November 14: Omaha Town Hall on Nebraska Job Licensing
Platte Institute, ACLU, and Senator Laura Ebke Partner to Promote Reforms
Omaha Town Hall
OMAHA, NE – The Platte Institute is partnering with the ACLU of Nebraska and Nebraska state Sen. Laura Ebke for a series of town halls on ways to streamline Nebraska’s occupational licensing laws.
Nebraskans currently need government permission to enter nearly 200 professions, which affect job opportunities for about 1 in 4 workers.
A town hall will be held in Omaha, Nebraska, at Metropolitan Community College, South Omaha Campus Industrial Training Center, Room 120, (2909 Edward Babe Gomez Ave. Omaha, NE 68107) on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 from 6-7 p.m. An event flyer is attached and free registration is being taken at omahatownhall.eventbrite.com.
Speakers from each organization will highlight the economic and civil liberties impact of the state’s current job licensing requirements, which are often overseen by state boards made up of more established industry participants.
“People see the Platte Institute and the ACLU of Nebraska as being on different sides of the aisle,” said Jim Vokal, Chief Executive Officer of the Platte Institute.
“But cutting red tape to better job opportunities is such an important and uniting issue for the future of our state, that both of our teams want to save disagreements for another day, and stand together to reform how the State of Nebraska licenses people to work,” said Vokal.
In March, the Federal Trade Commission noted in a letter to Nebraska state senators that “Recent studies strongly suggest that the burdens of excessive occupational licensing fall disproportionately on the most economically disadvantaged citizens.” Nebraska is also one of 29 states where a criminal record can disqualify a worker from earning a professional license, making it harder for those leaving the criminal justice system to return to a productive life.
FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen also addressed a Lincoln crowd on the subject of occupational licensing reform in September. A video of Ohlhausen’s remarks is available here and may be used for broadcast.
The town halls, entitled “Barriers to Better Jobs: How Job Licensing in Nebraska is Hurting Workers and the Economy,” will focus on state Legislative Bill 299, which was introduced in the 2017 session by Sen. Laura Ebke, but remains in the Legislature’s Government Committee.
“When government regulations prevent people from having good jobs and businesses from growing in Nebraska, government should find a way to rein things in,” said Ebke. “This bill is among my top legislative priorities and I’m excited to have conversations with Nebraskans about how we can work together to grow jobs and remove regulations that are hurting Nebraska families.”
LB299 would create a regular review process of state licensing and licensing boards, reviewing all job licensing rules on the books over a 5-year cycle. The bill would also enable ex-offenders to receive verification of their eligibility to be licensed from boards prior to entering professional training.
“Nebraska’s system of mass incarceration, combined with our burdensome licensing structure, hurts Nebraska's workforce and our economy, particularly communities of color and low-income Nebraskans,” said Danielle Conrad, Executive Director. “For someone with a criminal conviction to be a productive member of our community, they need to be able to fully participate in our economy and workforce. Nebraska’s existing professional licensing structure is full of potential barriers for those who have paid their debt to society. Removing those barriers will help more Nebraskans secure good jobs which not only helps them and their families, but supports our economy while reducing recidivism.”
Here are more details about the upcoming town hall in Omaha:
Barriers to Better Jobs: Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 6-7 p.m.
Metropolitan Community College, South Omaha Campus Industrial Training Center, Room 120
2909 Edward Babe Gomez Ave. Omaha, NE 68107
State Sen. Laura Ebke
Amy Miller, Legal Director, ACLU of Nebraska
Nicole Fox, Government Relations Director, Platte Institute
Register at http://omahatownhall.eventbrite.com
NOTE: The town hall is open to the public and media. Free food and refreshments will be provided.
The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska.