Showing posts with label University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Show all posts

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spousal Benefits an Assault on Marriage--Doug Patton

I have a small plaque in my office that reads, "I wasn't born in Nebraska, but I get here as soon as I could." A native Iowan, I have now spent two thirdsof  the life the Lord has thus far granted me here in the Cornhusker state, andIhave generally not regretted my decision to move here to attend college, marry my bride and raise our family. I feel that way most days; other days, not so much.

One of my proudest moments in my adopted state was when my courageous friend Guyla Mills, then head of the Nebraska Family Council, led the successful petition drive to put Nebraska's Defense of Marriage Amendment on the ballot in the year 2000. My own name was also on the ballot that year in my one and only attempt to be elected to public office. I lost my race for the Nebraska State Legislature that year, but Nebraska families won a decisive victory as Initiative 416 passed with more than 70 percent of the vote. The amendment reads as follows:

"Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Nebraska. The uniting of two persons of the same sex in a civil union, domestic partnership or other similar same-sex relationship shall not be valid or recognized in Nebraska."

The homosexual lobby in particular — and the Left in general — have never gotten over the snit into which that second sentence in the amendment threw them. They have been huffing and puffing for more than a decade now about how "unconstitutional" it is — an argument whose validity has so far failed in the courts.

Meanwhile, the assault on traditional, monogamous, heterosexual marriage in Nebraska continues unabated, with the latest ambush coming from — where else? — academia. It seems that the powers that be at the University of Nebraska, including the presidents of all three campuses and the University Board of Regents, have decided that in order to be "competitive," the NU system simply must offer spousal benefits (i.e., health insurance) to the significant others of unmarried persons, including same-sex partners.

This news was announced to the public just last week. At a time when families are struggling to hold on to jobs, pay for their own health care and meet other obligations, Nebraskans are being told we must bear the cost of putting the boyfriends and girlfriends of university employees on NU's health insurance plan.

Having just joined the venerable Big Ten this year, money and prestige were supposed to flow into the system like milk and honey, both in athletics (especially football) and in research. Nebraska, we were told, should be honored to be invited into this lauded conference. Now, we are being told, we are the only school in the Big Ten that does not offer such benefits to unmarried couples. Shame on us for being such backward hicks!

The onslaught of propaganda for this change in policy is laughably contradictory. On the one hand, NU officials tell us, professors and researchers and other valuable academics are either leaving Nebraska or passing us by in favor of other schools because we do not offer this expensive perk. Then, in order to persuade us of the negligible costs of such a program, they provide figures such as this one: directly to our east, at the University of Iowa, a fellow Big Ten school, barely 100 couples utilize a similar program — out of 25,000 employees!

So which is it? Is this the deal-breaker we are being led to believe for so many in the academic community, or is it merely a benefit used by an insignificant fraction of employees, which will add little or no cost to our taxpayer-funded university health care coverage? You can't have it both ways.

What no one seems to be asking in this whole debate is whether this proposed policy is even legal. Given that the Nebraska State Constitution clearly forbids the recognition of any form of counterfeit marriage, including domestic partnerships and civil unions, then how can the state's public university system give spousal benefits to employees who are involved in just such arrangements?

Nebraska taxpayers await an answer to that question.
© 2011 by Doug Patton
Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself much more often than not. Now working as a freelance writer, his weekly columns of sage political analysis are published the world over by legions of discerning bloggers, courageous webmasters and open-minded newspaper editors. Astute supporters and inane detractors alike are encouraged to e-mail him with their pithy comments at

Monday, August 22, 2011

Daub to Run For Regent Position

Hal Daub announced moments ago that he would run for the Board of Regents' District 8 seat in 2012.    Given Hal's history of public service, his contacts nationally, his history and involvement with the university he will make one great regent.   

We were also pleased to note that Hal, who is noted for high cost campaigns, has decided to abide by the Nebraska Campaign Finance Law which means he intends to limit his spending to no more than $103,000.    Unless he is challenged by someone with deep pockets, that is all he will spend under the law unless State Attorney General Bruning rules the current law unconstitutional (which he should).   In the case Daub is challenged by someone with deep pockets and Bruning doesn't throw out the law, Daub will be eligible for state funding to the extent of his opponent's spending.

We're not sure why anyone would challenge Hal given his credentials and record of public service.   Certainly, Democrats and one guy in particular---Jim Suttle---should get on board in hope that Daub wins the seat and doesn't make another attempt to beat the current failed mayor!

Here's what Daub's press release said:

"Daub to Run for Board of Regents
Former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub announced today that he will be a candidate for the University of Nebraska Board of Regents in next year’s elections.

Daub said he will file for the District #8 seat, which includes much of the Omaha area. The seat is currently held by Randy Ferlic, who recently announced he will not seek a third term.

Daub, who also served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, said that the University system is critical to the entire State and the Omaha area in particular. He said he would be a strong advocate for UNO and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

“Continuing to offer a high quality education at an affordable cost to the youth of our state will be my top priority,” Daub said.

Daub is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law. “Since my days as a law student at Nebraska, I have known how important our higher education system is to the State. As Mayor, I worked closely with UNO and the Med Center, so I know how vital those institutions are to the Omaha economy,” he said.

Daub, 70, a Partner since 2001 in the law firm of Husch Blackwell LLP, has an active commercial business practice, is a member of the UNO Advisory Board, and served in the U.S. Army in Korea. He is married to the former Mary Wurdeman and has three grown children and five grandchildren. He was recently named Father of the Year by the American Diabetes Association. He is a fourth generation Nebraskan and a graduate of Benson High School. He currently serves on the Board of the Salvation Army, the Mid-America Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Autism Action Partnership, the National Board of Community Health Charities of America, and is a member of Optimists International."