Legislative Update

nebraska-state-capitol_smLast week was a busy week in the Nebraska Legislature as bill introduction finished up Wednesday, January 23.  Several significant bills that Appleseed sees as priorities were introduced, as well as other bills Appleseed has a great interest in.

ACA’s Medicaid program provides for a healthier Nebraska workforce and economy

LB 577 – Wednesday, Senator Kathy Campbell, along with 11 co-sponsors, introduced LB 577, which would implement the Affordable Care Act’s new Medicaid program in Nebraska.  It’s a good deal for our state and will grow the economy, with 100% federal funding through 2016 which will return $2.3 billion to Nebraska.  More importantly, it is the right thing do to. This program would allow at least 54,000 currently uninsured Nebraskans to get access to health care.

Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould made this statement in support of LB 577.

Appleseed will work hard to advocate for this bill during the session with a broad array of organizations and Nebraskans that support this common sense opportunity.

Pair of bills designed to increase stability for Nebraska families with children

Two bills introduced Wednesday would provide more adequate support for the basic needs of very low-income families with children and children who must be removed from their homes and placed in foster care because of abuse and neglect.

LB 508 – Senator Campbell introduced LB 508 that would incrementally increase the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) rate in Nebraska to a level that more adequate reflects what families need to meet their very basic needs.  This rate has not been adjusted since the last 1980s.

LB 530 – Senator Annette Dubas introduced LB 530, a bill which, among other things, increases the monthly stipend paid to foster parents for the support of children as recommended.

Appleseed’s Child Welfare Director Sarah Helvey made this statement in support of LB 508 and LB 530.

Other bills of interest

LB 518 – Wednesday, Senator Charlie Janssen introduced LB 518, which would repeal a law, passed just last year, that allows all low-income Nebraska children to receive prenatal health care services.

Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould made a statement strongly opposing this bill which would put the health of Nebraska children at risk.

Upcoming Hearings

Child Welfare

As bills begin to be scheduled to go before committee hearings, we will continue to update you on their progress.  Here are some upcoming hearings we are focusing on.

Appleseed will testify on three bills at a Health and Human Services Committee on January 31.  You can follow live updates of this hearing by following Appleseed on Twitter at @neappleseed.

LB 216 – Senator Amanda McGill’s bill, LB 216, would extend services and support to the age of 21 for young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood.

LB 265 – Senator Colby Coash’s LB 265 would enable children in foster care to be placed with a relative or family friend – known as a “kinship home” – without the foster parent being required to go through a time-consuming licensing process.  At the same time, the bill seeks to minimize barriers to licensure and provide assistance, including information, training and other resources, to encourage families to become licensed whenever possible.  Prioritizing the placement of children with kin is important to helping them maintain their cultural and familial connections and has been a key issue for Nebraska Appleseed for many years.

LB 269 – Introduced by Senator Kathy Campbell, LB 269 would, among other things, implement recommendations of recent child welfare reports that put into place additional accountability and oversight, seek to maximize federal child welfare funding, and minimize non-safety barriers to foster care licensing.

Stay up to date on Appleseed’s issues

You can keep up with all the exciting happenings at the Legislature by following Appleseed on our social media pages. Like our Facebook page and follow issues and legislative hearings in real-time on Appleseed’s Twitter feed.

Plus, stop by our Appleseed Blog for opinion pieces, informative updates, news stories, and videos of what we’re working on throughout 2013.

We will keep you updated on the latest bill introductions, hearings, and floor debate.  And, we’ll let you know how you can get involved and make your voice heard!

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