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Speed limit illustrates responsible compromise

Nebraska lawmakers handled the speed-limit issue responsibly through well-conducted debate and appropriate modifications to pending legislation.

The amended proposal would allow the Transportation Department to raise speed limits from 75 mph to 80 mph on Interstate 80 between Omaha and Lincoln, from 60 mph to 65 mph on stretches of two-lane highways and urban interstates and from 65 to 70 mph on four-lane expressways.

The legislative debate was constructive. Rural senators described how long-distance travel is necessary in much of Nebraska and said current speed limits on specific highways are frustrating for many residents. Some senators addressed safety concerns, including issues raised by bicyclists. The discussion about the Department of Transportation's methods for determining speed-limit changes offered reassurance that any increases will come about only after proper study and analysis.

In the end, a reasonable consensus developed, and the bill, properly adjusted, moved forward. It was a good illustration of how a responsibly conducted legislative process should work.

— Omaha World-Herald

Time to ease licensing requirements

Nebraska requires state licensing for about 200 professions. That compares to an average across the country of about 90 licensed professions per state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Last year, the Nebraska Unicameral reduced the requirements for several jobs, from car salesmen to hair braiders. This year, it is considering a bill that would reduce licensing requirements for horse massage therapists.

There are good reasons for many of the licenses required by the state. There are many professions for which the state must ensure that consumers will be dealing with people who are qualified for the jobs. Physicians and nurses must complete rigorous training and testing in order to offer their services.

But when the state has 200 jobs that require licensing, it's clear that there must be some for which the state is setting up unnecessary barriers.

— Grand Island Independent

Lowe must stand up for UNK

Kearney Sen. John Lowe and his legislative colleagues face a difficult decision.

The state has a funding gap of nearly $200 million. Gov. Pete Ricketts has proposed a 2 percent midyear cut of $11.4 million followed by a 4 percent $23.3 million cut next year for the University of Nebraska.

However, the Legislature's Appropriations Committee has floated a plan in which only 1 percent would be cut from the university's budget.

UNK already has eliminated three sports involving 56 student athletes and is reducing 38 staff positions to cut $3.4 million. Campus leaders warn additional cuts will harm the university in ways that will take years to recover.

If anyone understands UNK's economic importance and can speak in support of the campus, it's the lawmaker from Kearney.

— Kearney Hub


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