A bill to review Nebraska’s job licensing laws and to provide workers with conviction histories an assessment of their eligibility for job licensing earned first round approval following an amendment that addressed concerns from senators, state licensing boards, and legislative staff.
LB299 was adopted with 31 votes in support and no opposition votes. Several senators stated on the floor of the Legislature that they would not vote for or against the bill on this round in hopes of seeing some other amendments to the bill’s language in the second round of debate. Though no filibuster of the bill occurred during today’s debate, 33 of the 49 senators must vote to cease debate on the amendments and the bill should it occur in the second or third round.
LB299 has received support from advocacy groups with a wide variety of views, including the Platte Institute, the Institute for Justice, the ACLU of Nebraska, and Nebraska Appleseed.
The bill requires the Legislature to regularly review occupational licensing laws for less restrictive alternatives over a five-year cycle, which may include private certification, registration, insurance or bonding requirements, inspections, open market competition, or a combination of these approaches.
The bill has earned tripartisan support in the Legislature, with Ebke, a registered Libertarian, Sens. John McCollister, Tom Brewer, Dan Watermeier, Mark Kolterman, John Stinner, and Brett Lindstrom, Tom Briese, and John Lowe representing Republican cosponsors, and Democratic Sen. Justin Wayne also cosponsoring the legislation.
New polls taken across eight Nebraska legislative districts also show that 62 percent of voters support the licensing review policy behind LB299, including 67 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of Democrats, and 60 percent of Independents.
“LB299 is one of the Platte Institute’s top priorities in the 2018 legislative session, because it will help give power back to Nebraskans to cut the hidden tax of red tape that is creating barriers for working people across our state,” said Jim Vokal, Chief Executive Officer of the Platte Institute.
“Advancing this legislation is just the first of many steps, but with a new framework for making sure our job licensing laws really serve the public interest, Nebraska can make great economic progress in the years ahead,” Vokal said.