SIOUX FALLS South Dakota Democrats have tabled proposed rule changes that could have forced a vote on a new party chair.
There was an attempt Saturday to amend the partys constitution and move officer elections to the spring. That would have forced a vote on the continued leadership of South Dakota Democratic Party Chair Ann Tornberg.
But former state Sen. Larry Lucas tells the Argus Leader that there was no vote on those amendments, which were tabled. Lucas says had the amendments passed, they would have forced a vote for a new chair on Saturday.
Lucas says he doesnt believe any Democrat in South Dakota was prepared to do that.
Read more: http://www.capjournal.com/news/no-vote-by-sd-democrats-on-replacing-party-chair/article_5cd726a8-2e22-11e7-b7ba-4f66d1006436.html
YORK, Neb. (AP) A large crowd is likely at this week's hearing on the Nebraska route for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The Nebraska Public Service Commission is planning a daylong hearing on Wednesday in York to accept comments on the $8 billion project. The pipeline is designed to carry oil from Alberta, Canada, across Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.
The project faces opposition from environmentalists as well as some landowners and Native American tribes. Nebraska is the only place where the route TransCanada proposed has not been approved.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports (http://bit.ly/2puTlAe ) groups that oppose the pipeline plan to bus people from Lincoln and Omaha to York for the hearing.
Read more: http://www.nptelegraph.com/news/state/big-crowd-likely-at-hearing-on-keystone-xl-oil-pipeline/article_483e698f-148b-5b7d-9433-27f605b958b0.html
The Legislature spent more than eight hours Wednesday debating the state budget into the evening, turning away one amendment that would have restored money to a Department of Roads fund and failing to reach a compromise on funding for Title X women's health services.
Speaker Jim Scheer told senators as 9 p.m. approached they'd had ample opportunity to try to discuss the bill (LB327), but the debate had not been fruitful for development of good legislation.
"I'm hoping in the future that we will take our duties seriously," he said. "This is the main-line budget. ... I know a great many of you were dismayed that we didn't get an opportunity to actually discuss this bill."
The Legislature should have spent the eight hours talking about the depth and details of the budget that the Appropriations Committee put together over more than three months, he said.
Read more: http://journalstar.com/legislature/women-s-health-funding-issue-draws-filibuster-on-budget-bill/article_c9f10436-b795-5f18-9551-038de5042545.html
LINCOLN The governor is headed for a showdown with state lawmakers over felon voting rights.
Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed a measure Thursday that restores the voting rights of felons immediately after they complete their sentences. He maintained that the Legislature violated the Nebraska Constitution by assuming the power to pardon that properly belongs to the executive branch of government.
Any effort to restore a civil right revoked in the Nebraska Constitution requires changing the Nebraska Constitution, the governor said in a message announcing his first veto of the session.
State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, the sponsor of Legislative Bill 75, said he would file a motion to override the veto. An override requires votes from at least 30 of the 49 senators.
Read more: http://www.omaha.com/news/legislature/ricketts-vetoes-bill-to-restore-voting-rights-to-felons-sooner/article_52c7c01e-2b98-11e7-aff9-c7d692ed2e0b.html
LINCOLN Abortion politics claimed center stage Tuesday as Nebraska lawmakers delved into their second day of budget debate.
At issue was language aimed at steering family planning funds away from Planned Parenthood, a change made possible by federal legislation passed last week.
That debate occurred even as lawmakers got word that the state budget gap had grown again, this time by about $55 million.
The increase was the result of new, more pessimistic tax revenue projections issued by a state board for the period ending June 30, 2019.
Read more: http://www.omaha.com/news/legislature/abortion-becomes-hot-topic-as-nebraska-legislators-give-first-round/article_d2d79667-b866-5c5f-9d00-2c8099a66f7e.html
The labor union representing Nebraska public school teachers wants to advance a culture of social justice, according to a new strategic plan approved last month.
The plan calls for more diversity in teacher recruitment, training teachers in cultural proficiency and promoting a legislative agenda that advances human and civil rights.
Delegates from local teachers unions approved the plan during the Nebraska State Education Associations annual delegate assembly in Lincoln.
The last time NSEA members adopted a strategic plan was 1994. The union reports that it has about 28,000 members.
Read more: http://www.omaha.com/news/education/nebraska-teachers-union-s-new-plan-calls-for-classroom-diversity/article_1d65895a-0d25-53a3-a1cf-551f3303d6b7.html
LINCOLN (AP) Nebraska lawmakers who worked to erase a nearly $900 million projected revenue shortfall will have to come up with an additional $50 million to balance the state budget.
The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board set new revenue estimates on Wednesday, predicting that the state will collect $4.3 billion in the current fiscal year and $9.2 billion in the coming two-year budget cycle.
The new projections will wipe out the $3.5 million that lawmakers had available for priorities this year.
Forecasting board members offered differing views on the state economy. Members from Nebraskas larger cities offered a positive outlook, while rural members warned of a struggling farm economy.
Read more: http://www.omaha.com/news/legislature/nebraska-lawmakers-will-need-another-million-to-balance-state-budget/article_89ffe3af-cc5d-5a86-9ae1-7f620eef5c32.html
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) A Nebraska mayor is pushing for changes in Kansas' oversight of prairie and ranchland burning after smoke from the Flint Hills spurred health warnings in Nebraska's capital city. Lincoln mayor Chris Beutler sent a letter yesterday (FRI) to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment pressing for action. KDHE environmental division director John Mitchell says Kansas' prairie-burning protocol will get an annual review this spring. Mitchell was responding to the Nebraska mayor's complaints about the smoke. Kansas farmers and ranchers burn land to help control undergrowth that can fuel wildfires. Burning also helps grow nutritious grass for grazing cattle. But farmers and officials say the burn season was cut short this year by heavy rain, so simultaneous burns by many farmers created more concentrated smoke.
Governor Sam Brownback kicked off the Kansas legislative session by drawing lines in the sand on taxes, spending and Medicaid expansion, and he has been defending those positions with his veto pen. The question when lawmakers return to Topeka on Monday is whether those vetoes will hold up.
Brownback stood before Kansas lawmakers packed into the House chamber in January for the State of the State address. He took a preemptive strike against Medicaid expansion, saying the Obama-era health care law was in trouble.
It would be foolish to endorse Obamacare expansion of Medicaid now, akin to airlifting onto the Titanic, said Brownback. Kansas was right. We should stay the course.
On taxes, Brownback defended his income tax exemption for businesses, saying it had grown jobs. His budget plan would keep it.
Read more: http://kansaspublicradio.org/kpr-news/kansas-lawmakers-consider-overriding-governor-brownback%E2%80%99s-veto-pen
Some Kansas legislative committees have been working on budget issues in advance of the full Legislature returning to Topeka next week. Senators have approved spending plans that avoid cuts to state services and include targeted spending increases, but there will still need to be a tax increase to balance that budget.
Republican Carolyn McGinn, the Senates top budget writer, says she hopes they approve enough taxes to fund the budget they built without trimming it back.
I feel like we did a very thoughtful job on the budget. I felt like it was something that we did that was frugal, but at the same time it started down the road of fixing some of the structural problems that we have within our state, said McGinn.
Lawmakers are considering how to eliminate budget shortfalls totaling nearly $900 million by the middle of 2019.
Read more: http://kansaspublicradio.org/kpr-news/kansas-lawmakers-prepare-budget-and-tax-work-next-week
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