April 1, 2015

Wisconsin ruling renews voter photo ID debate in Unicameral (AUDIO)

Voting BoothsUnited States Supreme Court action or, perhaps, inaction on a Wisconsin law re-opens debate on an issue defeated earlier in the Unicameral.

Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha claims vindication for supporters of requiring Nebraska voters to display photo IDs in wake of the Supreme Court decision to let a similar Wisconsin law stand.

Nebraska lawmakers, in effect, defeated the measure last month.

“Members, that issue may be dead for this session, but I will assure you it is not dead in future sessions,” McCoy tells colleagues during debate on another matter.

McCoy says the Supreme Court decision speaks volumes about efforts across the country to require voters display photo identification to cast a ballot.

Wisconsin passed its law in 2011. Though the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 cleared the way for states to approve voter photo ID laws, it still is hearing challenges to various laws. Though The Supreme Court passed on the Wisconsin law, other legal challenges to similar laws remain active.

But McCoy’s take on the Supreme Court ruling riles Senator Burke Harr of Omaha, who claims the action doesn’t apply to Nebraska.

“There were three justices who overturned a lower court ruling,” Harr tells colleagues. “That’s what happened. It was not a Supreme Court ruling. It was a Court of Appeals ruling in a separate district.”

The Unicameral in February approved a motion to shelve LB 111 this session, a parliamentary move that effectively killed the bill.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:45]


Congressman Ashford criticized for lack of fundraising

Nebraska 2nd District Congressman Brad Ashford is getting  heat from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for not focusing on fundraising for his 2016 election. Congressman Ashford says while fundraising is important so is focusing on his job.

Congressman Ashford says, “I spend half of my day just dealing with the ISIS issue because our sub-committee works on it. The fundraising, obviously everybody needs money to run campaigns but it’s got to be a secondary consideration.”

Congressman Ashford goes on to say that if the U-S House would actually debate bills there would be “zero” time for fundraising. He goes on to say that bills have to be discussed and that isn’t done so he is introducing a bill that would require all bills be debated ten hours before the vote. He says there are regulations in place now but typically they are suspended.

AG Peterson at home after undergoing prostate cancer surgery

Attorney General Doug Peterson

Attorney General Doug Peterson

Attorney General Doug Peterson has undergone prostate cancer surgery, according to his office, and is recovering at home.

According to the Attorney General’s office, Peterson had surgery after testing in December “provided early detection indicators” of prostate cancer. The office says Peterson and his family determined it would be prudent to have surgery.

“Peterson is keeping in continual contact with his office and holding daily conferences with senior staff as he recovers at home with his family,” according to a news release from the office.

His office reports the surgeon believes the procedure was successful. Further test results from the surgery should be available later this week.

Peterson encourages men over the age of 50 to undergo a medical examination for prostate cancer as well as learn the signs of prostate cancer to recognize its early stages.

Fortenberry office hit by “glitter bomb”; no one hurt

Letter from Congressman Fortenberry office

Letter from Congressman Fortenberry office/Photo courtesy of Kevin Thomas

Authorities are investigating after a “glitter” bomb exploded in the Lincoln office of Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.

A spokeswoman for the Congressman says no one was hurt Wednesday. A few members of the Congressman’s staff got showered by sparkles that shot out of the envelope when they opened it.

The envelope contained a note stating, “Congrats, you’ve earned this for trying to deny women their right to choice. Mind your own uterus.”

Various authorities have been notified. A spokesman for Lincoln police says it doesn’t appear the letter was threatening, though it will be analyzed for fingerprints. The FBI and the United States postal inspector have become involved in the investigation.

A recent vote might have prompted the incident. Fortenberry supported efforts in the House of Representatives to deny federal funding for abortions.

KLIN contributed to this story.

UNL professor says Obama not ready to embrace Netanyahu Iran strategy

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor says the Obama Administration isn’t ready to play hardball against Iran as advocated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu addressed Congress Tuesday about the danger Iran poses to Israel, the United States, and the entire world as it continues to develop a nuclear program. Netanyahu stated that everyone should walk away from the table with Iran, arguing Iran needs a deal more than anyone else and will return to the bargaining table.

UNL Political Science professor Ari Kohen says the United States isn’t ready to call that bluff.

“The administration obviously wants to negotiate and believe that diplomatic solution is the best or maybe the only option that is on the table. Netanyahu is convinced there is a better deal out there, especially if the administration is ready to play hard ball,” Kohen says.

About 60 Congressional Democrats did not attend the prime minister’s speech.