Legislative Update

Legislative Session 2024: Food Bill Recap

The 2024 Nebraska Legislative session ended April 18 with 370 bills passed and hundreds of others that did not. Food access-related legislation was received positively with at least one big win (Summer EBT)! Bills that did not pass, no matter how far they made it through the legislative process, must be reintroduced in future legislative sessions and start through the process again. See below for a short food bill recap:

Summer EBT Bill (LB952)

  • This bill would have required 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. Strong bipartisan support convinced Governor Pillen to change his mind and accept this program for summer 2024! In the end, the bill was not needed which we count as a HUGE WIN!!

PASSED! (Support)
Ban School Districts from Using Collections Agencies for Meal Debt (LB855)

  • This bill bans Nebraska school districts from using debt collections agencies to collect unpaid school meal debt. It was rolled into LB1329 and passed! This is a big win for kids and caregivers who sometimes can’t afford school meals.

DID NOT PASS (Support)
Community Eligibility Provision Maximization Act (LB285)

  • This bill would have required school districts with 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 actually passed general file 33-10 but was held up by concerns about its impact on state poverty funding within the overall school funding formula. Because of this, the bill was not heard on select file and did not pass.

DID NOT PASS (Support)
Hunger-Free Schools Bills (LB99 and LB627)

  • These bills would make school meals free to all students across the state, regardless of income. These bills had strong hearings last year but did not pass out of the Education Committee, likely due to the $55M annual cost.

Eliminate SNAP Waiver Options and Mandatory E&T (LB1381):

  • This bill would have prevented Nebraska from applying for SNAP work waivers during economic downturns and implement unworkable new requirements for SNAP recipients. With strong opposition from impacted community members and advocates, this bill was not voted out of the HHS Committee.

DID NOT PASS (Support)
SNAP Re-entry (LB88):

  • This bill would have eliminated Nebraska’s lifetime ban on SNAP benefits for people with certain drug felony convictions. Although this bill had positive press and a strong hearing last year, the bill was not voted out of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. 

DID NOT PASS (Support)
SNAP Restaurant Meals Program (LB920):

  • This bill would have required Nebraska 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. This bill had strong community support but was not voted out of the HHS Committee.

Thank you so much for your advocacy to support positive food access bills and stop bad ones! Because of you and thousands of others like you, more families are able to put food on the table. 

Our food access advocacy doesn’t start and stop with the Nebraska legislative session. Stay tuned for more opportunities to get involved in the future!

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