Associated Press

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

A new two-year state budget is headed to a final vote in the Nebraska Legislature.

Lawmakers advanced the mainline budget Wednesday through the second of three required votes.

The $9.3 billion budget includes additional money for expanding Medicaid, K-12 sc

 hools, construction of new prison space and property tax credits.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Prison visitors and inmates who are caught with cellphones inside a state prison could face a misdemeanor charge under a bill advanced by Nebraska lawmakers.

Lawmakers gave the measure first-round approval Wednesday as part of an omnibus prisons package.

The bill is designed to help state corrections officials, who confiscated more than 250 contraband phones last year. Nebraska corrections director Scott Frakes told a legislative committee in January that it's a major problem in the state prisons.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers have kicked off a debate on a proposal to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes as activists push a much broader ballot measure that would place the issue before voters next year.

Supporters argued Wednesday that the legislative bill is narrowly tailored, with restrictions on how much users can possess and a ban on marijuana smoking.

Senators who oppose the measure say the drug is still illegal at the federal level and argue that its benefits and dangers haven't been fully studied.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Female military veterans serving in the House say they're setting up a caucus that advocates for women service members and veterans. That's because the population of women who serve or have served is climbing, and they have different health issues than male veterans.

And many women with military service don't know what services the Veterans Administration offers them after they leave. Heading up the bipartisan effort is Pennsylvania Democrat Chrissy Houlahan, an Air Force veteran and newcomer to Congress.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska state officials are pushing back against allegations that prisoners aren't receiving proper health care and mental health treatment due to deliberate indifference by the corrections department.

The Nebraska attorney general's office argued in a court filing Tuesday that the Department of Correctional Services provides excellent access to health care and has invested millions in new facilities and employees in recent years.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A northeastern Nebraska farmer is recovering after cutting off his own leg with a pocket knife to save himself from a piece of farm equipment he had become caught in.

Omaha television station KETV reports that 63-year-old Kurt Kaser, of Pender, was unloading corn last month when he got out of his truck and accidentally stepped on the grain hopper opening. An auger in the hopper caught Kaser's leg, pulling it in and mangling it. An auger is a tube that uses a rotating shaft to suck the grain and push it through the tube to deposit in a bin.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers have passed a scaled-back bill that could make it harder to install wind-energy transmission lines on private property if landowners object.

A new version the measure that was previously defeated won final approval Monday on a 44-0 vote.

The bill would allow eminent domain for renewable energy projects, but gives opponents a better opportunity to challenge such projects in court.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Omaha Airport Authority is preparing to move forward with a $500 million reconstruction of Eppley Airfield.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the project to rebuild the terminal within five years would overhaul its concourse, airline gates, security checkpoints, ticket counters and baggage claim.

The Airport Authority is working with contractors to create a preliminary design for the terminal by this fall.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Career counselors and recruiters say 2019 college graduates will be hitting a hot job market if they're ready to begin their careers.

Bill Watts is the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's director of advising and career services, and he says this year's graduates have the best chances to land good jobs that he's seen in 20 years, calling the market "pretty phenomenal."

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported last month that hiring of college graduates will go up 10.7% this year from last year.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Omaha pedestrians and drivers may soon have to make way for electric scooter riders on the city's sidewalks and streets.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the City Council will vote Tuesday on a pilot project to bring up to 1,500 dockless scooters to the city through November.

Scooter companies Lime and Spin say they could make the electric scooters available as early as Wednesday.

The scooters are equipped with GPS so users can track them down for rent through a smartphone app.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Public Safety's Division of Criminal Investigation is warning of a phone scam targeting state residents.

A proposal that seeks to lower Nebraska's property taxes by raising other taxes will face its biggest hurdle yet when lawmakers begin debate on the measure against the backdrop of a new property tax ballot campaign that could lead to sharp spending cuts.

The package slated for debate Tuesday faces strong opposition from Gov. Pete Ricketts. Getting it through the one-house Legislature will require support from at least 33 of Nebraska's 49 senators to overcome an expected filibuster.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — An executive for the company proposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada's oil sands into the U.S. says it has missed the 2019 construction season due to court delays.

TransCanada executive vice president Paul Miller made the statement during a Friday earnings call with analysts. The company also announced it was changing its name to TC Energy Corp.

Plans to begin construction of the long-delayed pipeline got blocked last November when a federal judge in Montana ordered additional environmental reviews of the project.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The demand for cybersecurity experts has grown as crooks with computers hack their way into business, government and other networks.

CyberSeek, a project funded by the U.S. Commerce Department, says nearly 4,600 people are working on cybersecurity in Nebraska, and there are openings for more than 2,000 workers. Nearly 4,300 are doing cybersecurity in Iowa, and there are more than 2,400 openings.

Colleges in both states have been trying to meet the need for more cyberdefenders.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Investor Warren Buffett wrapped up a weekend full of events around his annual meeting by schmoozing with Berkshire Hathaway shareholders and preparing for an extended television interview.

Buffett played bridge with shareholders Sunday at the Borsheims jewelry store that Berkshire owns. He also made several appearances at private dinners for shareholders.

More than 40,000 people attended Saturday's annual meeting to listen to Buffett and Berkshire Vice Chaiman Charlie Munger answer questions for several hours.

  A new report says an April survey of business supply managers suggests there will be solid economic growth over the next three to six months in nine Midwest and Plains states.

The report issued Wednesday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped to 55.9 last month from 58.2 in March. The February figure was 57.9.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says finding and hiring qualified workers remained the chief threat to the manufacturing economy for the region.

Eight middle-school confirmation class members have decided against joining an Omaha Methodist church in protest at the denomination's renewed ban on same-sex marriage and gay clergy.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the eight were scheduled to become part of the congregation Sunday at First United Methodist Church. But the seventh- and eighth-graders declined and issued a written statement instead.

The Nebraska National Guard plans to rebuild its Camp Ashland training site by fortifying its buildings and raising them on stilts after recent flooding caused extensive damage to the facility.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the Guard is pursuing a more than $62 million project to protect the 1,184-acre (479-hectare) facility on the Platte River from future flooding.

The camp has been working to repair damage from floodwaters that filled classrooms and barracks after the river knocked down a levee last month.

A Nebraska legislative committee is nearly finished with its proposal to lower property taxes by raising other taxes and boosting state aid to K-12 public schools.

Members of the Revenue Committee continued debate Monday on their package, but it's not clear whether every member will support it. Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, the committee's chairwoman, says she hopes to vote on it Tuesday.

The package would reduce property taxes by an average of 20 percent, although the exact amount would vary throughout Nebraska.

Three years after Nebraska voters reinstated the death penalty, lawmakers have rejected a new attempt to abolish the punishment.

Senators who want to outlaw capital punishment fell eight votes short Thursday of the support needed to advance the measure through a first-round vote. The measure stalled with 17 lawmakers voting in favor of it and 25 against. Seven senators didn't vote.

Sen. Ernie Chambers, of Omaha, introduced the bill as he has done for more than four decades.

  Investor Warren Buffett's company plans to release its first-quarter earnings report on the day of its annual meeting on May 4 when thousands of shareholders will visit Omaha to hear the billionaire's thoughts.

Buffett always draws a big crowd at Berkshire's annual meeting because many people want to hear the successful investor answer questions. The meeting will also be webcast live on Yahoo Finance.