Center for Rural Affairs Applauds Legislative Vote on LB 947

Last week, Governor Ricketts vetoed LB 947, which would allow young Nebraskans who were brought here as children and call this state home to hold professional and occupational licenses.

LB 947 is a crucial step forward for Nebraska, and for rural and small-town Nebraska in particular. It will allow young people who have been granted lawful presence in the U.S. by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive action taken by President Obama to acquire licenses to work in Nebraska.

Enactment of LB 947 will enable these Nebraskans to hold licenses to build our workforce of teachers, nurses, electricians, engineers, and other occupations they have trained for. And it will reward ambitious and hardworking young people that employers are looking for and that Nebraska needs to grow our economy – in the cities and on our small-town mainstreets. Without LB 947, Nebraskans with valuable skills, talents and experience would have had to leave the state to find work.

photo of applause in the Nebraska legislative chamberOn April 20, after a tense, two-hour debate, Nebraska senators voted 31 to 13 to override the veto of LB 947, one vote more than the 30 required to enact the bill over the Governor’s objections. We applaud the vote of the 31 senators who stood up for fairness and for stronger communities and stronger local economies here in Nebraska.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, more than 100 young immigrants in the Unicameral balcony applauded the override vote (see top image). We applaud the vote too, and we applaud those young Nebraskans and many more who spoke out on this issue.

“We live in a very competitive world and Nebraska would have struggled to attract new companies and employers due to the lack of workforce without this legislation. Existing companies who are looking to expand could have also moved their operations out of state for the same reason,” commented Juan E. Sandoval, Director of the Center for Rural Affairs’ REAP Latino Business Center.

LB947 will help create stronger Nebraska communities and economies by allowing young professionals that have lived in these communities for years to work and support their community.  These are individuals who received their training from Nebraska schools and Nebraska universities.

They can build businesses that contribute to the economic development and well-being of our small towns, and continue to give back to their communities. And now, with this vote and the enactment of LB 947, they will be given that chance.

Senator Ernie Chambers said during the debate on the override vote, “Do what is just, decent, and humane.” He’s right, and that's what the Unicameral did. They also helped create a better future for these young Nebraskans, and for the cities and small towns they live in.

Feature image: The gallery applauds the Legislature for passing LB947, and, above, senators stand to return the applause. Photo courtesy of @neappleseed twitter feed.