Gov. Dave Heineman says he plans to finish strong.
Heineman, responding to a reporter’s question, says he isn’t really concerned about tying up any loose ends as his 10-year term as governor comes to a close.
“You’re never finished, really,” Heineman says. “I’m very pleased that I know Gov.-elect Ricketts is going to continue to focus on property and income tax relief, strengthening education, reforming Health and Human Services, and those issues need to continue to move forward.”
Heineman has been governor for two full terms, plus a two-year stint when he took over for then-Gov. Mike Johanns after President George W. Bush appointed Johanns Secretary of Agriculture. Term limits prevent him from running for re-election. His tenure ends when fellow Republican Pete Ricketts takes the oath of office in early January.
One issue preoccupies Heineman these days: prisons.
Heineman says he and his staff have been meeting with the prison working group on how to lower the prison population.
As part of the review, Heineman says the legislature must study inconsistent sentencing across Nebraska.
“For the same crime in Omaha, judges are giving those individuals prison sentences while judges in the other parts of the state are giving probation,” according to Heineman. “We also need to deal with the issue that too many judges are sending us individuals who have less than six months to serve in a prison. That was really not the intent of prisons.”
Heineman suggests those short-term prisoners could serve out their terms in county jails rather than state prisons.