30th Anniversary of the 1st Mediation Month Proclamation

30th Anniversary of the 1st Mediation Month Proclamation

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

During the 1991 legislative session, LB90 – the Dispute Resolution Act (DRA) – unanimously passed and was signed by Governor Ben Nelson. The DRA was a direct result of the success from the use of mediation during the farm crisis of the 1980’s that led to the adoption of the Farm Mediation Act (FMA) of 1988. The FMA provided for state and federal funds to be used for farm debt mediation in Nebraska. In these mediations, the financial issues were addressed and mediation also allowed for a broader dialogue on the needs and interests of farmers, their families, and communities.

The Dispute Resolution Act (DRA) defines mediation practices, and establishes an infrastructure for statewide delivery of community-based mediation services. A priority then and today is for all Nebraskans, rural and urban as well as four tribal nations, to have access to mediation and restorative justice processes. To accomplish this, the DRA created the Office of Dispute Resolution, the Dispute Resolution Advisory Council, and a process to approve independent nonprofit mediation centers as the service providers.

In 1992, six regional nonprofit mediation centers were approved. In order to maintain their approval status, each center receives an annual evaluation by the ODR and the Supreme Court’s Dispute Resolution Advisory Council. Since the adoption of the Dispute Resolution Act, the mediation centers’ have handled over 75,600 cases. These cases come directly from citizens, the courts, Probation, DHHS, diversion offices, as well as many other sources. Collaboratively, the ODR, centers, and Dispute Resolution Advisory Council stay current on national trends to ensure that Nebraskans receive quality and timely services.

The graphic below outlines some highlights related to mediation and restorative justice in Nebraska since 1991.

 

Pictured (L to R): Chief Justice Williams Hastings; Kathleen Severns, 1st ODR Director; Governor Ben Nelson