Date of this Version
Nebraska Law Review (1981) 60(2): 219-275.
The Bankruptcy Reform Act establishes a somewhat disingenuous exemption policy that first creates, and then allows the individual states to nullify, uniform federal bankruptcy exemptions. The State of Nebraska has chosen to opt out of the federal exemption scheme thereupon assuming a continuing moral obligation to ensure that its exemption policy does not deny Nebraska debtors the fresh start following bankruptcy to which they are entitled. The Unicameral should undertake an immediate reconsideration of Nebraska exemption law with a view to possible elimination of the homestead exemption in favor of an expanded exemption in lieu of homestead to be available to all debtors without regard to marital or family status and applicable to real as well as personal property. The legislature should also consider whether any increase in the amount of the exemption in lieu of homestead is justified, whether such amount should be indexed to reflect changes in the cost of living from time to time, and whether special consideration should be given to debtors who support one or more dependents. Finally, the Unicameral ought to consider whether the Nebraska wage garnishment statute should be amended to limit the additional protection given to affluent heads of families and to increase the protection accorded wage earners afflicted with handicaps, illness, or other hardships.