Some photos NET News intern Johnnie Adcox took at the Nebraska Capitol. The Legislature’s natural resources committee was holding a hearing today on special session LB1, a bill introduced by Sen. Annette Dubas of District 34 that would give the Nebraska Public Service Commission authority to approve or disapprove proposed pipeline routes.

For more, tune into NET Radio at 5:30 p.m. central for Fred Knapp’s report from the Capitol, or listen online.

On Oil and Water

It’s not very often that I speak up about things, but over the last few months, I’ve become more aware of the current hot-topic in Nebraska: whether or not Transcanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline should be built through our state, or if the current planned route should be shifted away from the Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer.  If you’ve never heard of either, the Sandhills are a mixture of prairie and sand dunes located in north central Nebraska.  As an ecosystem, it's surprisingly difficult to reclaim.

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The Ogallala Aquifer is basically a large shallow underground lake - one of the largest in the world.  For people in Nebraska and many other states, it is an invaluable resource of water.

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The problem?  TransCanada is currently seeking approval from the U.S. State Department to build a pipeline through the U.S., towards a Texas refinery.  Many people have concerns, however, of potential contamination to the aquifer if a leak from the proposed pipeline were ever to occur.  The Keystone 1 Pipeline has already experienced spills within the first year of operation.

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While the U.S. State Department has the finally say in allowing the pipeline to be built, individual states retain the right to regulate where the pipeline is built.  While Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has voiced his disapproval of the pipeline, he has not called a special session of the Nebraska Legislature (unicameral) to address the issue.  Currently, a few state senators are trying to get enough votes to convene in a special session, but to do that, they need 33 of the 49 senators to approve a special session.  See the article below for more details:


If you live in Nebraska and want the legislature to address the issue, contact your state senator!

Apologies for quite possibly the longest post ever.

So what exactly IS a special session?
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Earlier this week, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman called for a special session of the state legislature to discuss the legislation that might affect the route of the  proposed Keystone XL Pipeline – though back in August, he wasn’t real hot on the idea.

It’s not clear whether enough senators have shifted their views on the pipeline to make action possible, or whether the governor simply wants to be able to say he tried.

We’ll learn more when the session convenes next Tuesday.

But what IS a “special session”? Here’s a quick FAQ, using information from the Nebraska Legislature’s website.

  • When are regular vs. special sessions held? A regular session convenes and adjourns annually, starting on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January. Therefore, the next regular session begins Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012. A “special” session can be convened at any time outside the normal session by the governor or two-thirds (33 members) of the legislature.

Keep reading

The fuck is up with Bicameral Parliments.

I don’t see the need. It’s twice the overhead at least, slows down legislation and generally contributes to bigger government.

If you give up all pretence of representation, equality or democracy, I can understand how having a lower house for the people then an upper house for the states or the Lords is you know, 1 rule for them, 1 rule for us.

But I don’t get it.

My thoughts on my Ideal Parliament

The Romanian Parliament voted against the new referendum initiated by the country’s president Traian Basescu, which called for a smaller, 300-seat and single chamber Parliament. There were 191 votes against and 123 votes for the referendum, while 69 MPs chose to abstain. This came after the commissions in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies had given a green light to the proposal, with only 3 votes against and 3 abstentions. The recent vote in the Parliament however is not decisive, and the country’s president can still call the referendum, but the law makes it mandatory for him to consult the parliament. The President can decide what to ask in the referendum and what issues to submit to public vote, via a presidential decree. Romanian president Traian Basescu recently said that he has started the procedure to organize a new referendum, where people would again decide on having a single chamber Parliament and a maximum of 300 MPs. A similar referendum was organized in 2009, when the majority of those who voted were in favor of a smaller Parliament. Should the referendum be organized, it would be another expensive vote coming soon after last year’s referendum on whether to suspend the country’s president, which ended up invalidated. The country spent some EUR 22 million, or more or less EUR 1 per Romanian citizen, to organize the 2012 referendum. President Traian Basescu recently said the new referendum would start only after the new referendum law and the new Constitution are passed by Parliament, if indeed the result in 2009 is not be respected. (via Romanian Parliament says No to referendum to shrink its size, but president can continue process | Romania-Insider.com)

From the Omaha World-Herald (find more legislative coverage, including our daily Capitol update, here):

49 senators, 49 tax-relief ideas

When state senators knock on constituents’ doors, the top complaint they get is that property taxes are too high.

