The World-Herald’s Statehouse reporters round up news highlights from the Legislature and state government into the Capitol Digest — a daily briefing for the political newshound with a busy schedule.

OPS pension. Nebraska lawmakers passed a bill Friday that could lead to the state taking over management of the troubled Omaha Public Schools pension system.

Legislative Bill 31 requires state retirement officials to analyze the steps needed to make such a move. The bill also requires a study comparing current management costs to the cost of having the state manage the pension plan.

State Sen. Mark Kolterman of Seward, chairman of the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee, introduced the measure, which passed 47-0.

During debate, he told colleagues that the bill does not propose merging the OPS pension plan with the state’s retirement plan for school employees. Nor would the bill require the state to pick up any liability for the OPS plan’s $771 million funding shortfall.

OPS would pay the estimated $140,000 cost of creating the work plan, which would be due to the Legislature by June 30, 2020.

A recent series in The World-Herald revealed mismanagement and mistakes by the pension fund’s trustees that produced hundreds of millions of dollars in losses over the past decade. The Justice Department has since launched an inquiry related to the OPS pension fund.

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The shortfall has forced the district to slash its budget to make the extra payments required to start shoring up the fund.

The OPS plan already gave up some of its independence. The State Investment Council took over the job of investing OPS pension funds in 2016.

Lottery odds. Lottery game advertisements would have to disclose the odds of winning the top prize under a bill passed 45-0 on Friday by the Legislature.

LB 252, introduced by Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln, would require the information to be printed in a font at least 35% as large as the largest font used in the advertisement.

The odds of winning the $150 million top prize in Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot were 1 in 292,201,338. In contrast, the odds of winning the $600 Nebraska Pick 3 top prize are 1 in 1,000.

Capitol Digest reporters photo xcapitoldigest capitoldigest

From left, World-Herald legislative reporters Martha Stoddard, Paul Hammel and Aaron Hegarty.

Martha Stoddard keeps legislators honest from The World-Herald's Lincoln bureau, where she covers news from the State Capitol. Follow her on Twitter @StoddardOWH. Phone: 402-473-9583.

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