September 29th, 2017 The Nebraska Supreme Court decided today that the four beer stores located in Whiteclay Nebraska must remain closed. The court’s decision was not one based the moral issues and alcoholism present in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, but rather due to an error in the appealing process committed by the attorney for the 4 establishments. This was illustrated in Justice John Wright’s 17 page opion when he said “Our decision today does not address the merits of the parties’ respective positions, but rests solely on jurisdictional grounds.” The four stores will now have to remain closed until they are able to either re-apply for liquor licenses, try to have the case reheard, or appeal the case to federal court.
September 27, 2017 Senators Jim Smith and Curt Friesen both expressed interest this past Tuesday in doing away with Nebraska’s personal property tax. The personal property tax is imposed on business property (computers, equipment, furniture, etc.) and accounted for $217 million or 5.6% of all property tax collected last year. Senator Smith said this could be a uniting idea for urban and rural constituencies. The agricultural community has often advocated tax cuts for agricultural property while business groups have tried to advance income tax cuts. Smith believes that this could be something both parties would be able to get behind.
September 18th, 2017 Senator Curt Friesen, of District 34, has announced that he will be seeking re-election. Friesen, a registered Republican, is the chairman of the Transportation and Telecommunications committee. Friesen has also said that if he wins re-election he will make property tax cuts a legislative priority.
September 15th, 2017 State Senator Merv Riepe formally announced this week that he will be running for re-election for the 12th District legislative seat. Riepe, a Republican, will be challenged by Steve Lathrop, a Democrat and former senator from that district, who had announced his bid a few weeks prior to Riepe. The race is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in the state for the upcoming legislative elections.
September 14th, 2017 Joe Murray a Republican and resident of Firth has announced that he will be running for the 30th District seat in the legislature. The seat is currently held by Roy Baker who has said that he will not be seeking re-election. Murray will be running against Don Schuller, a Democrat from Wymore, who had announced his candidacy a few weeks earlier.
September 16th, 2017 This past Friday the Judiciary Committee met at the legislature to discuss implementing a study that would review Nebraska's mandatory minimum laws. Debate broke out between sides that favored keeping mandatory minimums and those that wanted to get rid of them. It is expected that this will continue to be a focal point of debate within the legislature later this year as law makers look at a carryover bill that would eliminate mandatory minimums for drug offenses.
September 7th, 2017 Gov. Ricketts is looking for applicants to fill the District 6 legislative seat after Sen. Joni Craighead announced she would be stepping down September 8th. Craighead's resignation was especially surprising because it came just days after she confirmed that she would be running for re-election in 2018. The Governor has set the deadline for applications as September 29th, and the appointed senator would serve until January 2019.