A bill that would create stiffer penalties for people who buy and sell sex in Nebraska has advanced in the Legislature, but lawmakers say it needs more work.
Senators voted 42-0 Wednesday to give first-round approval to a bill that would increase prison sentences for sex traffickers and provide other protections for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln says the law now punishes victims and lets traffickers get away with probation if they are prosecuted at all.
Several senators say higher penalties that could result in life sentences for some traffickers don't fit with recent legislative efforts to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha says lawmakers too often create higher penalties to appear tough on whatever crimes have gained attention.