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More Reasons to Support Nebraska State Senator Laura Ebke!

I started out last week, perhaps feeling a bit radical, urging people around the country to support this Libertarian state senator from Nebraska, Laura Ebke and now there are more reasons to support her.

First, her seminal occupational licensing bill was signed by Governor Ricketts.  Here is the report from the Institute for Justice:

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signed the Occupational Board Reform Act on Monday afternoon, a landmark law that will systematically reduce the state’s burdensome and arbitrary licenses. Today, Nebraska has more than 170 different occupational licenses, which cover almost a quarter of the state’s workforce.

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Sponsored by Sen. Laura Ebke, the new law (LB 299) establishes a review process that will use a two-step process to review existing regulations. First, there must be “present, significant, and substantiated harms” that warrant government intervention. Second, if such a problem exists, the legislators must first consider a regulation that is the “least restrictive” and imposes the lowest burdens and costs while still protecting consumers from the harm.

Yet the Nebraska Governor seems threatened by Senator Ebke.  Here is a pro-Ebke and maybe pro-libertarian article by Patricia McConnell that I need to cite rather freely.  I start with a cite that I looked at from what I assume is Nebraska’s leading paper in the state capital (I would have trouble living in the Cornhusker State with a capital named after Abraham Lincoln) that impressed me.  Here is the cite from the Lincoln Journal Star and here is the fuller quote from McConnell’s article (I bolded the Journal Star quote):

On Sunday, summing up what had been a contentious 2018 Legislative Session in the state, the Lincoln Journal Star singled Ebke out for praise:

“Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete stood out this session as one who put a priority on finding compromise for more-controversial bills, such as a proposal for more transparency and accountability for the State Patrol and an occupational licensing bill.”

Ebke told the Journal Star, “Senators may not be paying enough attention to how to forge consensus and work with people on legislation. Working a bill and trying to find compromise is so important. You can’t just bully your way through on things.”

Three of Ebke’s bills were passed this session, which is a more than respectable total. One, a bill to reform occupational licensing laws in Nebraska, was praised in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal,  which called it a “reform that could be a national model.”.

But the governor is sending mailers against the senator and they are nasty and misleading:

Ricketts is pulling out the stops. In the last few days (at great expense) two sets of highly negative mailers were sent out to residents of Legislative District 32, twisting Ebke’s legislative record to portray her as unprincipled and as a friend of criminals.

The first mailer is an attack on the senator “switching” her party affiliation to Libertarian.  Now a clarification:  The one chamber legislature in Nebraska (called the Unicameral) is nominally non-partisan with open primary for senate seats with the top two going to the November election.  There are three candidates in this district and two of them are registered GOP.

Speaking to News Growl, Ebke cited this event as the issue that riles Ricketts about her the most.

“I suspect that I embarrassed him when I left the GOP,” she said. “After he called us out at the GOP State convention, I left. I don’t think he thought anyone would actually call his bluff. He thought it would just scare us into submission.”

Defying Ricketts and resigning from the Republican Party was an act of enormous political courage for Ebke. With millions of dollars at his disposal, and the organization of an establishment party behind him, Ricketts can focus enormous resources on negative campaigning against Ebke.

And he has.

The second one deals with criminal justice reform:

One mailer shows a shot of a man in a black hoodie holding a picture of Ebke with the words, “Laura Ebke: Siding with Criminals.”

As evidence it cites Ebke’s vote against the death penalty (even though this was about application of the law, not the penalty itself), a criminal justice reform law that reduced the use of mandatory sentences (but did not reduce the possible sentences themselves), and a bill to abolish Nebraska’s ridiculous Marijuana Tax. As marijuana is not legal in Nebraska no one pays tax on it, and yet the state spends money paying for marijuana tax stamps to be produced. The stamps are highly prized by collectors, not by marijuana dealers.

Is Nebraska about to become the Liechtenstein of US states?  Not hardly, the stamps start at $100 but maybe there could be some variations and denominations in the future!

This is really an attack on an independent-minded legislator who would be one of the first legislators elected as a Libertarian (technically the first one with the title “state senator”) and a sign to those wanting to be more independent:  Don’t cross the governor!

So I again encourage my Libertarian friends (I am not a LP member but it is tempting sometimes when bills like the latest spending bill or our Virginia House’s budget are approved by our side) to give money or even go to Nebraska to help Senator Laura Ebke.  This small win could be a rock slide that leads to a tsunami in the fall of liberty-minded victories!

And if she loses, the cause of liberty gets a huge set back.  So give up a 12 pack or couple gallons of CFA’s finest sweet tea for the cause!

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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