NEWS RELEASE from the Platte Institute
Photo of Sen. Laura Ebke
Contact: Adam Weinberg
Laura Ebke to Join Platte Institute Staff in 2019
Role Focuses on Reforms Sponsored as Senator
OMAHA, NE – Outgoing Nebraska state Sen. Laura Ebke will join the staff of the Platte Institute beginning in January 2019 as its new Senior Fellow for Job Licensing Reform.
The Crete-area senator, who championed a new law to review Nebraska's nearly 200 job licenses, will lead a Platte Institute project to educate policymakers and workers about the law’s upcoming implementation. Legislative Bill 299, also known as the Occupational Board Reform Act, requires legislative committees to review 20 percent of the job licenses under their jurisdiction each year, in a continuous five-year cycle.
"One of the highlights of my time in the Legislature was working with my colleagues in a truly nonpartisan fashion to pass LB299. The law is considered by many to be a national model for job licensing reform," said Sen. Ebke.
"But that model is only as good as its implementation. If the Legislature sets a good example with LB299, it will not only help Nebraskans create more and better jobs and businesses, but it can inspire other states to reform their excessive job licensing laws," said Ebke.
The objective of the LB299 review process is to identify when less restrictive regulations, such as certification, registration, or inspection, can address the consumer and worker protection concerns of a profession without resorting to state licensing.
In a March 2017 letter to Nebraska state senators, staff from the Federal Trade Commission, a government agency responsible for consumer protection, commented that “many occupations often are subject to licensing requirements that are unmoored from legitimate health, safety, or similar public policy objectives,” and that “policymakers should be skeptical of claims that licensing is necessary to protect the public from some perceived ill, especially when looking beyond the small subset of occupations where licensing has a clearly identified and appropriately grounded public policy rationale.”
A video with comments on this topic from former FTC Chair Maureen K. Ohlhausen may be viewed here and can be downloaded for rebroadcast.
Job licensing reform is a nationwide economic concern that has attracted support from leaders in all parties. The Obama administration identified the issue as an area ripe for reform in a 2015 White House report. And, unlike many other policy areas, job licensing reform has remained a priority under the Trump administration.
The first year of the LB299 review in Nebraska will begin in July 2019. As Nebraska makes progress with the new law, the Platte Institute’s job licensing project will report on developments in Nebraska and share the outcomes with policymakers in other states.
As one example, Sen. Ebke will join Sen. John McCollister and Platte Institute Communications and Outreach Director Adam Weinberg this week in Clearwater, Florida, for a panel on bipartisan support for job licensing reform at an upcoming meeting hosted by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In addition to her service in the Nebraska Legislature, Laura Ebke holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and previously served for twelve years on the Crete Public Schools Board of Education.
"Laura Ebke is an exceptionally qualified leader for the Platte Institute’s campaign to review and reform Nebraska’s job licensing laws,” said Jim Vokal, Chief Executive Officer of the Platte Institute.
“As a state senator, Laura earned the respect of her colleagues in every party with her pragmatic and collaborative approach to lawmaking. As the introducer of LB299, she will be an excellent resource for Nebraskans, both inside and outside the Capitol, as the Unicameral moves ahead with its first review of our job licensing laws,” said Vokal.
To schedule an interview with Sen. Ebke or Platte Institute staff on this story, please contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 452-3737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. To learn more about the Platte Institute’s work on job licensing reform, visit PlatteInstitute.org/Jobs. For more media resources, please visit PlatteInstitute.org/Media.