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Copy Catters and Vote Deniers (updates)

We all hated when our little brothers or sisters would copy everything we did growing up. You know, when you started wearing the “Frankie Says” shirt, they had to go get one.  Well, turns out a few of our State Senators never grew out of their copy catting days.

These copy catting state senators represent the fringe of conservative ideology.  It’s one thing to be a fiscal conservative.  It’s a totally different thing to be on the fringe and to push those ideals in our unicameral.

Senators Christensen, Janssen and McCoy are all fringe-conservatives.  They each introduced a series of copy cat legislation that is generated by right-wing groups like ALEC, US Health Freedom Coalition and FAIR.  

Nebraska taxpayers do not take kindly when taxpayer dollars are wasted with these copy cat bills that are not generated in Nebraska and are not written by Nebraskans.  Lincoln Journal Star did an excellent editorial on one of Christensen’s fringe bills.

The group ALEC goes so far as to have guides with sample legislation for state legislators to help them “repeal ObamaCare,” and they hold lavish conferences to help “train” legislators and their staff on how to pass their copy cat bills.

The bills are just downright wrong, especially the “Voter ID” bill that Senator Janssen is pushing. Recent news stories and blogs have documented the well-planned strategy of getting these bills passed in time for the 2012 election cycle to decrease the impact of the growing youth vote.  The bills are not intended to “verify and strengthen” elections, they are meant to deny the right to vote.

Or, more plainly put by Rock the Vote, it’s an all out “war on voting.”

As someone who worked on the youth vote and civic engagement in various nonprofits for almost a decade, this bill represents the most egregious overreaches this legislative session.  Senator Janssen let his feelings know about young voters in the hearing for LB239 when he talked about the need for making it difficult to vote and how college students simply do not have a grasp on the issues.

We can only hope Christensen, Janssen and McCoy will take Frankie’s advice and relax, don’t do it… stop the copy catting and get to work writing bills that solve real problems we are facing, not fringe hysteria.

ACTION: If you want to take action against these bills, tell your Facebook friends, tweet about the bills and email/call the State Senators letting them know you do not want to see these bill go any further in our Unicameral. 

The Copy Catters and Vote Deniers


Senator Janssen
(cjanssen@leg.ne.gov, 402-471-2625, public FB page)

Janssen is best known for his Arizona copy cat bill on immigration (we won’t go into LB48 since word is in blogs and his local paper the bill is dead in committee).  He also pushed for the local Fremont ordinance requiring anyone that rents to prove they are a citizen and pay a rental license fee. That ordinance is being challenged in court and legal bills racking up on taxpayers backs.

LB239 is the “Voter ID” bill which essentially is a bill to suppress the youth vote and is being introduced in many states.  The bill would require Nebraskans to show a government-issued ID at the polling location.  Now, at face value, this does not sound like a bad idea. But not every eligible voter has a government issued ID.  Not everyone drives.  Think college kids who do not have a car, or elderly folks who do not drive anymore or someone who can’t afford a car.  The best estimate we have is about 100,000 voting-aged Nebraskans.  So, they would have to go buy an ID, costing them about $26.  That would then be considered a poll-tax and has already been found to be unconstitutional.  The big problem with Janssen’s bill, and he now knows it, is that he said the bill has a “zero fiscal note” meaning it would not cost the state any money.  The Nebraska DMV disagrees, and so would Indiana who just spent over $11 million to implement their “Voter ID” law.  The other problem is… well, there is no problem.  Sen. Janssen likes to say this bill is about voter fraud, and yet Nebraska has no widespread or even small spikes in voter fraud.  So the bill is in search of a problem.  Instead of pushing this forward, Sen. Janssen should seek out real problems from his district and solve those instead of inventing ones that only cause harm.

UPDATE LB239, 3/10/11: The committee decided to advance LB239 with an amendment that says anyone that does not have a drivers license or government issued ID will be issued a Voter ID card by their local county.  From what we understand, Janssen is NOT making this his “priority bill” which means the bill will just sit there and will not be voted on by the full Unicameral, essentially meaning this bill is dead.  We are watching this closely to see what next steps, if any, need to happen. OWH covers the changes in the bill.

LR21 is a “resolution” being pushed by fringe groups that would say to the federal government that Nebraska does not want to implement and thinks we do not have to implement the health care law.  The same resolution, essentially word for word, is being introduced in over a dozen states. 

UPDATE LR21, 3/9/11: No group testified in support of this resolution at the hearing. Several groups spoke in opposition.  Janssen has now asked his bill be “held in committee” because of the fluid nature of the bill legally on a national level.  What is strange is the “fluid nature” has been the case since day one of the health care bill, so what is really behind this quick about-face?  OWH covers the about face move by Janssen, but no one has yet been able to explain why the sudden move to back off from his fringe bill.

Senator Christensen (mchristensen@leg.ne.gov, 402-471-2805)

Christensen has been known to say some interesting things like his prayer list for a “thin, godly woman” or that he doesn’t think cars should run under 140 because he “just loves speed.”  

LB654, this copy cat bill is all about proving you are a citizen before you can be on the ballot running for US President or Vice President.  It’s a birther bill that is popping up all across the United States.

LB515, the “nullification” of the health care law is what this bill is all about and again is essentially word for word from other state’s bills.  This bill goes even a step further and says folks should be put in jail if they implement health reform law.  The Utah AG has already said the bill is unconstitutional, but that doesn’t stop Christensen from plowing ahead with his copy cat bill.
 

Senator McCoy (bmccoy@leg.ne.gov, 402-471-2885)

McCoy was a regular feature at Tea Party events during the discussions on health care reform in 2009 and 2010.  He continues his fringe Tea Party values in the legislation he introduces.

LB219 is a bill being pushed by the US Health Freedom Coalition in about a dozen states. The bill essentially takes away the responsibility of an individual to purchase health insurance.  This is a bad idea because individuals who do not have insurance wind up in ERs across our state furthering the financial burden on doctors and hospitals.  Most folks who do not have insurance want it, they just can not afford it.

UPDATE LB 219, 3/9/11: No group testified in support of this resolution at the hearing. Several groups spoke in opposition. McCoy has now asked his bill be “held in committee” because of the fluid nature of the bill legally on a national level.  What is strange is the fluid nature has been the case since day one of the health care bill, so what is really behind the quick about face?  OWH covers the about face move by McCoy, but no one has yet been able to explain why the sudden move to back off from his fringe bill.

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