Legislative Update

nebraska-state-capital1-150x150Because of the snow storm Thursday, the Legislature canceled hearings for Feb. 21.  Those hearings have been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 5 at 9:15 a.m.

Appleseed did testify on a number of bills in committee last week

Health Care Access

LB 568 – In its original form, this bill would have required a restrictive licensing process for navigators who will guide consumers through the new health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.  While Appleseed did not support this bill in its current form, Senator Harr, the bill’s sponsor has offered some helpful amendments that address many of the opponents concerns and which will help reorient this bill into one that focuses on creating a strong navigator program.

LB 220 – A bill introduced by Senator Avery that would ensure children are eligible for medical assistance through Medicaid and CHIP for 12 continuous months. This would also help to ensure eligible children are enrolled, and would streamline and simplify the verification requirements for the program. Appleseed supported this bill before the HHS Committee on Feb. 20 because it will increase access to health care for Nebraska children and will make the service delivery system more efficient.

Harmful Tax Bills Killed, Appleseed Supports Tax Study

LB 405 and LB 406 – At Governor Heineman’s request, the Revenue Committee killed these two bills on Feb. 20.  These two harmful bills would have created a regressive tax structure by eliminating the state income and corporate taxes and eliminated sales tax exemptions.  Appleseed joined the overwhelming opposition to these two bills on Feb. 6 and 7.

LB 613 – A bill that would create a Tax Modernization Commission to study Nebraska’s tax code. Appleseed testified in support of this bill before the Executive Committee on Feb. 19 because a thoughtful and deliberate examination of our tax structure is appropriate if we are to protect the investments we all have made in the state and ensure a logical and balanced system.

See video and read full transcripts of Appleseed’s testimony in front of the Legislature.

Take action to support LB 577 – new Medicaid program a win-win!

LB 577 – The bill that would implement the Affordable Care Act’s new Medicaid program in Nebraska goes in front of the HHS Committee on Thursday.  Senators need to hear from you!  Please support LB 577 by calling or writing your state senator.

Appleseed strongly believes this bill is a good opportunity to provide a real solution to give health care access to thousands of low-income, working Nebraskans and return hundreds of millions of dollars to our state’s economy.

Other Upcoming Hearings

Appleseed plans to offer testimony at several hearings this week including:

LB 578 – A bill to establish a Health Care Access and Support Fund to support the Medicaid program that would be implemented by LB 577. Hearing: HHS Committee, Feb. 28

LB625 – A bill by Senator Conrad to restore eligibility for child care assistance to its previous level.  Without meaningful access to child care, parents can’t work.  Appleseed will be supporting LB 625 and the effort to increase access to child care for Nebraska’s lower-income working families.  Hearing: HHS, Feb. 27.

The hearings for these bills, originally set for Feb. 21, have been rescheduled for March 5:

LB 368 – This bill would create a subsidized employment pilot program within the Department of Health and Human Services, which would allow employers to grow their businesses and allow low-income workers to gain meaningful job experience. Appleseed supports the bill. Hearing: HHS Committee, March 5.

LB 508 – A bill that would incrementally increase the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) maximum payment rate in Nebraska to a more adequate level. This bill would help prevent poverty and the unnecessary entry of children into the child welfare system by providing support for the basic needs of very low-income families with children.  Appleseed supports the bill. Hearing: HHS Committee, March 5.

Stay up to date on Appleseed’s issues

You can keep up with all the exciting happenings at the Legislature by following Appleseed online. 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, and news stories, and visit our Vimeo page for 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 take action to get involved and make your voice heard!

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