Nebraska presses preventative measures for school safety

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska’s school security director wants districts to improve security by identifying and reporting potential attackers before they strike.

The Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/1TQ6ewR ) reports that Jolene Palmer is recommending a set of guidelines that call for school districts to use “behavioral threat assessments” standards to identify and report suspicion or concern.

The recommendations, developed by a committee that included Nebraska teachers and law enforcement

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Bill would require Nebraska students to pass civics exam

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska could require high school students to pass the federal government’s civics exam for United States citizenship if a bill in the Legislature becomes law.

Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha introduced a measure Monday that would require students to answer at least 70 percent of the test’s questions correctly before they graduate. If passed, the bill would go into effect during the 2017 school year.

The Joe Foss Institute, a civic education group that champions the measure

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Nebraska tax collections lower than expected in December

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska state government collected about $14 million less than expected in December.

The Department of Revenue reported Monday that net receipts for the month totaled $369 million, which is nearly 4 percent below the state’s certified forecast of $383 million.

Net sales-and-use tax receipts were about 9 percent lower than expected, while individual income tax receipts were more than 3 percent lower. Net corporate income tax collections were 8 percent above the forecast

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Nebraska still trying to recruit state prison workers

By GRANT SCHULTE

Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Despite a campaign to hire more workers in Nebraska’s short-staffed prison system, many of the jobs remain vacant and the corrections department is struggling to fill them.

Corrections officials ran radio and online ads last year to recruit more workers, reached out to Nebraska National Guard members and networked at high schools throughout the state. Facing a shortage of mental health professionals, the department offered internships to

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Nebraska agency issues reminder about health insurance enrollment deadline

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Department of Insurance is reminding the public about the fast-approaching deadline to buy a health insurance plan.

Individuals who want coverage to begin on Feb. 1 should purchase their policy on or before Friday. Those who buy policies after Friday can expect their policy to begin on March 1.

Department of Insurance Director Bruce Ramge says customers should shop around for a policy that fits their needs. People who forego insurance for the 2016 plan year

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State hands out over $1.6M in recycling, litter grants

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska has awarded grants worth more than $1.6 million to encourage recycling and reduce littering.

The state Department of Environmental Quality recently announced the 54 grants.

Fees charged to certain manufacturers and retailers of products that contribute to litter pay for the grants.

Nearly $917,000 of the grants is earmarked for recycling programs.

Public education programs will receive $609,545.

Twelve grants are for cleanup programs are worth $108,483.

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Nebraska AG backs bill to combat identity theft, fraud

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska attorney general is backing a piece of legislation he says is crucial to protecting consumer information.

Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha introduced a bill Friday on behalf of Attorney General Doug Peterson that would allow parents to place a freeze on a minor’s credit report in cases of identity theft. It also expands the definition of deceptive solicitation on behalf of a charity.

Mello says the bill will help modernize Nebraska’s consumer protection laws and

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Nebraska senator proposes paid leave for family caregivers

By ANNA GRONEWOLD

Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska senator says the state should provide more resources and stability for caregivers who choose to provide in-home treatment for ailing family members or take leave to care for themselves.

Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue introduced two bills Friday to support voluntary caregivers, calling families a critical part of a state’s health care system. One measure would create an insurance plan for unpaid sick leave and the other would

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Ricketts embraces infrastructure package to promote roads

By GRANT SCHULTE

Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts will ask lawmakers to pass a new infrastructure package this year to accelerate long-delayed construction work on bridges and roads.

Ricketts announced his support Thursday for a comprehensive roads bill that will be introduced in the Legislature next week and said he will advocate for it in his annual State of the State address.

The proposal would create a transportation infrastructure bank, financed with

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