight Leads to Convicts Becoming Counselors:  Jim Miller of the Press-Enterprise reports that the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes announced findings Monday indicating that California's no-background check policy for hiring substance abuse counselors has resulted in convicts filling positions. The investigation uncovered convicted sex offenders, child molesters, substance abusers, and embezzlers working as counselors. The report says the power held by such individuals puts those seeking help at great risk. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says the state must take action to keep children and other vulnerable parties safe. Past efforts to legislate more rigorous background checks have died in committee.

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