Bill would allow forced entry into cars to save an animal

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Good Samaritans who break into a locked car to save a pet could be shielded from criminal charges and lawsuits under a proposal in the Nebraska Legislature.

Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha introduced a bill Tuesday that would grant immunity to a person who damages a vehicle to save an animal locked inside.

The measure would only apply if there was no other reasonable way to save the animal, and if the person believed the animal was in imminent danger.

The bill would also


Nebraska bill would create veterans’ treatment court

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska lawmaker is pushing for a special new court that would focus on veterans.

Sen. John McCollister of Omaha introduced a bill Tuesday that would create the court for a three-year pilot project in Douglas County.

Veterans’ treatment courts have gained popularity in recent years as a way to treat current and former service members who are charged with minor offenses and suffering from service-related illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The bill would


Nebraska lawmakers reject effort to open leadership votes

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska lawmakers have once again rejected an effort to open their committee leadership votes to public scrutiny.

Senators voted down a proposed rule Monday that would have required them to disclose their votes when electing committee leaders and a speaker. Senators vote publicly on bills and amendments, but choose legislative leaders using a secret ballot.

Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion introduced the measure as he has in past years, arguing that lawmakers should be


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 ( ) 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


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


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


Nebraska still trying to recruit state prison workers


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


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


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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