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A State Senator from Omaha says the Nebraska Legislature should begin work to set up a health insurance marketplace, and that process should include public input.

A meeting last week in Lincoln brought together state officials, the insurance industry, and other stakeholders to discuss the state-based health exchange following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last month on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

 

Douglas County Commissioners want the Omaha City Council to reject tax increment financing for improvements in west Omaha.

Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday opposing the TIF District proposed for an area around TD Ameritrade’s new Omaha headquarters.

Commissioner P.J. Morgan introduced the resolution, saying there should be more scrutiny of how TIF districts are used. 

Douglas County voters to decide on consolidation of two offices

Jul 10, 2012

Douglas County voters will decide in November whether the Assessor and Register of Deeds offices should be consolidated.

County Commissioners voted 5-2 Tuesday in favor of a proposal to merge those offices. It’ll go on the November ballot for voters to decide.

The U.S. Senate recently passed the 2012 Farm Bill by a vote of 64-35.  Chuck Hassebrook, with the Center for Rural Affairs, says this bill will provide continued support to Nebraska farmers. 

He says one of the biggest disadvantages in the bill is that it over subsidizes crop insurance for larger agricultural interests, making it difficult for smaller family-sized farmers to compete.  

Supreme Court upholds individual mandate in health care law

Jun 28, 2012

A UNO political scientist says the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the so-called Affordable Care Act is a legal victory for President Obama’s administration.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the health care law. Chief Justice John Roberts joined in the majority supporting the law. UNO political science professor Carson Holloway says he was surprised that Chief Justice Roberts was the deciding vote.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman visits Offutt Air Force Base

Jun 27, 2012
courtesy www.jcs.mil

The Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff says the military must maintain the trust of the American people in spite of economic and security challenges.

On Monday the US Supreme Court threw out three of the four sections of Arizona’s state-level immigration policy.

Darcy Tromanhauser, Director of Nebraska Appleseed’s Immigrant Program, says the 4th section, which requires police to check the citizenship status for any person lawfully stopped, detained or arrested, is still subject to civil rights questions that are coming up through the courts. 

A UNO political scientist expects further challenges following the U.S. Supreme Court’s split ruling on Arizona’s immigration law.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned three parts of that law. Justices kept a provision allowing police to check a person’s status during a separate violation if they suspect the person is an illegal immigrant.

When Douglas County began its redistricting process, the election commission had a meeting with 25 people from the community who had concerns over the changes. Dave Phipps, Douglas County Election Commissioner, says the Omaha Community Coalition was formed from that initial group.  Phipps has met with the coalition three times.  He says the first meeting was a get to know you session to find out their thoughts and concerns. 

 

Nebraska's senior U.S. Senator says a new farm bill making its way through the Senate is good for the Cornhusker State.

Senator Ben Nelson's comments came late last week before a 90-to-8 vote to move the farm bill to debate. The measure would end the direct payment program, and streamline other services.

Courtesy of UNO Democrats

John Ewing has won the democratic nomination for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, defeating Gwen Howard.

Ewing is the Douglas County Treasurer and a former Omaha police officer who entered the race last summer. 

I caught up with Ewing during his celebration and he says he’s excited to win the nomination and gives a lot of credit to his hard working staff. But he says championship teams don’t celebrate during half time.

Courtesy of UNO

Paul Landow, a professor in the Political Science department at UNO, says the economy is the main issue on voters’ minds.  Landow says people are concerned about their jobs, their bank accounts and what direction things are heading in terms of their personal financial life.  

He says anything voters can do to better their own personal financial life at the ballot box is what they’ll do...and if that means voting for new leadership in the House and Senate, they will.  Landow says turnout should be above average for the primary.

Polls are open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. today. 

Today is Nebraska’s Primary Election and Dave Phipps, Douglas County Election Commissioner, says they predict a turnout of 21%.  He says that would be about 66,500 people voting, with early ballots and votes cast today. 

Phipps says he doesn’t expect voters to have many issues with the new polling places.  He says the election commission sent cards in March advising people of their polling places.  Phipps says the election commission has been busy with a higher than usual rate of early votes.

State Senator Gwen Howard and Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing are vying for the democratic nomination in the Second Congressional District race. 

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is offering a non-partisan guide for metro area voters who want more information before they cast a ballot next Tuesday.  The voter’s guide has information on candidates running for races in Douglas County. 

Bev Traub, current president for the League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha, says the guide is meant to assist voters in gaining a more complete view of the candidates who are running for office.  She says not all candidates are equally familiar to the public.

The candidates for Nebraska’s Second Congressional District participated in their second debate Friday. With more here’s Omaha Public Radio’s Cheril Lee…

The state of Nebraska has mandatory education laws in place until a student reaches the age of 18. 

An exception to the current law allows students to withdraw from school with a notarized statement from their parents.  LB 996, a bill sponsored by Senator John Wightman, seeks to eliminate that exception. 

He says even with a notarized statement, a student would not be able to be withdrawn from school by a parent or legal guardian.  There now would have to be an exit interview between the parent, the child and the principal.

Researchers at UNMC’s College of Public Health released an initial community report last June on issues surrounding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender individuals. 

Dr. Christopher Fisher is an Assistant Professor in the College of Public Health. He says the goal of the study was to examine the physical, mental, social and sexual health of the LGBT community.  

LB 882 would take cancer treatment decisions away from insurance companies and put them back into the hands of patients and their doctors.

That’s according to Omaha Senator Jeremy Nordquist, who introduced LB 882.  He says the measure creates parity between oral chemotherapy medications and IV medications for cancer patients.  Senator Nordquist says under the current system, IV medications are considered a medical benefit. 

A bill in the Nebraska legislature would allow residents in counties with fewer than 10,000 residents the opportunity to participate in vote by mail elections.

It would require the approval of eligible voters in the counties. The bill’s sponsor, Nebraska Senator John Harms, says the measure would streamline the voting process, save counties money and give more people the opportunity to vote.  He says the voting by mail turnout for special elections in the state has always been positive.

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