Nebraska lawmakers may have to add money to the state's general fund when they convene next year. A legislative report released Wednesday says the state faces a projected shortfall of nearly $4.6 million for the new budget year that began this month. The estimate represents the difference between the amount of money the state is expected to have it its general fund by June 30 and the amount that's required by law. It's likely to change once the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board meets in October to predict the state's future revenue. Despite the estimate, state officials say Nebraska's overall finances are in good shape. The state is expected to see a record-high cash reserve of $707.8 million.
Vote on machine gambling remains on Nov. 4 ballot
Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale has rejected a request that he remove a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing machine gambling on "historic horse races" from the Nov. 4 general election ballot. Reports say the request by Omaha attorney Steve Grasz suggested that the proposal violates the state constitution by containing more than one subject. Although the language of the amendment contains more than one subject, Gale says, it "connects its subjects together to be part of one general subject." Gale says his authority is limited to whether the alleged defect is patently unconstitutional. He says it's possible his decision may be challenged in court. The proposed constitutional amendment would allow machine gambling on "historic horse racing" only at licensed horse race parks.
The United Way of the Midlands says its CEO has been hospitalized with a serious heart condition. The Omaha-based organization says Karen Bricklemyer was admitted to Creighton University Medical Center on Tuesday and is undergoing treatment. Senior vice presidents are handling day-to-day operations, including work on the annual fundraising campaign that kicks off in August. The organization says the executive committee of its board of directors will meet later this week to discuss an interim leadership plan. Bricklemyer's family has requested privacy. The organization says it will provide additional information as it becomes available.
Labor union sues ex-president over missing $28,000
A Douglas County public employees union has filed a lawsuit against its former president to recover at least $28,000 that disappeared during her tenure. Reports say the Employees United Labor Association filed the lawsuit against Anne Hurley earlier this month accusing her of using dues money for personal purposes. Hurley's attorney, Matt Kahler, says his client denies any wrongdoing and plans to answer the lawsuit next week. Hurley, who led the union from 2009 to 2012, has worked in the Register of Deeds office for 15 years. Register of Deeds Diane Battiato says Hurley told her about the accusations. Battiato says she views this as a dispute between the union and Hurley.
The city maintenance building in Gibbon is a total loss after a fire started in a pickup and spread. City Administrator Chris Rector in the city of 1,800 people says the building was reported in flames at 9:20 p.m. Tuesday. The fire was extinguished about four hours later. Reports say a wire in the engine compartment in one of the city pickups is the suspected cause. Rector says four pickups, a street sweeper, and the city's front end loader was a total loss. A road grader and a dump truck also have extensive damage and could also be totaled. Rector said the building is also likely a total loss. He estimates damage from $400,000 to $500,000.
Two men arrested, charged in Omaha shooting death Two men have been charged in arrest warrants in the weekend shooting death of an Omaha man. Omaha police announced Wednesday that 24-year-old Absalom Scott and 29-year-old Rico Larry have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder and weapons counts in the Sunday shooting death of 59-year-old Frank Sanders. Police officers responding to a call of a shooting around 11 p.m. Sunday found Sanders dead in a midtown Omaha apartment.
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