And the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures seem to back up the grumbling: Nebraska ranks significantly higher in property taxes, as a percentage of personal income, than income taxes.

So why is Gov. Dave Heineman aiming his new tax-cutting plan on individual and corporate income taxes and the inheritance tax, and not on those much-griped-about property taxes?

Proponents say the reason is that those taxes are much easier to reduce; that such cuts can more greatly transform Nebraska’s image into a low-tax state.

“The question is ‘Where do you get the biggest bang for your buck?’” said State Sen. Abbie Cornett of Bellevue.

Democrats immediately jumped on the Republican governor’s plan as misdirected, giving too much to the wealthy and corporations and not enough to the poor and middle class …

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What do YOU think about taxes in Nebraska? How would you change current taxation policies? Tell us your thoughts.

New Session of the Nebraska Unicameral Begins.

New members of the Nebraska Unicameral were sworn in today, marking the beginning of the new session on the Nebraska Legislature, the 103rd Legislature to be exact.  If you haven’t paid attention to Legislative news in Nebraska before, the beginning of a new session is always a good time to start! Laws passed in the Unicameral affect you just as much as laws passed by Congress or your local City Council…..

read more at Progressive Oasis

jt-trippy-universe replied to your post:OOC

Basically you summarize, analyze and give a review (your take) on the piece. What you liked/didn’t like, what stood out to you, and whether you’d recommend it to others. At least that’s what my English professor wanted last fall.

Okay. That sounds like a plan but how do I start it? Like my teacher gave me a rubric and I’ve done the first part of the intro which is just citing the source but I don’t know what to write for a thesis. The article is basically about this guy who is saying that we should just abandon our constitution all together and start from scratch and then he went on about the amendments and what we could do so we could pass more (basically a lot of it is having unicameral and holding state conventions).
Update on special session bills proposed so far:

Here’s a recap of what the special session of the Nebraska Unicameral has been up to since it began Nov. 1; any bills still in the committee when the special session adjourns are effectively killed:

LB1 – Would let the Public Service Commission make decisions regarding pipeline routes; also would change eminent domain laws (see LB3). Will be debated tomorrow (Thursday) in the full legislature.

LB2 – Provides funding for the special session. Guaranteed to pass.

LB3 – Would make adjustments to Nebraska’s eminent domain laws so that oil/natural gas companies couldn’t employ it until they had the necessary permits; this basic premise is also contained in LB1. Bill is not likely to advance from the Judiciary Committee.

Keep reading

to be honest I don’t really see the point of an elected house of lords, because the whole point of a second chamber whose purpose is legislative scrutiny is that it’s meritocratic, and meritocracy is not democratic

I do think we either need to abolish the HoL and become unicameral, or reform it. I definitely think sitting governments shouldn/t have any power over HoL appointments and that there should be an independent body (distinct from the government) whose purpose is to identify knowledgeable experts needed for legislative scrutiny

also lifelong peers shouldn’t exist and there should be rolling re-admission of lordship, to weed out peers who never sit in the house

Nueva noticia Tu Noticia Web

New Post has been published on http://tunoticiaweb.com/rinde-protesta-el-nuevo-presidente-de-guatemala-en-sustitucion-de-otto-perez-molina/

Rinde protesta el nuevo presidente de Guatemala, en sustitución de Otto Pérez Molina

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  • Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre completará el periodo de gobierno 2012-2016.
  • El extitular de la Corte de Constitucionalidad fue nombrado por el Congreso.
  • Otto Pérez Molina renunció para enfrentar a la justicia acusado de corrupción.

