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Associated Press

https://blocktribune.com/cigna-and-sentara-healthcare-joins-ibms-blockchain-ecosystem-for-healthcare-industry/

Health insurance costs are surging for students and staff enrolled in plans offered by the University of Nebraska.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that more than 5,000 students and faculty are facing a nearly 20% hike to their premiums next year.

Individual plan costs are rising from $2,588 to $3,067. Family plans are increasing from $7,357 to $8,958. The university's provider is United Healthcare.

http://altoday.com/archives/28106-judge-blocks-citizenship-question-from-2020-census

One of the bills vetoed would have allowed a special committee to develop a plan to get as many people as possible to participate in the 2020 Census.

Ricketts said Tuesday that the bill gives inappropriate authority to a single program with no guidance, parameters, duties or goals. He notes that many local government and organizations already have "Complete Count" committees in place.

https://www.miltonscene.com/2019/03/milton-bags-plastic/

 An attempt to override Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert's veto of a ban on most single-use plastic bags by retailers has failed. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the override vote Tuesday by the City Council was 4-3, falling one vote short. The ban measure's sponsors, Councilmen Pete Festersen and Ben Gray, say they were unable to sway a fifth council member to switch positions.

https://picswe.net/pics/humanities-and-medicine-89.html

Universities in Nebraska and Iowa are seeing an uptick in humanities courses in some medical schools.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the University of Nebraska at Omaha got the green light last month to offer a major in medical humanities. The subject areas include art, philosophy, ethics, religious studies, and the history of medicine among others. Faculty members at Creighton School of Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center say studying humanities can promote empathy and help students learn to listen.

https://www.kbia.org/post/economic-index-shows-midwest-economy-slowing-prices-are-rising#stream/0

A new report says a May survey of business supply managers suggests economic growth will slow over the next three to six months in nine Midwest and Plains states.The report issued Monday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped to 54.3 last month from 55.9 in April. The figure was 58.2 in March. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says tariffs and flooding have harmed several states.The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth.

https://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2016/12/13/warren-buffetts-latest-milestone-berkshire-at-250000-per-share/

A cryptocurrency pioneer is behind a more than $4.5 million charity bid to have a private lunch with billionaire investor Warren Buffett. The Glide Foundation said in a news release Monday that the top bidder was Justin Sun, founder of Tron and CEO of BitTorrent. The online auction raises money for the Glide Foundation's work to help the homeless in San Francisco.

https://www.mnnofa.com/2019/06/03/house-passes-19-billion-disaster-relief-bill/

The House has given final approval to a long-delayed $19.1 billion disaster aid bill. That clears the way for the measure to be sent to President Donald Trump for his expected signature.

The chamber approved the legislation 354-58. It's aimed at helping communities around the country bounce back from hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and fires.

The bill languished for months over disputes including additional aid for Puerto Rico, which Trump opposed. He also wanted $4 billion to deal with migrants at the Southwest border, which will await a future bill.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An anonymous bidder has offered more than $4.5 million to have a private lunch with billionaire investor Warren Buffett, shattering the previous record of nearly $3.5 million set in 2012 and 2016.

An online auction that raises money for the Glide Foundation's work to help the homeless in San Francisco ended Friday night on eBay with a winning bid of $4,567,888.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts isn't giving up his push to lower property taxes even though lawmakers rejected several proposals this year.

With the 2019 session now over, the Republican governor says he plans to meet with key lawmakers this summer in search of a new property tax compromise before the Legislature reconvenes in January.

But Ricketts is standing firm in his opposition to any proposal that lowers one tax by raising another.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The family of former state Sen. Don Pederson says he died Sunday at his home in Lincoln. He was 90.

His wife, June Pederson, said Pederson died of pancreatic cancer, which was diagnosed May 14.

Pederson served in the Nebraska Legislature from 1996 to 2007. He was appointed in September 1996 to replace David Bernard-Stevens, who had resigned. He was elected later in 1996 and won re-election in 1998 and 2002. He was barred from running again because of a state law limiting state senators to two terms.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The University of Nebraska Board of Regents has named a longtime administrator and faculty member as the school's interim president-elect.

The board announced Thursday that it will name Susan M. Fritz the university's interim president following the departure of current President Hank Bounds, who will leave Aug. 15. Fritz will hold the position while the board conducts a national search for the next president.

Fritz will be the first woman to lead the university since the system was created 51 years ago.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Flooding along the lower Missouri River will likely worsen in the days ahead because the amount of water being released into the river is increasing because of the recent rain.

But officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say the river will remain below the levels it hit in March when flooding caused significant damage in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says Iowa could be headed toward a law eliminating the use of cellphones while driving.

A hands-free bill didn't advance this year but could come back again next year, and Reynolds says she supports the idea if lawmakers send it to her.

She signed a proclamation Tuesday declaring this "end distracted driving week" in Iowa.

http://www.hastingstribune.com/news/cpi-dry-fertilizer-plant-goes-up-in-flames/article_37eadcc0-7de6-11e9-abfa-27cb07fe251d.html

The Nebraska Fire Marshal's office has determined a lightning strike caused the fire that destroyed a fertilizer plant and injured three people.

The office said in a news release Friday afternoon that the fire at Cooperative Producers Inc. dry fertilizer plant at Hastings has been declared "natural in origin." The state office says it was aided by the Hastings Fire Department and three other departments, as well as Adams County Emergency Management, in investigating the cause of the fire.

photo courtesy of Emily Chen-Newton KIOS News

Only weeks after reopening in the wake of historic flooding along the Missouri River in March, Interstate 29 on and off ramps for Highway 2 in southwest Iowa have again closed due to flooding.

Highway 2 connects southwest Iowa to Nebraska City, Nebraska, over the Missouri River. The Omaha World-Herald reports that as of Saturday morning, floodwater was covering the ramps to the highway from I-29.

http://capitol.nebraska.gov/visit/building-hours

Nebraska lawmakers will end their session this week with a new state budget and dozens of laws passed, but many priorities fell by the wayside and sent senators back to the drawing board.

A few of those measures could end up before voters in the 2020 general election. In most cases, lawmakers will work over the summer and fall to tweak their bills in hopes of winning more support in next year's session.

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/11/opinion/closing-off-abortion-rights.html

A bill that would require Nebraska abortion providers to give women information about possibly continuing their pregnancy after taking the first of two abortion drugs is headed to a final vote in the Legislature.

Lawmakers advanced the measure Thursday through a second-round Thursday despite criticism that the information isn't backed by scientific evidence. The vote was 36-9 after supporters overcame a legislative filibuster.

Opponents say the bill is premised on a faulty and unethical study.

Wisconsin is also considering a similar bill.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/11/us/politics/disaster-relief-puerto-rico.html

The Senate has passed a long-overdue $19 billion disaster aid bill to help to a number of states and Puerto Rico recover after a series of hurricanes, floods and wildfires.

The widely-backed legislation passed by an 85-8 vote.

Republican leaders agreed to a demand by Democrats to toss out President Donald Trump's $4.5 billion request to address a record influx of Central American migrants who are fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras and elsewhere and coming to the United States.

https://www.cair.com/about_us

Police in Lincoln, Nebraska, are investigating an assault on a Muslim woman as a possible hate crime.

Police tell the Lincoln Journal Star that the 18-year-old victim was walking Wednesday night in west Lincoln when two white men approached her, made derogatory comments and threats and then knocked her to the ground and kicked her. No arrests had been reported by Thursday afternoon.

Police Chief Bliemeister said his agency "will not tolerate hate crimes."

https://crueltyfreelife.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/untitled_image.png

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has vetoed a proposal that would have banned groceries, big-box stores and other retailers from handing out single-use plastic bags.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that Stothert vetoed the measure on Wednesday, because she questioned the measure's effectiveness in fighting litter.

The measure would ban bags from all retailers larger than 10,000 square feet by 2022.

One of the ban's sponsors, Councilman Pete Festersen, has said he would pursue a veto override. That would require one more vote that the ban got when it passed 4-3.

https://www.fsp.org/lowering-your-nh-property-taxes-challenging-assessment-value/

Lawmakers have advanced a proposal to replace Nebraska's largest tax incentive for businesses with a newer program despite concerns from some who want to focus first on property taxes.

