Gage County

A Nebraska county that was ordered to pay a $28.1 million legal judgment for sending six innocent people to prison will get $4 million from the state to help pay it off. Gov. Pete Ricketts signed off on the payment on Tuesday, despite raising objections to a 2019 measure that allowed Gage County to impose a half-cent sales tax without voter approval to pay some of the debt. Ricketts says he approved the new law because of the additional economic impact of the pandemic on county residents.

Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska lawmakers have ended a historic session marked by major tax cuts, a grant program to expand high-speed internet service and regulations to clear the way for the state’s new casino industry. But they left major work unfinished, most notably the once-a-decade ritual of redrawing the state’s congressional and legislative districts. That means they'll have to return to the Capitol later this year. The session was also shaped by the coronavirus pandemic and bitter disputes over how to use excess money in the state budget.


The University of Nebraska has netted $400 million in financing through the sale of municipal bonds to be used for a growing list of renovations and replacement projects. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the sale took place Wednesday, and money garnered will go toward an $800 million backlog of projects at campuses in Lincoln, Omaha and Kearney, as well as the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

Millions of dollars of federal funding is being awarded to Nebraska airports.  The Federal Aviation Administration recently announced that Nebraska airports would receive 12-point-six-million-dollars in grants through the Fiscal Year 2021 Airport Improvement Program.  Western Nebraska Regional Airport in Scottsbluff, McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport and Broken Bow Municipal Airport are among the Nebraska airports that will receive money for improvements including runway and taxiway upgrades, navigational aids and snow removal equipment.   

Nebraska is inching closer to building a new, $230 million prison after state lawmakers approved design and planning money for the proposed facility to replace the state’s oldest prison. The measure won final approval despite objections from a few lawmakers who said the state should be spending money on housing, education, mental health services and other priorities rather than the proposed 1,512-bed prison. The funding includes $14.9 million to help state officials create plans and select a site for a prison that would house minimum, medium and maximum-security prisoners.

Nebraska Legislature

A Nebraska lawmaker is urging her colleagues to create a state commission to study how to pay for K-12 public schools, an issue that has become contentious as some senators push for lower property taxes. Sen. Wendy DeBoer, of Bennington, says the commission could look for ways to pay for schools other than property taxes while still providing equal educational opportunities to children around the state. The commission would present its preliminary findings back to lawmakers in 2022.

Drone Amplified

A Lincoln company focused on fighting wildfires using drones says it has been awarded more than $1 million in federal and state grants. Drone Amplified tells the Lincoln Journal Star it has been awarded a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research grant for $983,676 and a Nebraska Department of Economic Development matching grant for $100,000. The company says the funding will be used to help conduct research and development on improving the safety, decreasing the costs and increasing the effectiveness of firefighters battling wildfires.

Doane University Facing Significant Program Cuts

Oct 8, 2020
The College Post

A Nebraska college could cut dozens of programs.  Doane University in Crete has recommended several programs for elimination including International Studies, Physics, Philosophy, Political Science and Criminal Justice.  School officials say the proposed cuts are part of a process that began in January.  Officials have not revealed how many jobs would be impacted by eliminating the programs.