Bills to address Nebraska's prison overcrowding stalls

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Lawmakers have hit a roadblock in their efforts to address overcrowding and other problems in the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.

Sen. Laura Ebke, of Crete, said Tuesday the package of five bills was meant to be noncontroversial and make small progress toward reducing the prison population. Nebraska's prison system faces a state-mandated deadline to reduce the number of incarcerated inmates by 2020.

Many senators say the bill was watered down because of compromises created to appease department officials. Sen. Ernie Chambers, of Omaha, took issue with the measure and mounted a filibuster to try to derail it.

Ebke says she's unsure if the votes remain to bring the bill back, but she is hopeful to reach a compromise with Chambers and advance the legislation next week.