Post Tagged with: "Bruning"

Another debate expected on gambling in Nebraska

Another debate expected on gambling in Nebraska

The above headline could be written every year when discussing the Nebraska Legislature.

 Debates about gambling are about as common as new ideas to spur job growth or revamp state aid to education.

 But you have to wonder if two perennial issues — speeding up keno lotteries and granting racetracks the authority to take bets on historic races — might cross the finish line this year.

 Last year, a historic horseracing bill introduced by Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh was passed by the Legislature, only to be unsaddled by a veto from Gov. Dave Heineman, whose idea of an appropriate bet is a symbolic one with a fellow governor over an NU football game.

 But Lautenbaugh might get a more sympathetic ride for his bill this year with a crop of new lawmakers and the continued decline of thoroughbred horseracing. Nebraska is down to only one decent track, Fonner Park in Grand Island, and the industry is “desperate,” the senator told a legislative committee Monday.

February 11, 2013 Comments Read More
Justice comes for Darrel Parker from Jon Bruning

Justice comes for Darrel Parker from Jon Bruning

For those who say that government doesn’t work, I’d submit the following:

Fifty-six years after being found guilty by a jury of murdering his wife, Darrel Parker, now a hard-of-hearing senior citizen, has found some justice.

 Last week, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning stood in front of the television cameras and apologized to the now 80-year-old Parker.

 Bruning said it was clear that the former Lincoln city forester had been wronged in 1956 when a confession was extracted from him after seven hours of accusatory and confrontational interrogation.

September 5, 2012 Comments Read More
Nebraska Legislature — races to watch on Tuesday

Nebraska Legislature — races to watch on Tuesday

Twenty-five seats in the 49-seat Nebraska Legislature are up for grabs this year and Tuesday’s primary could tell us a lot about the mood of the voters.

 Is there a “get rid of incumbents” streak out there, like there seems to be with the U.S. Congress?

 Are voters comfortable with the Legislature’s controversial decisions to restore prenatal care for illegal immigrants and allow cities, with voter approval, to raise local sales taxes by a half cent?

 And, can a couple of recent appointees of Gov. Dave Heineman withstand some stilff challenges in their districts?

 A veteran lobbyist has said that appointed senators are like barn cats — you’d better not get too attached to them.

 But will voters feel the same way about Sen. Dave Bloomfield in northeast Nebraska’s 17th District and Sen. Paul Lambert in the 2nd District in Cass County, just south of Omaha.

Bloomfield was a soft-spoken legislator,  but will get a stiff challenge from a trio of candidates in his district, including Van Phillips, the former superintendent of schools in South Sioux City, the district’s largest city. Some think Bloomfield won’t get out of the primary.

 Lambert was more talkative, weighing in on issues like the half-cent sales tax bill and another to maintain a tax-exemption for cities who finance buildings via non-profit leasing corporations. But the former Plattsmouth mayor has five opponents, including Robyn Larson, the mother of current Sen. Tyson Larson.

 Other questions:

 – can incumbent Ken Haar out-poll a well-financed pro-life opponent, Mike Hilgers, in District 21 in northern Lancaster County? The primary results will tell us a lot about what to expect in November.

 – ditto with Omaha’s District 11, where incumbent Sen. Brenda Council will face off with former Sen. Ernie Chambers? Will Ernie have to do some campaigning to win? He said he did do campaign signs way back in the ’70s. But he won several re-election bids by just filing for the office.

 – who emerges from a seven-candidate field in District 43 in Nebraska’s Sand Hills to replace Sen. Deb Fischer, who is term-limited  but in a hot race for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. Could a non-rancher win that seat?

 The U.S. Senate race is getting almost all of the primary chatter this year. And we’ll find out Tuesday if Fischer’s purported late surge is enough to overcome the early lead amassed by Atttorney General Jon Bruning and the solid base of State Treasurer Don Stenberg.

 It would be an epic upset if Fischer pulls it out. It would confirm what some say about Bruning’s support among Republicans — that it’s like the Platte River, a mile wide and an inch deep.

May 14, 2012 Comments Read More
Shifting focus in death drug dispute

Shifting focus in death drug dispute

Attorney General Jon Bruning says his half-inch thick filing Monday before the Nebraska Supreme Court is more about transparency than legality.

The lawyer for condemned killers Michael Ryan and Carey Dean Moore has attempted to delay their executions by claiming the state illegally imported its first batch of sodium thiopental from India and was conned into buying a second batch that was stolen from the manufacturer.

In a meeting with reporters Monday, Bruning called such claims frivolous. His filing cited previous decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts that decided “the source of the substances to be used to carry out a death sentence is irrelevant to assuring the protections of the Eighth Amendment of our federal constitution.” Therefore, Bruning asserts, legally he didn’t need to respond to the claims of Ryan and Moore. But he did so, he says, to show Nebraska bought and imported the drugs legally.

Otherwise, Bruning clearly wants to shift discussion away from how the lethal injection drugs were obtained to why the drugs were purchased.

“The reason we have the death penalty in this state is for the worst of the worst, like Michael Ryan,” he says. “It’s offensive we have to talk about a sideshow when there are victims who haven’t received justice.”

Read our coverage of the filing and the ongoing dispute over how the state obtained the drug here.


January 10, 2012 Comments Read More