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The Public Pulse: Troubling resolution; Georgia election law; Citizens' duty; Mask mandate

The Public Pulse: Troubling resolution; Georgia election law; Citizens' duty; Mask mandate

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Partisan preening

Considering all the important issues before the Unicameral, why are senators wasting their time on the kind of huffing and puffing that makes up LR 107?

The resolution lays out and supports the current pet issues of the national Republican Party, declaring that Nebraska is fiercely against any encroachment on religious freedom, gun rights, state-formulated election law, government ownership of public land, mandates regarding COVID vaccinations and so-called “federal overreach” in general — all stated in the kind of hysterical language that originated with Chicken Little. That’s bad enough in itself.

To make matters worse, in our 49-member, nonpartisan Unicameral, 30 senators who are registered Republicans signed on as cosponsors of the resolution; only one registered Democrat did.

When I was researching my books on the Unicameral, I was struck by how George Norris, father of the Unicameral, declared repeatedly that “the business of the state is in no sense partisan.” Nebraska voters bought that proposition and installed a nonpartisan legislature in 1934. Norris must be spinning in his grave to see so many of today’s senators turning their back on the idea.

The result of this kind of unified partisan posturing is to make Nebraska, which should give thanks daily for its effective and efficient nonpartisan legislature, look as hidebound as any other state. Furthermore, as a resolution, LR 107 has no binding impact, no actual meaning. It is good for nothing other than self-righteous, partisan preening.

Our senators need to set this aside as quickly as possible and get back to work on things that really matter to and for their constituents.

Charlyne Berens, Lincoln

Associate dean and professor emeritus, UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications

Preston Love wrong

It would have been nice if Preston Love had read the Georgia voter law and compared it to other states before he spoke up on it. As a respected community activist, he has even more responsibility to do so than most people.

That law allows no-excuse absentee voting, unlike many other states. Drop boxes had never been used before last year and were instituted as an emergency measure in response to the pandemic. This law now makes drop boxes permanently available in every county. They established a 17-day early voting period, including two Saturdays and the option of two Sundays. This is more than President Biden’s home state of Delaware, or Colorado, to which baseball moved their All-Star Game to protest the Georgia law.

Contrary to what he said, the law does not prevent the provision of food or water while in line to vote. It simply forbids advocacy groups, who may be soliciting votes, from doing so.

The requirement to have voter ID is supported by majorities of every group, including every race and political persuasion. In Georgia, this can be a driver’s license or the free voter ID, for which the state has mechanisms in place to assist people in acquiring.

If one reads the law, one discovers it is not about suppressing votes, it is about making sure every legal vote gets counted. If we are to successfully continue as a democratic republic, we must have confidence in the legality of the votes counted.

Randall Bradley, Papillion

Preston Love right

Once again Preston Love has written strongly and beautifully. I very much appreciate getting his knowledge and viewpoint on voter suppression.

What’s happening in some states both upsets me and makes angry. My sister and I were taught when we were growing up in the ‘60s’ that voting was a right and a responsibility. My husband and I taught our daughters the same thing and they live by it too.

I hope all folks who choose to take the right to vote do so responsibly and speak out for the freedom to do so. Thank you, Mr. Love.

Carol Sanderhoff, Omaha

Citizens’ duty

Lois Saunders’ Pulse letter requires a response. Ms. Saunders took issue with a previous letter from Richard Smiley in which Mr. Smiley pointed out that in many instances if the person in question had complied with police instructions, that person would not have been shot. Ms. Saunders went on to repeat the false claim that Breonna Taylor was “shot in her sleep in her own bed.” Breonna Taylor was shot while standing next to her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, in the hallway of her apartment. She was shot when the police returned fire after Mr. Walker opened fire first. It is worth noting that while the warrant was a no-knock warrant, the police did knock several times before breaking down the door. Mr. Walker confirmed this although he does dispute that the police identified themselves.

Ms. Saunders also mentions the Daunte Wright shooting and the George Floyd death. In both cases had the individuals not resisted arrest, the situations would not have escalated.

We cannot just pretend that the incidents occurred in a vacuum. Having said that, in both cases the officers made mistakes and should and will be prosecuted.

Ms. Saunders concludes her letter with a shot at people she describes as “those who have difficulty with the truth.” An odd ending given that Ms. Saunders’ grasp of the truth appears at least a little tenuous.

Jeff Levine, South Sioux City, Neb.

Extend the mandate

I got vaccinated to protect myself and my loved ones from COVID-19 and to enjoy freedom! It’s such a relief to feel free, for instance, to hug my vaccinated mom and dad and visit vaccinated friends face to face without so much worry.

I still mask up in public — especially indoors — because while my risk of catching or spreading COVID is much lower now, it isn’t zero, especially with so many people still unvaccinated. I hate being sick and would hate making my family sick even more!

That’s why I’m disappointed that the Omaha City Council is letting Omaha’s mask ordinance expire in June. While the COVID risk in Douglas County is down, it’s still high. (See the Douglas County Health Department’s online dial.) Many places that have relaxed COVID measures have suffered a new wave of infections, and I don’t want that.

The more Omahans are vaccinated, the safer and freer my family and I are. That’s true for your family, too, so if you’re not vaccinated yet, please make an appointment today! And if you have questions or doubts about the vaccines, please ask your doctor.

Curtis Bryant, Omaha

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