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New laws pass in election

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In addition to voting for President and House/Senate positions, Nebraska and Oregon had some controversial laws up for vote, both of which passed. 

Recently, Oregon voters approved a measure which decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin, oxycodone and methamphetamines, in addition to using marijuana sales tax to fund payments for drug addiction treatment.

The drugs decriminalized are often associated with social decay and crippling addiction, a concern for many. 

Proponents say this act favors rehabilitation over incarceration and prevents recovering addicts or users from falling back into the cycle of drug-related criminality.

Additionally, Nebraska passed a law legalizing gambling on all six of the horse-racing tracks in Nebraska.

Sophomore Jacob Patrick said he believes the passing of both of these laws is a positive with minimal potential negative consequences.

“I think that this is a step in the right direction of testing the waters of what should and shouldn’t be legal… I believe Oregon is taking a bold move in testing to see what will and won’t work,” Patrick said.

On the subject of gambling, Patrick said he also fully supports it, as the financial gain from taxing gambling funds is too good to pass up.

“In my opinion, I believe this is a great law to have… I’ve heard [that] people who [are] in the ‘at-risk’ area in terms of finance are more likely to fall victim to losing money to gambling, but I don’t think there are many people in Lincoln who will be too impacted by it,” Patrick said.

Colton Mitties and freshman Gage Heithold both share Patrick’s views on Nebraska’s gambling law. Mitties said he believes it “will hopefully lower property taxes in rural areas”, and Heithold said he thinks “Nebraska can tax the hell out of it and make some money”.

However, when it comes to the Oregon drug laws, Mitties said he is against it because “without a harsh penalty, they will [have] no reason to stop”.

Heithold said he fully supports the new law. 

“[Individuals caught] MUST pay [a] $100 fine and MUST attend a drug program,” and “over time, I believe it will cost taxpayer dollars but it will open more job opportunities,” Heithold said.

Time will tell as to whether these new laws are successful and pave the way for other states to follow in decriminalizing drugs and gambling, or if they will cause more harm than good.