Alcohol Enforcement in Nebraska Hits Budget Hurdle

state-patrol-logoAn effort to boost state-level alcohol enforcement in Nebraska is colliding with budget realities in the Legislature.

Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber presented a bill Thursday to increase the number of Nebraska State Patrol officers, who would focus primarily on alcohol-law enforcement.

The patrol has 477 sworn officers, the lowest number since 1986. Karpisek says the number of alcohol licenses has surged during that time.

Lawmakers spent the morning debating the proposal’s costs, without reaching a vote. Some questioned whether they should commit money specifically for alcohol-law investigators, as opposed to giving the State Patrol more money for officers in general.

Karpisek has scaled back his original proposal from 15 officers to 10, and he says that number is still fluid.