Legislative Update

Appleseed Food Bills we’re Watching in 2024

Each year, our Food and Nutrition Access team shows up at the Nebraska Legislature to advocate for bills that expand food access for some of the Nebraskans who need it most. With so many bills flying around this session, here are some of the bills we’re most excited about when it comes to keeping food on the table for Nebraskans.

SNAP Re-entry Bill (LB88):

Nebraskans need to meet their basic needs to successfully reintegrate into our communities. LB88, introduced in 2023 by Senator Hunt, would eliminate Nebraska’s lifetime ban on SNAP benefits for people with certain drug felony convictions after their release from prison. This bill not only ensures that Nebraskans have greater access to the resources they need to find stability after incarceration, but would also help reduce rates of recidivism and help address our prison overcrowding crisis. This bill had a hearing last year but has not yet been voted out of the HHS Committee. 

SNAP Restaurant Meals Program (LB920):

This bill would require the state to create a SNAP Restaurant Meals Program which would allow participating restaurants to sell hot, prepared food to elderly, disabled, or homeless SNAP participants, and their spouses using their EBT benefits. Introduced by Senator McKinney, this program expands access for vulnerable populations that experience barriers to cooking and meal preparation. This bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

❌ Eliminate SNAP Waiver Options and Mandatory E&T (LB1381): Hearing on 2/14

Introduced by Senator Hansen, this bill would prevent Nebraska from applying for waivers during economic downturns and implement unworkable new requirements for SNAP recipients. LB1381 would make it harder for Nebraskans to access SNAP when they need it and would reduce the state’s ability to be flexible with food aid during emergency situations like natural disasters. This bill is up for a public hearing on Wednesday, February 14, in front of the Health and Human Services Committee. 

Summer EBT Bills (LB952 and LB1291)

Introduced by Senator Day and Senator Conrad, respectively, both of these bills would require the state of Nebraska to participate in the Summer EBT program that would provide 150,000 Nebraska students who participate in free or reduced-price meals $18 million in benefits to purchase food during summer. LB952 has been prioritized by Senator Aguilar and had a successful hearing in front of the Health and Human Services Committee. It is currently awaiting a committee vote to move it on to general file. LB1291 has yet to be scheduled for a hearing. 

Community Eligibility Provision Maximization Act (LB285)

Introduced by Senator Walz, LB285 would require districts with very high eligibility for the Community Eligibility Provision to opt into the program and serve breakfast and lunch at no cost for all students. This bill was passed unanimously out of the Education Committee last year and is likely to appear before the whole Legislature on general file in the coming weeks.

Hunger-Free Schools Bills (LB99 and LB627):

For many kids, school meals are the most consistent, healthy food they receive as they learn and grow. LB99 and LB627 introduced by Senator Cavanaugh and Senator Bostar, respectively, would make school meals free to all students across the state, regardless of income. These bills had hearings last year but have not been passed out of the Education Committee.

Want to advocate for one of these bills? 
Call or email your senator today to find out where they stand on these bills. (Find your senator here.)

Last year, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB84 which maintained the increased SNAP income limit and helped 10,000+ Nebraskans stay on the program. This could not have happened without the significant support we saw from community members like you! If you have a personal story you’d like to share related to any of the bills mentioned above, we would love to connect. Reach out to mhamann@neappleseed.org to talk further about how you can advocate on these bills.

Learn about all of Appleseed’s Legislative activities in our weekly ‘Legislative Update’ emails by subscribing at neappleseed.org/subscribe. Sign up for the ‘Economic Justice’ list for all things food access. I’ll also be sharing updates as the legislative session continues and let you know when it’s time to act so that every Nebraskan has equitable access to nutritious food. You can also keep up with all the happenings at the Legislature by following Appleseed online. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Don’t miss out on our live updates on legislative hearings on Twitter.

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