The Nebraska legislature has given 43-3 final approval to a bill allowing domestic violence victims who live with their abuser in a rental property to break their lease and leave without penalties.
The bill includes other tenant protections, such as requiring landlords to give at least 24 hours of notice before entering a tenant’s apartment.
The bill was inspired by incidents in Nebraska where women left abusive partners but were forced by their landlord to keep paying rent while their partner remained in the apartment.
Lawmakers gave first-round approval to $4-million dollars to help Gage County pay the $28.1-million dollar award by a jury to the Beatrice 6, who spent a combined 75 years in prison wrongly convicted of the rape-murder of an elderly woman.
The $28.1 million is more than three times the total annual property tax collections in the small county in the southeast part of the state.
An earlier legislature approved an additional sales tax that Gage and other counties could use to pay off similar court judgements.
This year’s bailout bill originally called for $10-million over 2 years, but some senators questioned the amount.
Gage County’s insurance carriers last year agreed to pay just under $6-million dollars after arguing for years they weren’t obligated to provide coverage.
As of the end of last year, the county had paid off roughly half of the jury award with annual payments scheduled to pay off the full amount by 2024.