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Pete Ricketts

Remington Research Group

State regulators have found the Nebraska Republican Party and a political consulting firm liable for making illegal robocalls in a hotly contested legislative race. The Nebraska Public Service Commission issued the ruling against the state party and Kansas City-based Remington Research. The calls were made to help state Sen. Julie Slama, of Peru, who is locked in an unusually bitter race against challenger Janet Palmtag. Slama and Palmtag are both Republicans, and have each won key endorsements. Slama is backed by Gov.

KSNB

Low-income residents who qualify for expanded Medicaid coverage in Nebraska will have to work, volunteer or take classes or get job training if they want access to certain health-care services starting in 2022. Gov. Pete Ricketts says the federal government has approved Nebraska’s request to impose additional requirements on people who want coverage for vision or dental services or over-the-counter drugs. Nebraska submitted a two-tiered proposal to the federal government, with a prime plan that includes those extra services a basic plan that doesn’t.

Lincoln Journal Star

Some of the biggest conservative names in Nebraska politics are lining up against ballot measures to legalize casinos, which they argue would fuel an increase in gambling addictions and related social problems. Opponents of the legalization measure include Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, former Gov. Kay Orr and U.S. Rep. Tom Osborne, a former Nebraska football coach. Voters will decide next month whether to allow casinos at state-licensed race tracks in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, Columbus and South Sioux City. In-person, early voting for the general election started Monday.

Polls across Nebraska will be open as usual for the November 3rd General Election, even with a high number of people voting early. Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen says COVID-19 protections and precautions used in the state's primary election will again be in place for the general election. He says as more is known about COVID-19, he expects the percentage of those going to the polls in November to be higher than in the primary. Evnen also urged voters not to give their ballot to an unfamiliar third party who promises to turn it in on their behalf. Along with Gov.

A Nebraska state senator who is running for a new term made an embarrassing error in a recent campaign mail piece attacking his opponent. The mailing by Sen. Andrew La Grone, of Gretna, criticizes his legislative challenger, Jen Day, of Omaha. But the photo that purports to show Day is actually an image of one of Day’s campaign staffers, Brooklynne Rosado. Rosado, of La Vista, called the ad humiliating and says someone didn’t do their due diligence. La Grone is seeking to win his first election after he was appointed to his seat by Gov. Pete Ricketts, a fellow Republican, in 2019.

Grand Island Independent

Nebraska voters won’t get the chance to legalize medical marijuana this year after the state Supreme Court ruled that the measure set to appear on the November ballot is unconstitutional. The court’s ruling was a win for social conservatives, including Gov. Pete Ricketts, who argued that the state shouldn’t legalize a drug that isn’t approved by federal regulators. Justices concluded that the medical marijuana proposal violated Nebraska’s “single subject rule” for ballot measures, which bars activists from bunching multiple issues into a single yes-or-no question for voters to address.

Nebraska has created a new state disaster response team to help local governments that are overwhelmed with massive wildfires and other disasters. The incident management team includes the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, the state fire marshal and the Nebraska state forester. The team is designed to help organize state resources that are already in place and allow for faster response times. Gov. Pete Ricketts says it will only respond if local governments request it. Western Nebraska saw a major wildfire in Banner County last month that burned more than 4,000 acres.

The interim director of Nebraska’s Division of Developmental Disabilities will assume the job full-time starting next week. Gov. Ricketts Pete Ricketts announced Friday that he has appointed Tony Green, of Omaha, to the position within the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Green has served as the division’s interim director since March 2020, and previously worked as its deputy director. He replaces Courtney Miller, who stepped down in April to take a new job in the federal government. Green began his career as a services coordinator within the division in 1990.

Gov. Pete Ricketts has named an engineering firm executive as the new director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. Thomas Riley, of Eagle, will head the agency starting Nov 1. Riley serves as president of the Flatwater Group, a company he founded with offices in Lincoln and Imperial. The firm specializes in water resources engineering, restoration design and environmental engineering. Riley is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he received a bachelor of science in civil engineering and a master of science in civil engineering.

