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Gov. Pete Ricketts on Monday suggested that Nebraska public school leaders should ignore an Obama administration directive urging them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identities.

The policy pronouncement is "basically an opinion (that) does not have the authority of law," Ricketts said during his monthly statewide call-in radio broadcast.

Schools should "reject this bullying by the Obama administration," the governor said.

Ricketts' pronouncement followed on the heels of a resolution adopted by the Republican state convention on Saturday that encourages the Legislature to restrict the use of public restrooms based on biological gender at birth.

The administrative directive issued by the Department of Education and the Justice Department proposes guidelines to ensure that transgender students "enjoy a supportive and non-discriminatory school environment."

Ricketts said the Obama administration should concentrate more of its attention on "growing jobs and creating opportunities for American families."

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On a separate issue, he told a caller he would be open to consideration of a "stand-your-ground law" in Nebraska. Such state laws generally remove the duty to retreat before using what could be deadly force in what may be viewed as self-defense.

"I agree with the principle (of) defending property and family," the governor said.

Asked about his meeting with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at an Omaha rally earlier this month, Ricketts said he endorsed Trump at the event because "we've got to have party unity."

Ricketts told the caller Trump was "very charming personally."

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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