Video: Platte Institute presents awards for economic freedom
VIDEO NEWS RELEASE from the Platte Institute
Contact: Adam Weinberg
Platte Institute presents awards for economic freedom
Nebraska state senator, Omaha-area entrepreneur honored
OMAHA, NE – At Thursday’s Virtual Legislative Summit, Platte Institute Chief Executive Officer Jim Vokal announced the winners of two annual awards recognizing Nebraskans advancing economic freedom.
“The Platte Institute is always striving to recognize and encourage efforts to remove barriers for Nebraskans through the legislative process,” said Jim Vokal.
“We are grateful to have two deserving honorees this year, who represent the many unsung heroes among grassroots Nebraskans, and our policy leaders who bring constituents together in support of their shared values,” said Vokal.
The winner of the 2020 Connie Brown Freedom Award is Marc Nda (Nn-Da). A video of Nda’s award presentation is available here and a photo is attached. Nda, of Bennington, is the owner of Omaha and Lincoln-based Dignity Home Care. Nda became Nebraska’s leading advocate for ending the state’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity law for intrastate transportation services, also known as the Competitor’s Veto.
This type of law earned that name among policy experts because it allows existing transportation companies to protest and effectively deny the applications of new entrants to the marketplace at a trial-like hearing of the Nebraska Public Service Commission. Nda’s company was denied the opportunity to provide non-emergency medical transportation services for seniors and patients under his care.
“They choose who can be in business and who cannot be in business,” Nda said in his acceptance speech. “Nobody should go through this in order to get a license.”
Nda’s experience led him to advocate for a bill to end the Competitor’s Veto. While the Legislature passed a bill this year that ends the hearing process for moving companies, other prospective transportation providers like Nda are still subject to the Competitor’s Veto. Nda is now the plaintiff in a constitutional challenge of the law in Lancaster County Court. He is represented by the Institute for Justice.
“This policy was egregious from the beginning, but it seems especially hard to justify in this pandemic, when seniors and vulnerable people need help with their daily tasks more than ever,” said Jim Vokal.
“Marc did not have to give of himself to speak out against this law. He’s a busy man who already does a great deal for our community through his company and his charitable activities. But his effort to end the Competitor’s Veto has become a matter of principle for him,” said Vokal.
The Connie Brown Freedom Award was established in 2015 following the untimely passing of Connie Brown, a dedicated and passionate Platte Institute volunteer. It is presented each year at the Platte Institute Legislative Summit to a Nebraskan who is taking action to remove barriers to economic opportunity in the state.
Nebraska state Sen. Sue Crawford is the winner of the Platte Institute’s inaugural Legislative Achievement Award. A video of Crawford’s award presentation is available here and a legislative photo is attached. The Legislative Achievement Award recognizes policy leaders who are making a positive difference for Nebraskans.
Crawford represents Legislative District 45 in the Bellevue area. In 2019, Crawford was the sponsor of Legislative Bill 304, which expanded Nebraska’s cottage food law, the law allowing home bakers and other food entrepreneurs to sell many homemade food items that are not time/temperature controlled for food safety.
In her acceptance speech, Crawford told the story of Barbara, a home baker who supported LB304, because the legislation would help her earn income from home while caring for a family member.
“I’m glad that Barbara now has the ability to bake from her home, so she can be home to care for her loved one, and that so many across the state can pursue their passion and add to their incomes,” said Crawford.
“I also look forward to what new, larger businesses may crop up from successful cottage food start-ups,” said Crawford.
Previously, Nebraska cottage food operators could only sell their products at farmers markets. Under LB304, operators can sell products direct to consumers from home and through online sales without any limit on their annual earnings.
To comply with the law, producers must register with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, take a food safety course, and disclaim to customers that their food is not produced in a commercially inspected kitchen. Operators who use well water must also have their wells inspected.
As of September, more than 200 cottage food producers have registered with the Department of Agriculture.
“Senator Crawford’s forward-looking legislation has helped more Nebraska small businesses get their start in the food industry in an extraordinarily challenging time,” said Vokal.
“Legislation to expand the cottage food law in Nebraska has not always experienced smooth sailing, and Sen. Crawford’s persistent leadership made the difference in advancing the bill through the Agriculture Committee and winning unanimous approval in the Legislature,” said Vokal.
For more information, please contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 500-0209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. More media resources are available at PlatteInstitute.org/Media.