Last Wednesday the Legislature adjourned sine die, meaning the body has concluded its work for the session.
This year’s session introduced many new and unique challenges and opportunities. On top of normal business, senators also had to address how to allocate $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) coronavirus relief funds. The number of contentious issues on the floor plus the increasing use of the filibuster unfortunately meant that many priority bills didn’t receive adequate time for debate or a vote. Despite some obstacles and disappointments, we are proud of how hard our team, partners, and supporters worked to advance justice and opportunity for Nebraska families and communities, including on some key Appleseed priorities.
Wrapping up Appleseed’s 2022 legislative priorities
We’ve listed Appleseed’s priority bills that made it to the floor during this session below. Please call or email your senator to thank them for their vote or express disappointment on the position they took on the issue. You can find your senator here.
There are a few ways senators can vote on bills. The most common are “yes” or “no”, but senators can also be “present not voting” or “excused not voting.” If a senator is “present not voting” that means that senator was in the chamber when the vote was being taken but decided not to vote “yes” or “no” on the bill. If a senator is “excused not voting” that means the senator was not in the chamber when the vote was taking place and was excused from legislative activity at that point in the day. You can read more on the lawmaking process generally here.
Historic child welfare reform legislation that eliminates privatization
- LB1173, brought by the Health and Human Services Committee, is a comprehensive package of bills that ends Nebraska’s decade long, failed experiment with the privatization of its child welfare case management services; strengthens protections for youth in care receiving Social Security benefits (introduced by Senator Megan Hunt); and brings Treatment Foster Care (TFC) to Nebraska. TFC services provide youth with mental and behavioral health needs too great to safely remain in their home (but who do not need inpatient or residential levels of care) a placement that provides services and treatment in a home setting. This legislation was signed into law by the Governor. Find how your senator voted here.
Improving Medicaid re-entry enrollment and practices
- LB921, which included provisions of LB952 (introduced by Senator John Cavanaugh) requires Medicaid enrollment assistance for Nebraskans leaving correctional facilities. This bill will help Nebraskans reentering communities to connect to the health care they need to keep themselves and their communities healthy and safe. It is also an important step to ensure that all Nebraskans have access to quality, affordable health care, as prompt access to health care after reentry is essential. You can see how your senator voted here.
Critical rental assistance funds for families
- LB1073, introduced by Senator Justin Wayne and prioritized by Senator Matt Hansen, would have required Nebraska to accept federal funding for emergency rental assistance. Its passage would have meant that these federal funds could be used to help with rent and utility payments through 2025. Unfortunately, the Legislature failed to override the Governor’s veto of this bill by one vote. While Omaha and Lincoln can still receive up to $70 million of the federal rental assistance funds, rural Nebraskans are now left out. Find how your senator voted here.
Ending the lifetime SNAP ban for Nebraskans and their families
- LB121, introduced and prioritized by Senator Megan Hunt, would have lifted the lifetime ban on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for Nebraskans who were convicted of certain drug felonies and are reentering our communities. Current law specifically limits access to food for people reentering our communities after serving their debt to society – essentially double punishing people for the same crime. The Legislature unfortunately failed to advance the bill on select file, deciding to adjourn without a vote. This effectively killed the bill for the session. You can see how your senator voted for LB121 on general file.
Stay up to date on Appleseed’s issues
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We’ll let you know how you can take action to get involved and make your voice heard throughout the session!Want to support our work? Consider giving a donation today.