OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Critics say a Nebraska law that requires licenses for nearly 200 types of work is burdensome and unfair.

Speakers at a town hall gathering in Omaha on Tuesday said the law is holding back Nebraska's workforce by putting up barriers to work, the Omaha World-Herald reported . Speakers said some licenses are needed to protect public health and safety, but not all of them may be necessary.

The event was sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and the Platte Institute.

The Platte Institute said the rules limit entrepreneurship. The Nebraska ACLU said the rules disproportionately impact minorities, military families that frequently relocate, low-income individuals and people with a criminal history.

Many of the licenses have unnecessary rules about moral character, said Amy Miller, legal director for the ACLU of Nebraska. Some individuals with criminal backgrounds can't move forward in life even after having served time because their convictions follow them, she said.

The ACLU and the Platte Institute are supporting legislation that would create a review process for state licensing rules and boards. The legislation doesn't target specific licensing rules for elimination. It would allow those with criminal convictions to verify if they would be eligible for licensing before investing in professional training.

Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete is the bill's sponsor. She said her goal is to remove unreasonable barriers that stop people from working.

Fremont resident Dennis Grace said his misdemeanor conviction has stopped him for getting a work license in Nebraska. He could have received the license in his field in Iowa.

"It's not about erasing and getting rid of the licensing, it's about common sense," Grace said.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com