The bill won first-round approval yesterday on a 29-5 vote after supporters overcame a legislative filibuster.

https://www.1011now.com/content/news/21-students-sustained-minor-injuries-in-school-bus-crash-in-Otoe-County-510292421.html

Nebraska State Patrol says nearly two dozen students suffered minor injuries in a crash in southeastern NebraskaThe patrol says the crash happened just before 3 p.m. Wednesday on a rural hwy near Dunbar in Otoe County. Investigators say a car was trying to turn south onto Highway 67 when it hit an eastbound school bus carrying 38 fourth-graders

Two other school buses traveling with the first picked up the passengers from the crashed bus and took all 42 to a Nebraska City hospital. The patrol says 21 children were injured, while 17 children and four adults were not injured.

https://norrismclaughlin.com/teit/2017/12/20/tax-saving-strategies-for-everyone-before-december-31-2017/

A last-minute push to pass a property tax package has stalled in the Nebraska Legislature, dimming the prospects of any major changes this year.

Supporters fell 10 votes short Wednesday of the support necessary to overcome a filibuster. The vote was 23-7 to force an end to legislative debate. Sixteen senators abstained from voting.

https://news.usc.edu/trojan-family/school-violence-prevention-research-usc-experts/

Law enforcement, school district officials and mental health workers in the county home to Omaha have formed a threat assessment group that aims to connect at-risk children with services to prevent school violence.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the newly formed Douglas County Threat Advisory Team will also allow community members to share strategies and programming to intervene before school threats turn into violent actions.

https://nebraska.tv/news/local/nebraska-lawmakers-approve-new-93-billion-two-year-budget

Nebraska lawmakers have approved a new $9.3 billion, two-year budget despite objections from a group of fiscal conservatives who wanted spending cuts.

The main budget bill won final approval Tuesday on a 35-12 vote. It now heads to Gov. Pete Ricketts, who can approve it, reject it or use his line-item veto power to cut specific items.

The budget includes $51 million annual boost to the state's property tax credit fund, which is used to reduce the total amount owed on property tax bills. It also boosts funding for health care, child welfare and behavioral health services.

https://www.wowt.com/content/news/Abortion-rights-advocates-gather-for-rally-at-Nebraska-Capitol-510226991.html

More than 350 people rallied at the Nebraska Capitol on Tuesday, toting signs with messages in support of abortion rights and slamming groups that oppose them.

Former state senator Brenda Council called some of the recently passed laws "despicable" and an assault on women's autonomy.

Longtime state Sen. Ernie Chambers, of Omaha, delivered a fiery speech urging participants to vote for political candidates who reflect their convictions. Chambers noted the rally took place inside the "belly of the beast" at the Nebraska Capitol, and called on voters to "give it indigestion."

https://www.vox.com/2019/3/25/18280758/nebraska-flooding-air-force-offutt

A Nebraska congressman is pushing the Air Force's emergency request for $234 million to replace equipment and crew training simulators damaged by floodwaters that inundated the Offutt Air Force Base this spring.

The Omaha World-Herald reports Rep. Don Bacon recently brought attention to the funding request in a letter to a House subcommittee. He warned of the loss of defense capabilities that commanders are already experiencing in the field after the severe flooding in March.

https://www.newsweek.com/alabama-boycott-abortion-ban-bill-1428867

Supporters of abortion rights are set to rally at the Nebraska Capitol as part of a national campaign responding to states that have passed new abortion restrictions.

The free public event is set for noon Tuesday at the Nebraska Capitol and will include representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and Planned Parenthood as well as state lawmakers. It's sponsored by those groups and the Women's Fund of Omaha.

The rally will take place beneath the Nebraska Capitol rotunda on the building's second floor if it rains.

https://www.newsweek.com/alabama-boycott-abortion-ban-bill-1428867

Supporters of abortion rights are set to rally at the Nebraska Capitol as part of a national campaign responding to states that have passed new abortion restrictions.

The free public event is set for noon Tuesday at the Nebraska Capitol and will include representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and Planned Parenthood as well as state lawmakers. It's sponsored by those groups and the Women's Fund of Omaha.

The rally will take place beneath the Nebraska Capitol rotunda on the building's second floor if it rains.

https://www.agriculture.com/crops/soybeans/growing-soybeans-101

Good weather enabled Nebraska farmers to make progress in planting crops last week, but they remain behind historic averages.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that for the week ending Sunday, there were five days suitable for field works.

Thanks to the better weather, farmers managed to raise the amount of corn planted to 70% of the anticipated crop. That's still behind the 86% planted last year and for the five-year average. About 27% of the corn crop had emerged, significantly behind the 49% last year and for the five-year average.

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