El experimentado jurista, diplomático y político Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre juró este jueves como nuevo presidente de Guatemala para completar el periodo de gobierno 2012-2016, tras la renuncia de Otto Pérez Molina.

El extitular de la Corte de Constitucionalidad fue nombrado por el Congreso de la República para sustituir a Pérez Molina, quien renunció esta madrugada para enfrentar a la justicia acusado de corrupción.

El presidente del Congreso (unicameral con 158 diputados), Luis Rabbé, tomó el juramento de Maldonado Aguirre como presidente de Guatemala en sesión especial del Legislativo.

Luego de un receso, se reanudó la sesión plenaria y a las 14:30 horas locales, ante la junta directiva del Congreso, prestó juramento y se convirtió en jefe de Estado de la nación.

Como establece la Constitución, a falta del mandatario de la República debe asumir el vicepresidente, a quien le da posesión el Congreso. En este caso, Maldonado Aguirre asumió para finalizar el presente periodo de gobierno, que concluirá el 14 de enero próximo.

El nuevo mandatario del país centroamericano juró ejercer con patriotismo el cargo, gobernar en beneficio de la población y velar por que se cumplan las leyes, con respeto a la democracia e independencia de poderes.

“En nombre del pueblo del Guatemala aquí representado, le doy posesión del cargo de presidente para finalizar el presente periodo (2012-2016)”, enfatizó el presidente del Congreso, al darle posesión del cargo a Maldonado Aguirre.

Una vez que se le impusieron las insignias de la primera magistratura, Maldonado Aguirre firmó el “Libro de Oro” del Congreso de la República y se colocó la banda presidencial.

“La violencia no es un derecho”

Con la banda presidencial al pecho subió a la máxima tribuna del Congreso y, ante el pleno parlamentario, dio su primer discurso como mandatario de la nación.

“Pueblo de Guatemala, la renuncia del cargo de presidente de la República, aceptada por el Congreso, dio lugar a que, como marca la ley, asuma esta responsabilidad“, indicó el nuevo mandatario.

“Esa renuncia del presidente (Pérez Molina) ha sido una decisión personal muy difícil, que él valoró en su dimensión de separar la dignidad del cargo, de la responsabilidad individual”, puntualizó.

Asimismo, el nuevo mandatario llamó a la unidad de los guatemaltecos y a evitar la violencia y los enfrentamientos entre hermanos. “La violencia no es un derecho”, sostuvo.

Se refirió también, en forma breve, a la precaria situación económica, política y social del gobierno y se comprometió a enmendar el rumbo del país, en beneficio de la mayoría de la población, en los pocos meses que restan a la administración.

Cerró su primer mensaje presidencial a la nación con una cita del célebre escritor francés Stendhal: “Adiós amigo, intenta no ocupar tu vida en odio y tener miedo”.

El nuevo presidente había reemplazado antes a la vicepresidenta Roxana Baldetti, quien renunció el 8 de mayo pasado tras una investigación de una estructura de corrupción en la autoridad recaudadora de impuestos.

Baldetti, quien enfrenta el proceso en prisión, y Pérez Molina, son señalados de encabezar al grupo criminal denominado “La Línea”, que desde el gobierno cometía contrabando y defraudación tributaria, con un daño al erario público estimado en unos 20 millones de dólares, según medios de comunicación locales.

Source:: Internacional

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Guatemala: Pres. Otto Pérez Molina Resigns, Jailed Amid Corruption Scandal

Guatemala: Pres. Otto Pérez Molina Resigns, Jailed Amid Corruption Scandal

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina has resigned from his post just days after he was stripped of his political immunity by the nation’s unicameral Congress of the Republic due to his implication in a vast corruption scheme involving illegal enrichment, bribes and links to criminal groups while Alejandro Maldonado was sworn in as the President of the Republic.

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