Legislature cuts red tape

These are bad days if you're in the red tape business. That's because Nebraska lawmakers have declared war on red tape, and they've been cutting through it with a vengeance.

Last week, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced that he had signed LB77, a bill backed by the Real Property Appraiser Board that reduces the time needed to obtain appraiser credentials. The bill also reduces educational requirements from a post-secondary degree to a high school diploma or GED and authorizes residential credential holders to upgrade their credentials in a more streamlined manner.

Lawmakers voted 44-0 to pass LB77, as yet another successful effort to cut red tape. More specifically, LB77 is one of the recent efforts to bring down government barriers to acquiring certification for certain professions and the good-paying jobs that go with them.

Considering the excellent progress achieved so far, we can't imagine Nebraska legislators lifting their foot off the gas pedal.

- Kearney Hub

Passport a boon for Nebraska

Tourism brings major benefits to Nebraska. It's a $4.9 billion industry with more than 47,000 employees and tax-revenue generation of $705 million. Plus, Nebraska tourism is a statewide phenomenon — visitors enjoy the amenities and spend funds in communities large and small.

The Nebraska Passport program has proved a success in pointing to Nebraska's broad range of tourism options, incentivizing visits across the state. The program features 70 sites, which change annually.

Visitors collect a free Passport stamp at each site and vie for prizes (no purchase necessary). Last year, more than 50,000 travelers — from 418 Nebraska communities and 46 states — visited Nebraska locations to collect stamps.

The number of people visiting all 70 sites has steadily increased: 168 in 2016; 469 in 2017; and 749 in 2018.

"This program has grown year after year," said John Ricks, the Tourism Commission's executive director. "To have 749 people make it to every corner of Nebraska and to see participants from 46 states is absolutely remarkable."

- Omaha World-Herald

Don't pay college athletes

All this talk of paying athletes to play a game threatens the integrity of higher education. The world of higher education is one where you can't swing your tassel without hitting five administrators who are complaining about being underfunded.

Yet, we will find money to pay college athletes while everybody else's tuition continues to increase. Will anybody ever again believe college leaders when they say they're truly concerned about the cost of a college degree?

What will make the system fairer is if young phenoms are encouraged to enter professional basketball directly. It allows them to take advantage of more of their prime earning years. If you want to yell at someone, yell at the NBA and its age restrictions.

Proponents also argue that the real unfairness is that schools make so much money off these student-athletes, yet they don't get paid. But most student-athletes don't make any money for their schools.

Colleges should adopt a policy from the NBA — spending caps. Create a formula that determines how much schools of certain sizes and types can spend, with a bonus based on graduation rates and GPAs.

- Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World

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