Jon Bruning announces legislation package, says he won't run for governor -
Published Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 2:58 am
Jon Bruning announces legislation package, says he won't run for governor

LINCOLN — Attorney General Jon Bruning unveiled his annual package of legislation Thursday, and emphatically stated that he has no plans to run for governor in 2014.

“I'm happy as I can be being the attorney general of the state of Nebraska,” Bruning said, when asked during a press conference. “Maybe this is where I belong.”

A year ago, Bruning, 43, the state's attorney general for the past 10 years, was the presumptive favorite to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

But then-State Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine surged to victory in the final weeks and went on to claim the seat for the GOP.

There has been speculation in recent weeks about who might run for governor after former State Sen. Mike Flood dropped out of the race when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Jon Bruning

Gov. Dave Heineman will vacate the post in 2014 because of term limits.

State Treasurer Don Stenberg, who was also an unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate last year, said recently that he's not running. And Thursday, former State Sen. Abbie Cornett of Bellevue said she's rejected suggestions that she run for governor.

On the Republican ticket, that leaves Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy as the only announced candidate.

Bruning hinted Thursday that he's likely to seek re-election as attorney general in 2014, but an announcement on that would come later.

His legislative proposals this year focus on added consumer protection from identity theft, making an attempt to disarm a police officer a felony crime, providing a tougher sentence for voluntary manslaughter, and prohibiting the state from direct investments in Iran.

Bruning said he did not introduce a bill to address the issue of juveniles sentenced to life sentences for murder because he expects tougher sledding in the Legislature's Judiciary Committee.

The committee's newest member, Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, has disagreed frequently with the Attorney General's Office's get-tough-on-crime initiatives. Chambers sat out four years because of term limits, then was re-elected in November to the north Omaha district he had served for 38 years.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last summer that giving young criminals mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Omaha Sen. Brad Ashford introduced a bill Thursday addressing the issue of juvenile life sentences, but he left blank a proposed minimum sentence.

Bruning also said that current state law makes no distinction between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Each carries up to a 20-year prison sentence.

The lack of a distinction, Bruning said, was pointed out as a problem in a recent Nebraska Supreme Court ruling.

“When you kill someone intentionally, you should be penalized accordingly,” he said.

His consumer protection bill would require businesses with records compromised by a computer hacker to report such security breaches to the Attorney General's Office, as is being done in 17 states already. Bruning said that will ensure customers are notified and provided ways to protect themselves and their funds from identity theft.

Contact the writer: 402-473-9584,

Contact the writer: 402-473-9584,

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Contact the writer: Paul Hammel    |   402-473-9584    |  

Paul covers state government and affiliated issues and helps coordinate the same.

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