Gov. Pete Ricketts on Monday vetoed redistricting reform legislation designed to distance state senators from the politically volatile process of drawing new congressional and legislative districts following each U.S. census. His veto sets the stage for a day of confrontation in the Legislature on Wednesday, its 60th and final day in session this year. Already on the agenda is a motion to override the governor’s veto of a bill (LB947) to allow young undocumented immigrants who have been granted lawful presence in the United States to acquire professional and commercial licenses to work in Nebraska. In advance of that battle, the Lincoln, Greater Omaha and Nebraska chambers of commerce urged state senators to override Ricketts’ veto, arguing that the bill “makes economic sense … at a time when Nebraska is working hard to attract more skilled, educated workers.”
“Giving people who have been educated in our state and who have earned advanced degrees and certificates the ability to work is in the long-term interest of Nebraska’s economy and communities,” the chambers said in a joint statement.
The 28,000-member Nebraska State Education Association also encouraged senators to override the veto, suggesting that “our state’s future is brighter when we allow hard-working young people to follow their career dreams and practice their chosen professions right here in our state.”
In announcing Monday’s veto of the redistricting reform bill (LB580), the governor said a proposed new citizens commission would be “highly likely to be (composed of) party insiders who know how to draw districts to favor their friends and political allies,” opening the process to “political cronyism.”