Douglas Co. to extend benefits to same-sex couples
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Douglas County says it will extend benefits to same-sex spouses of employees who were legally married in other states.
The County Board voted Tuesday to change the definition of an eligible spouse so it can include someone who is the same gender as the employee. The new definition covers all benefits including health insurance.
The Omaha World-Herald reports the county will briefly reopen its enrollment period to accommodate the newly eligible spouses. Benefits would begin Jan. 1. The county is self-insured.
The City of Omaha recently said it would not offer health insurance and dental benefits to spouses of legally married gay employees. The Omaha police union has filed a grievance in response.
Heineman cancels Nebraska study on climate change
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Gov. Dave Heineman has canceled a Legislature-approved study on climate change, saying it would duplicate research work by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Heineman said in a letter Tuesday to members of the Legislature that the move will eliminate $44,000 from the budget that was appropriated for the study.
Researchers at the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources say their study, which involves reviewing others' work, will focus on identifying any human causes to climate change. They've set aside $20,000 for the study.
That is in contrast to the state study, which was modified to require that only natural causes to climate change be examined. Some university scientists had expressed concern about the scope of the Legislature-approved study.
The university study is expected to be finished by next September.
Americans Elect party dissolves in Nebraska
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A political organization that had hoped to field bipartisan candidates for president and vice president has been dissolved in Nebraska.
The Nebraska Secretary of State's office says it is in the process of notifying the 275 voters in the state who had registered with the Americans Elect party.
Americans Elect was not organized nationally as a third party. Instead, it sought to field a presidential ticket last year from opposing parties. In order to obtain ballot access, some states - including Nebraska - required Americans Elect to register as a political party.
But the group failed to field candidates, and recently asked the Nebraska Secretary of State's office to dissolve the party.
An organizer for Americans Elect in Nebraska could not be immediately reached Tuesday for comment.
Nebraska State Penitentiary still on lockdown
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska State Penitentiary remains on lockdown after 33 inmates refused to return to their cells.
A Department of Correctional Services spokeswoman said Tuesday that the inmates were protesting a year-old policy that limits the number of inmates who can be in the prison yard at one time. The policy was enacted to reduce conflicts among inmates.
Spokeswoman Dawn-Renee Smith says there were no injuries or major damage in the protest, aside from some fires in trash cans that were extinguished. Some inmates were moved to other locations because of the smoke.
Smith says prison staff members are investigating the fires. The inmates who protested were not violent, and were all secured Monday night.
CHILD HEALTH SUMMIT
Creighton U. to host Nebraska child summit
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Creighton University is hosting an annual summit focused on children's education and health care issues in Nebraska.
The summit on Wednesday will include a presentation by Dr. Sam Meisels, executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute. Meisels also will moderate a panel discussion on pre-kindergarten programming with school officials, an advocate for mental health issues and the chairwoman of the Legislature's Education Committee.
The group Voices for Children will present research from its "Kids Count in Nebraska" report. The group's executive director will moderate a second panel focused on the impact of poverty on health and learning.
The summit will end with a presentation on expanding Medicaid in Nebraska.
The summit runs from 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. in the Mike and Josie Harper Center.
OMAHA JOB FAIR
40-plus companies to be hiring at Omaha job fair
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - More than 40 companies will be hiring at a job fair being held in Omaha.
The fair will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Comfort Inn on Grover Street in south-central Omaha.
Organizers say a full range of fields will be represented at the fair, and employers are seeking full-time, part-time and seasonal workers. Some employers also are offering internship jobs.
Those looking to hire include AFLAC, Creighton University, Metropolitan Community College, Hy-Vee, the Nebraska Department of Labor, Verizon Wireless and West Corp.
Participants are encouraged to bring resumes, be prepared for onsite interviews and to dress the part.
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