Should state offices be exempt from recalls?

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March 4th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, or any members of the state legislature, could be subject to recall, under a bill considered at the Capitol.

Sen. Pirsch says state officials should be subject to the same recall rules as local officials (Photo courtesy Nebraska Legislature)

Currently, any local officials, like city mayors, school board members, or county treasurers, can be subject to recall elections. But state offices are exempt.

“I don’t know why we would exempt ourselves out of the same paradigm that we think is good for locally elected officials,” said Senator Pete Pirsch of Omaha. He introduced a bill that would remove that exemption, making the governor, state treasurer or any state senator subject to recall if voters gathered enough signatures to put a recall election on the ballot. Pirsch said insulating state officials from the voters ultimately causes voter discontent.

Senator Paul Schumacher of Columbus said there is a reason state offices are exempt from recall rules. The state deals with more controversial issues, he said, that could be targeted by national groups.
“There’s no protection in what’s being proposed here from big money, big influence continually badgering an elected official who is attempting to do his or her job,” he said, “when an election is coming up anywhere in two to four years anyway.”

Pirsch testified before the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. No one spoke in opposition or support. The committee would need to advance the bill for debate by the full legislature. They took no action on it Friday.

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