News and Events from Nebraska Appleseed – February 2013

In this February edition of “Appleseed in Action”

  • A busy start to the 2013 legislative session
  • Take Action: Oppose regressive tax proposals
  • Appleseed responds to State of the State Address
  • A roadmap to citizenship for aspiring Americans
  • New reports show struggles for working families
  • “Precious Knowledge” screening

A busy start to the 2013 Legislative session

Three weeks into the 2013 Nebraska Legislature session, all bills have been introduced, including a number that are directly related to Appleseed’s priorities.

Health Care

LB 577 – Introduced by Senator Kathy Campbell, LB 577 would implement the Affordable Care Act’s new Medicaid program in Nebraska and offer new health care coverage to at least 54,000 uninsured low-income Nebraskans.  Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould made this statement in support of LB 577, and we 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.

Read Appleseed’s fact sheet about the new Medicaid program

Child Welfare

A number of bills have been introduced that address solutions to our state’s child welfare system.  Appleseed will be testifying in support of the following bills.

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.

January 31, Appleseed joined members of Project Everlast, Mary Fraser Meints of Youth Emergency Services, and Senator Amanda McGill for a press conference in support of LB 216 – the Young Adult Voluntary Services and Support Act.

Appleseed Child Welfare Director Sarah Helvey opens January 31 press conference on LB 216:

Read Appleseed’s fact sheet and watch Appleseed’s testimony to the Health and Human Services Committee on LB 216.

LB 508 – Senator Campbell introduced LB 508 that would incrementally increase the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) maximum payment rate in Nebraska to a level that more adequately reflects what families need to meet their very basic needs.

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

Economic Justice

LB 309 – A bill introduced by Senator Kate Bolz that would simplify the delivery of public benefits in Nebraska, in effort to improve the ACCESS Nebraska system for clients and workers.

LB 330 – A bill introduced by Senator Sara Howard which raises gross income eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This would allow more families to take a job, or a wage raise, without losing the help they need to put food on the table.

LB 177 and LB 560– Two bills introduced respectively by Senator Jim Smith and Senator Health Mello that would strengthen Nebraska’s wage theft enforcement laws.

Watch video of Appleseed’s testimony in support of LB 177 and LB 560.

You can keep up with all the exciting happenings at the legislature, including bill introductions, hearings, and floor debate by signing up for Appleseed’s legislative update email list.

Also, follow Appleseed on our social media pages for timely updates and stories. Like our Facebook page and follow issues and legislative hearings in real-time on Appleseed’s Twitter feed.


Take Action: Oppose regressive tax proposals

Take-ActionToday and Thursday, the Nebraska Legislature’s Revenue Committee will hold hearings on two regressive tax bills, LB 405 and LB 406.  Your senator needs to hear from you!

Nebraska Appleseed opposes LB 405 and LB 406 because they would result in a regressive tax structure that puts Nebraska’s “Good Life” at risk.  These bills shift taxes to working and middle-income families, increasing taxes for an estimated 80 percent of Nebraskans.  At the same time, the proposals would deplete our state’s general fund, which jeopardizes funding for our schools, healthcare, and our local communities.

Please call or email your state senator today and urge them to oppose LB 405 and LB 406.

Find your state senator online.

Tell them the legislature should invest in our communities, strengthen our state’s future, and preserve the high quality of life Nebraskans work so hard for.


Appleseed responds to State of the State Address

On January 15, Governor Heineman delivered his State of the State Address, in which he laid out his priorities for the coming year.  Most of the address centered on the Governor’s plan to eliminate state personal income and corporate taxes.

Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould issued this response to the State of the State Address.

Appleseed feels with the Nebraska economy on solid footing, it is time to take steps to strengthen the future of our state by restoring funding to key priorities for the state, like our schools, access to health care, and our local governments.  By investing in our communities, we can preserve the high quality of life Nebraskans work so hard for.

Hear audio of Appleseed’s Jennifer Carter speak about our state budget reflecting our state’s priorities at a January 14 press conference.


Appleseed welcomes focus on citizenship and momentum for immigration reform

DSCF1867_sm-150x150January 28 and 29 brought major announcements on immigration from a bipartisan group of Senators and President Obama.  Momentum has never been stronger for immigration reform.

Darcy Tromanhauser, Director of Appleseed’s Immigrants and Communities program made this statement in response to the new immigration reform plans.

Click here to learn how you can take action on creating a clear roadmap to citizenship!

Watch President Obama’s full speech on immigration reform on January 29.


Report discusses how Nebraska’s working families are strengthened by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Pages-from-Policies-that-work-(SNAP)-reportA new Nebraska Appleseed report released January 30 shows how Nebraska’s working families are strengthened by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Policies That Work: How the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Can Help Working Families,” provides an overview of the challenges many working Nebraska families face to pay for their basic needs, and illustrates how policy change to allow greater access to SNAP can improve the well being of low-income working families

The report shows specifically how SNAP has been effective for many:

  • It helps more than 174,000 people have access to nutritious food in Nebraska.
  • Nearly 75 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children.
  • More than one-quarter of participants are in households with seniors or people with disabilities.
  • Using electronic EBT cards keeps fraud use very low.


The report also contains personal stories from Nebraskans who struggle with food security and suggests policy changes to SNAP requirements that could help the program better serve its intended purposes.

Appleseed’s study came on the heels of a report from the Working Poor Families Project that shows nearly one-third of the nation’s working families are paid wages so low they struggle to meet their basic needs. According to the report, 32 percent of working families in Nebraska are low-income, giving Nebraska a rank of 29th nationally.


Screening of “Precious Knowledge” highlights cultural education importance

PRECIOUSKNOWLEDGEOn January 22, Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle and several Omaha organizations sponsored a free showing of Precious Knowledge, a film that highlights one of the final years of the highly successful Mexican-American Studies Program at Tucson High School and the fight to abolish the program after Arizona lawmakers abolished ethnic studies classes in 2011.

Following the screening, Appleseed’s Rebecca Gonzales participated in a panel discussion with State senator Jeremy Nordquist and Dr. Lourdes Gouveia from the Office of Latino Latin American Studies at UNO.

The Mexican-American program at Tucson High School was a national model of educational success — 93 percent of its enrolled students graduated from high school and 85 percent went on to attend college, bucking a statewide trend that saw only 48 percent of Latino students graduate at all. The program taught Mexican and American history, as well as Central and South American literature and culture.

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