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Nebraska’s legislature:

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    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska’s attorney general said he will not file criminal charges against fellow Republican and former state lawmaker Mike Groene over photos the ex-lawmaker surreptitiously took of an aide. There is not enough information from the results of a Nebraska State Patrol investigation to warrant criminal charges against Groene, a spokeswoman for Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said Thursday. Groene, of North Platte, resigned from office earlier this year after acknowledging that he photographed his legislative aide in his office without her knowledge. The former staffer, Kristina Konecko, said in a complaint to the Legislature’s Executive Board that she discovered the photos on Groene’s laptop, which he had given her to update. She said some of the photos included close-ups of body parts. Groene, a blunt-spoken, often abrasive Republican who clashed with Democratic colleagues, also ended his candidacy to become a University of Nebraska Regent after the scandal came to light. Groene said he had been vindicated by the attorney general’s decision and that he regretted resigning from the Legislature, saying he did so only because he...
    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Abortion rights proponents scored a surprising victory in Nebraska by derailing a bill that would have automatically outlawed abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturns its Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized the procedure throughout the country. The vote on Wednesday frustrated abortion rights opponents, who usually win fights over the issue in the conservative Legislature. More than a dozen other conservative states have passed similar measures already, but abortion rights backers in Nebraska managed to block it using a filibuster in the single-chamber Legislature. The bill’s supporters fell two votes short of the 33 they needed to end the filibuster and force a vote. The 31-15 vote left the proposal essentially dead for the rest of the year, even though a majority of lawmakers supported it. The vote largely fell along party lines in the ostensibly nonpartisan Legislature. In 2010, Nebraska became the first state to ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, and the state outlawed a second-trimester abortion procedure in 2020 despite fervent protests from abortion rights supporters. The latest bill,...
    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Several female Nebraska state lawmakers on Tuesday railed against the Legislature’s handling of a male state senator who resigned after admitting that he took photos of a female subordinate without her consent, calling for an overhaul of their internal policies and recounting their own experiences of being groped, harassed and belittled. The push by half a dozen female lawmakers from both parties in the officially unicameral Legislature came less than a day after state Sen. Mike Groene, of North Platte, abruptly stepped down and abandoned his campaign to be a University of Nebraska Regent. Groene, a blunt and often abrasive Republican lawmaker, acknowledged Friday that he took photos of the legislative staffer in his office. But he said none of the images were sexual in nature and that he also snapped pictures of other staffers and office visitors, including his wife. The former staffer, Kristina Konecko, filed a complaint with the Legislature’s Executive Board in which she described the photos as “objectifying and demeaning.” She said some included zoomed-in close-ups of provocative body parts with explicit...
    OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska state senator called for a criminal investigation after one of her colleagues said he would resign after admitting that he took photos of a female legislative aide without her knowledge. Democratic state Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha sent a letter urging the state attorney general and Nebraska State Patrol to investigate the conduct of Republican Sen. Mike Groene to determine if he committed any crimes, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Groene told The Associated Press Friday that he planned to resign this week to avoid putting his family through a public ordeal. The conservative from North Platte who often disagreed with his Democratic colleagues in the Legislature also said he would withdraw from the race for the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and leave politics. Groene announced he would resign after an online news outlet, Nebraska Sunrise News, reported that one of his staffers had filed a complaint after she discovered the photos on Groene’s laptop, which he had given her to complete a project. The staffer who was photographed, Kristina Konecko, told...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Lawmakers are working to determine how to pay for the extra law enforcement providing security during the Chauvin trial. The House and Senate approved $7.8 million in one-time money to cover extra costs for out-of-state troopers from Ohio and Nebraska, and the Minnesota State Patrol the murder trial. Gov. Tim Walz asked for the help from Ohio and Nebraska to be prepared for any unrest surrounding the verdict. The funding now goes to Walz’s desk for approval. He’s expected to sign it.   More On WCCO.com: Plymouth Middle School Shooting: Fmr. Gopher Kim Royston Credited With Stopping Armed Student Mpls. Police: Suspect In Death Of Yadhira Romero Martinez Arrested In Ohio ‘It Is Simply Heartbreaking’: 1st-Grader In SW Minnesota Dies Due To COVID-19 Complications Memorial Services For Walter Mondale Planned For September
    By The Associated Press Omaha World-Herald. Jan. 1, 2021. Editorial: A terrible year has ended. Let’s work together in the Midlands for revival It’s New Year’s Day, and that’s a global sigh of relief you’re hearing. A sigh that, today, humanity can look in the rear-view mirror and see the Terrible Year Just Past thankfully receding into the distance. Good riddance, 2020. Welcome, 2021. The arrival of a pristine new year won’t magically wipe away the world’s multiple challenges spawned during 2020’s infamous plague year, but this turning of the temporal page does offer something supremely important. Hope. Let’s look at the coming months for the Midlands and extend wishes for a better, happier time. Vaccinations. Our most powerful weapon in defeating COVID lies in the vaccines to be distributed in Nebraska and Iowa this year. By rolling up our sleeves, Midlanders can roll back the COVID threat. Let’s join together to achieve the needed herd immunity level that can restore stability and much-needed civic confidence. And, for the time being, we will all need to supplement that effort by...
