The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doesn't expect to eliminate from its reservoir system all the leftover water from last year's near-record runoff that led to massive flooding along the Missouri River. Officials are raising the current releases in expectation of high spring runoff again this year. The Corps told the Omaha World-Herald the system needs to make as much space as possible in light of forecasts for warmer than normal weather and higher than normal runoff.
Nebraska lawmakers kicked off their 2020 session Wednesday with more than 120 new proposals, including a constitutional amendment to abolish the state income tax and a ban on a common second-trimester abortion procedure. The new, 60-day session begins with an expected focus on property taxes, but senators quickly signaled that it's likely to veer into contentious social issues as well. The first proposals slated for debate include a tax exemption for military retirees and a bill that would allow teachers to physically restrain violent students in classrooms. Gov. Pete Ricketts is expected to deliver his annual State of the State message to lawmakers on Jan. 15.
South Dakota legislators have invited the Crow Creek Sioux tribal chairman to deliver the annual State of the Tribes address. Lester Thompson Jr. hasn't said yet whether he will accept. The invitation is a shift from plans to have Secretary of Tribal Relations Dave Flute give the address. Some tribal members had objected to having a state employee deliver the speech. They had set up a competing event in Fort Pierre.