Ricketts Vetoes Execution Transparancy Bill

Aug 18, 2020
New York Times

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited prison officials from blocking the view of execution witnesses before the condemned inmate is declared dead, signaling that they’re willing to repeat the much-criticized step in a future execution. The bill was introduced after prison officials closed the witness viewing curtain for 14 minutes during the August 2018 execution of Carey Dean Moore, which prevented members of the media from seeing the full process.

Nebraska lawmakers have approved new tax credits for homeowners, farmers and businesses and put more restrictions on abortions as they finish a session marred by ugly public disputes and criticism that they didn’t do enough to address the coronavirus pandemic. The 60-day session ended after several last-minute, unsuccessful attempts to derail the tax and abortion bills. Lawmakers gave both measures final approval and sent them to Gov. Pete Ricketts, who’s expected to sign them. Lawmakers convened as normal in January but suspended their session in March out of concern about the pandemic.

Ricketts Forbids TikTok Use On State-Owned Phones

Aug 13, 2020
Forbes

No TikTok for Nebraskans with state owned cellphones.  In a news release, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced the state made the decision to ban the popular video app on state devices to safeguard against intrusive cyber activities from China.  Last week, President Donald Trump ordered a ban on Chinese owned apps like WeChat and TikTok saying they're a threat to U.S. national security.

 

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nebraska is surging past 27-thousand.  Officials confirmed 222 new cases yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 27-thousand-178.  Four more coronavirus deaths were reported yesterday, and the state has seen 332 deaths during the pandemic.

Omaha Daily Record

The city of Omaha is moving forward with a public facemask mandate.  City Councilman Pete Festersen tweeted yesterday that the council will consider an ordinance similar to one adopted in Lincoln.  The move comes after the Omaha Public Schools Board of Education requested this past weekend that the city consider a mask ordinance as the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19. Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour had been widely expected to issue a mandate Friday after the Douglas County Board of Health last Monday voted unanimously to support a mask mandate.

State health officials announced 332 new cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 23-thousand-818 confirmed cases of the virus in the state and 316 deaths. Thirty-four-percent of hospital beds and eighty-percent of ventilators are available. Officials in Omaha say a citywide mask mandate could go into effect next week. Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour said the area needs to get COVID-19 under control in order for schools to reopen.

Nebraska residents who qualify for expanded Medicaid under the federal health care law can start enrolling next month. Gov. Pete Ricketts is defending the state’s nearly two-year time frame to offer coverage after voters approved it. Ricketts says Nebraska will open enrollment on Aug. 1, and coverage will begin as scheduled on Oct. 1. The roll-out begins nearly two years after Nebraska voters approved a measure to expand Medicaid coverage in the November 2018 election over the objections of Ricketts and conservative groups.

Ricketts Moves To Challenge Lincoln Mask Order

Jul 20, 2020
Lincoln Journal Star

Lincoln and Lancaster County's mask-wearing mandate is facing a possible challenge from Nebraska's top elected official.  Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts' office says the governor is considering all available legal options in challenging the mask order. A spokesperson for Ricketts says the governor encourages the use of masks in appropriate situations, but he disagrees with Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird's public mask order, which runs until August 31st.

New Covid-19 Information Website Launched

Jul 16, 2020

There is a new website for Nebraska coronavirus information. Governor Ricketts announced the Nebraska Coronavirus website will be updated regularly while the state continues dispersing state and federal coronavirus aid funds. The website is coronavirus-dot-Nebraska-dot-gov.

Ricketts Extends DMV Renewal Deadline

Jul 3, 2020

Governor Pete Ricketts extended the DMV renewal deadline again yesterday. The governor issued an executive order that gives Nebraskans until August 31 to renew their car registrations, titles, and driver's licenses. Ricketts issued an order in May that extended the DMV renewal deadline for people 72 and older by a year.

Lincoln Journal Star

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nebraska is approaching 19-thousand.  As of yesterday, there were 18-thousand-899 cases and 267 deaths reported statewide.   Douglas County has seen the most coronavirus cases in the state with nearly seven-thousand. State health figures show the number of hospital beds available in Nebraska has dropped below 40% as the state continues to see more COVID-19 cases confirmed. The state's online coronavirus tracker shows that as of Thursday, 2,330 of the state's total 3,834 hospital beds were occupied. That left 1,504, or 39%, of hospital beds available.

