In a race to beat the courts City Council President, Adam Hornung wants to change Lincoln's water violation from a misdemeanor to an infraction.
Hornung hopes quick action will save the accused from losing their jobs. "We're all trying to save water, but at the end of the day, we shouldn't be keeping people from getting jobs, we shouldn't be calling these crimes misdemeanors," said Hornung.
It might take time to get others on board with his opinion and Hornung said every minute that ticks by is another minute closer to someones misdemeanor conviction. "These are the kind of things that affect people's lives, in a tight job market make a difference. We all know how fine the difference can be when people apply for jobs. Something this simple can make a difference. It shouldn't make a difference for one person, let alone 300 people," said Hornung.
Mayor Beutler told 10/11 News last week he wants to look at the issue, but isn't in a hurry to make a change. "Each time we deal with it we get a little smarter, we realize that some things don't work very well. We'll be reviewing a number of things including the criminal penalty, the ease of application, the fairness of it," said Beutler.
While it appears Mayor Beutler and Hornung have different time lines, they both want people to obey the law and save water. " I think that there are a lot of ways to value this. Just because a crime has a certain penalty, doesn't assess what it means to the community," said Hornung.
In response to Hornung's effort, Mayor Beutler released a statement which read, "Unfortunately the ordinance says those who violated the water restrictions have committed a misdemeanor. We want to make sure any new policy being proposed does not have the same kind of unintended consequence."