Nebraska Legislative Bill 259: Adopt and change competency and financial ability provisions relating to court proceedings as prescribed

This bill describes how Nebraska courts should proceed in instances where a person cannot pay their fines and fees. It prohibits incarcerating people who cannot afford to pay and allows courts to reduce or waive fines and fees, or offer community service as an alternative.  The bill also outlines the protocol for when a person has the means to pay, but willfully does not.

You can read the full text of the bill here.

Key Provisions
  • If a court determines that a person is unable to pay their fines and fees, the court will either relieve the person of their fees, modify their payment plan (if they are on one), or order the person to perform community service.
  • A person who has not been arrested for nonpayment and believes they are unable to pay their court costs can request a hearing where the court will determine their ability to pay.
  • If a person is sentenced to probation and the court determines that the person is unable to pay the fees associated with their supervision, the court will waive those fees.
  • If a court determines that a person is able to pay their fines and fees, and that person does not pay, the court may sentence them to either incarceration or community service.
Matt Hansen and Ernest William Chambers