A state lawmaker wants to require the purchase and use of American-made iron, steel and manufactured goods by Nebraska state agencies.

Omaha Sen. Heath Mello introduced a measure (LB923) Tuesday based upon concepts proposed by the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a coalition of American manufacturing companies and the United Steelworkers.

The "Nebraska Buy American Act" would require that public works contracts by state agencies contain provisions that the manufactured goods used or supplied in performance of the contract be made in the United States. The act would not apply if American-made goods were not available in sufficient quantity or if the purchase of American-made goods would increase the cost of a contract by more than 10 percent.

"In addition to helping our existing Nebraska manufacturers, these 'Buy American' provisions will help encourage American manufacturers to keep jobs in the United States," Mello said.

Recent public opinion research conducted by the Alliance for American Manufacturing shows strong bi-partisan support for using American-made goods when taxpayer dollars are being used, Mello said.

Also introduced Tuesday was a bill that would give the state full authority to create a uniform employment discrimination policy.

Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha said his bill (LB912) ensures that businesses will follow statewide rules and not be subjected to piecemeal regulations made by cities or counties.

McCoy said people in one city deserve the same protection under the law as those working in another city. The senator said Nebraska has a history of creating consistent standards.

He pointed to concealed weapons permits and smoking bans, which were once regulated by cities and counties and are now under state jurisdiction.

Reach Kevin O'Hanlon at 402-473-2682 or kohanlon@journalstar.com. The Associated Press contributed to this story. 


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