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The broad legislative push for deregulation in Nebraska got a bipartisan — even tripartisan — nudge Tuesday from a variety of state senators, as the Platte Institute unveiled a study pegging the cost of state regulations on the private sector at $473.8 million annually.

Seven state senators, including Republicans and Democrats, along with Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete, the Legislature's sole Libertarian Party member, gathered in the Capitol Rotunda to support the deregulation effort during a news conference.

Ebke is the sponsor of a bill (LB299) that would require the Legislature to regularly review occupational licensing laws over a five-year cycle.

Sen. John Murante of Gretna, a Republican, has sponsored a proposal (LB948) at the request of Gov. Pete Ricketts that seeks to broadly reduce state agency rulemaking.

Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, a Democrat, is the sponsor of a measure (LB756) that would prohibit local ordinances that ban short-term residential rentals such as those provided through Airbnb.

Joining them in the Rotunda were Sens. Tony Vargas of Omaha, a Democrat, and Sens. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln, Dan Watermeier of Syracuse and Theresa Thibodeau of Omaha, all Republicans.

"The efforts of these senators from each party represented in the Unicameral shows that scrutinizing and cutting red tape is a nonpartisan issue that lowers barriers to economic growth and creates more pathways to a paycheck for hard-working Nebraskans," said Nicole Fox, director of government relations for the Platte Institute. 

"Beyond the obvious financial costs of compliance, excessive regulation also imposes a hidden tax from lost economic opportunities," she said.

"Over the years, more and more regulations have been added at the state and federal levels, which has increased the complexity and cost of doing business and has ultimately hindered Nebraska's economy," Platte policy director Sarah Curry said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or

On Twitter @LJSDon.


Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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