State health officials announced 189 new cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 17,415 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, and 240 deaths. The Department of Health and Human Services says 42 percent of hospital beds and 80 percent of ventilators are available. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says counties that require masks in government offices will not be eligible for coronavirus relief funds.

Ricketts Informs Trump Of Nebraska Reopening Plan

Jun 18, 2020

Two Nebraska state officials are meeting with President Trump.  Governor Pete Ricketts and state Director of Economic Development Tony Goins will travel to the White House today.  Ricketts and Goins will present the state's reopening plan to the president.

Nebraska Prepares For Third Phase Of Reopening

Jun 16, 2020

The state of Nebraska is about to enter the third phase of its reopening plan.  Starting June 22nd, fan attendance at sports events will no longer be limited to household members of participants, food may be consumed at bars, indoor gatherings may be held at 50-percent capacity and outdoor gatherings can take place at 75-percent capacity.  Salons, barbershops, massage and tattoo businesses will be able to operate at 75-percent capacity, and capacity limits will also increase at childcare facilities.  Hall, Merrick, Dakota, and Hamilton counties will move into Phase Two of reopening while t

Governor Ricketts Forgiven By Black Community Leader

Jun 5, 2020

(Omaha, NE)  --  Governor Pete Ricketts is forgiven by a local pastor and community leader after a heated meeting following the death of 22-year-old James Spurlock in Omaha. Pastor Jarrod Parker posted to Facebook Monday sharing his perspective on a meeting he had with the governor where Ricketts called black leaders, "you people." Pastor Parker says he's accepted what he believes is a sincere apology and he's excited to see how they will work together in the future.  

 

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts apologized after an Omaha pastor accused the governor of using the phrase “you people” during a meeting with local black leaders. Ricketts says he chose his words poorly and apologized when it became apparent that he had caused offense. Pastor Jarrod Parker of St. Mark’s Baptist Church criticized the governor online after he walked out of the meeting. Parker says Ricketts made the comments in a meeting with black leaders about the killing of James Scurlock, a black man who was fatally shot by a white bar owner during the George Floyd protests.

Gov. Pete Ricketts says Nebraska could see another flare-up of coronavirus cases because of the demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, but he concluded that allowing protesters to peacefully vent was more important than concerns about the pandemic. His comments came as new, lighter virus restrictions went into effect throughout most of the state. The restrictions approved by Ricketts allow bars, zoos, swimming pools and other public venues to reopen, with crowd limits based on a venue’s occupancy.

Nebraska will use its $1.1 billion share of federal coronavirus money to help small businesses, local governments, nonprofits and other groups hard-hit by the pandemic. Gov. Pete Ricketts provided a first glimpse of the state’s plan, which focuses heavily on small businesses and unemployment insurance for laid-off workers. Nebraska will receive $1.25 billion under the federal CARES Act, the emergency law passed to help Americans with the pandemic.

Protections For Renters Will Not Be Extended Past June 1st

May 22, 2020
Knowles Law Firm

A state proclamation to protect renters from eviction amid the COVID-19 pandemic is ending June 1st. Governor Ricketts yesterday said he is not extending the halt on evictions past May because he feels Nebraskans have received a sufficient budget of employment assistance, an extra 600-dollars a month to help people pay their rent. Legal Aid of Nebraska told WOWT that it would have made sense to halt evictions until the end of July when the federal suspension runs out.

Nebraska will let bars, zoos, movie theaters and swimming pools reopen and allow small concerts and auctions to resume on June 1 in all but four hard-hit counties. Gov. Pete Ricketts says he plans to further loosen social-distancing restrictions to strike a balance between public health and the need to move back toward normal life as people grow restless. His announcement came as the number of coronavirus deaths continues to rise. Businesses that do reopen will still face mandatory social distancing restrictions.

Nebraska's governor says he's “very pleased” with a coronavirus testing program established by out-of-state contractors. Gov. Pete Ricketts' words of confidence in TestNebraska came Wednesday despite uncertainty that the program will meet a goal of 3,000 tests per day by the month’s end. Nebraska announced the $27 million, no-bid contract with Utah-based Nomi Health and other firms on April 21. The state's chief medical officer says Nebraska tested 1,197 people on Tuesday.

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