    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Eleven Nebraska lawmakers will make a long-shot attempt Tuesday to bring the Legislature into a special session focused on the coronavirus pandemic and law enforcement. The lawmakers will file paperwork with the secretary of state's office to ask their colleagues whether they would support a special session. The secretary of state's office will then survey all state lawmakers. At least 33 of the Legislature's 49 senators would have to endorse the idea of a special session, an outcome that's extremely unlikely. Lawmakers finished their regular session less than two weeks ago after passing a major tax package. The session was also marred by nasty public disputes. Nine of the 11 senators calling for a special session are Democrats in the officially nonpartisan Legislature. One is a Republican who often sides with Democrats and one is a left-leaning independent. Special sessions are generally triggered by governors and focus on one specific topic. The proposed special session would focus on changing police powers, increasing civilian oversight of police, providing protections for workers threatened by the coronavirus, and other...
    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A bill that would let Nebraska teachers physically restrain students who are hurting themselves or others died in the Legislature Thursday after opponents mounted a filibuster to keep it from coming to a vote. Supporters fell one vote short of the 33 they needed to end legislative debate and advance the bill through a first-round vote. The bill by Sen. Mike Groene, of North Platte, would have allowed teachers to physically intervene in cases where a disruptive student is threatening themselves, a teacher or another student. The state teacher's union has pushed for the bill, arguing that many teachers feel powerless in their own classrooms and some have suffered severe injuries at the hands of unruly students. Opponents argued that minority students and children with disabilities are most likely to be physically disciplined for disruptive behavior. They said more focus should be put on training teachers to help them defuse situations with disruptive students earlier, before they turn physical. Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed....
    By GRANT SCHULTE, Associated Press LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Two Nebraska state senators who may have been exposed to the coronavirus isolated themselves Tuesday from their fellow lawmakers, taking seats in a distant upper balcony so they can still participate in legislative debate. Sens. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln and Julie Slama of Peru separated themselves from the rest of the Legislature in an abundance of caution. Both lawmakers took seats in a balcony at the back of the legislative chamber, about 40 feet above the main floor. Neither senator has tested positive for the virus or shown any symptoms. Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer said members of Slama's family have tested positive for the virus. Slama, 24, tested negative and may return to the main floor of the Legislature within the next few days. Scheer said that, in an abundance of caution, he asked Slama to remain isolated until she can be retested later this week. Senators in the rear balcony have a microphone available and are able to vote and participate in debate. Morfeld, 35, announced on social...
    By GRANT SCHULTE, Associated Press LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Attempts to lower Nebraska's property taxes appeared to stumble yet again Wednesday after some state lawmakers argued that the newest package could hurt local K-12 schools by restricting their ability to tax. Senators debated the bill for about three hours but ended up skipping over it without a vote, leaving its prospects unclear. The only way it's likely to return to the Legislature's agenda now is if leading supporters can show they have at least 33 votes to overcome a filibuster, a tall order given the opposition to the bill. “It appears to me that we are heading toward an impasse,” said Sen. Matt Williams, of Gothenburg. “If that horse can’t finish the race, we need to saddle up a horse that can finish the race.” The proposal would substantially boost state funding for Nebraska's K-12 public schools, which are by far the largest consumers of property tax revenue. Farmers, ranchers and homeowners argue that rising property valuations have shifted an ever-larger share of the cost onto their shoulders, especially in...
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