While declaring that the State of Nebraska has never been stronger, Gov. Jim Pillen used his first State of the State Address today to ramp up earlier talk of tax cuts and education spending, while weighing in for the first time since he was sworn in on abortion, a new state penitentiary, and money for the University of Nebraska.

[View Pillen's extended comments above] 

While not specifically announcing his support for a ban on abortions after six weeks, a push announced last week by several lawmakers backing the Nebraska Heartbeat Act (LB 626) Pillen clearly indicated his support of plans to make abortion illegal when a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Pillen also announced his support for a new state penitentiary, to replace what many insist is a dilapidated century-old facility in Lincoln.

Critics of a new penitentiary argue that criminal justice reforms, including letting some non-violent prisoners out early to offset major overcrowding, should occur before a new prison is built.

As for the University of Nebraska, while limiting state agencies to one-point-three percent budget increases, Pillen is pushing to limit state spending to NU to a two percent increase.

Following Pillen's announcement's Nebraska health care and human service providers issued the following statement:

The Governor’s budget proposal ignores the crisis that our state’s health and human services providers face as they care for Nebraskans. It ignores the financial realities of the increasing costs to provide care and ignores the lasting impact that the closure of essential services, due to financial burdenswill have on rural Nebraskans. Health care and human services are at a level of crisis we haven’t seen in generations. Much like other industries, our health and human services workforce is depleted. The costs to provide services have been compounded by wage pressures and caring for an aging population requires increased and advanced care. Investments in our state’s system of care will benefit all Nebraskans and the communities they live in. This budget jeopardizes the care that rural Nebraskans - especially our elderly Nebraskans and vulnerable families – have access to. We call on the legislature to step forward and ensure we do not continue to lose access to nursing home care, hospital care, primary health care, behavioral health care, dental services, child welfare providers, and care for developmentally disabled individuals as well as children in the child welfare system throughout Nebraska.”