Legislative Update

nebraska-state-capital1-150x150Here is your weekly Legislative Update from Nebraska Appleseed.

Wage subsidy program a win-win for Nebraska businesses and workers

LB 368 – This bill, introduced by Senator Sue Crawford, 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 testified in support of the bill in front of the HHS Committee on March 5 and released a public statement of support.

Read Appleseed’s fact sheet on LB 368

Modernizing ADC rate would help meet children’s basic needs

LB 508 – A bill introduced by Senator Kathy Campbell that would incrementally increase the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) maximum payment rate in Nebraska to a more adequate level. This bill would help parents provide for their children’s basic needs and prevent the unnecessary entry of children into the child welfare system.  Appleseed testified in support of the bill in front of the HHS Committee on March 5.

Read Appleseed’s fact sheet on LB 508

Voter suppression law would undermine Nebraskans’ right to vote

LB 381 – A bill introduced by Senator Charlie Janssen that would require all Nebraska voters to present a state-issued identification card with an up-to-date home address to their neighborhood poll workers every time they vote, which is not always affordable or possible for many Nebraskans. Appleseed is strongly opposed to such an exclusionary voter suppression bill.  It is an unnecessary roadblock to the democratic process that undermines the voting rights of many older Nebraskans, Nebraskans that live in rural areas, students who move several times per year, and Nebraskans with low incomes.  Appleseed joined a large group of testifiers who opposed the bill in front of the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee on March 7.

Aligning asset limits for public benefits programs

LB 430 – A bill that would align the asset limit rules in ADC and the child care subsidy program with the Supplementation Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This would allow low-income families to save some of their earnings for the future and would help to create efficiencies in the service delivery system. Appleseed testified in support of the bill in front of the HHS Committee on March 5.

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

Upcoming Hearings

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

LB 309 – A bill that would streamline and improve Nebraska’s public benefits delivery system, known as ACCESS Nebraska. This bill is intended to make the system more simple and easier to navigate, helping both clients and workers. Hearing: HHS Committee, March 14.

LB 330 – A bill that would help working people striving to move off of public assistance by allowing them to increase their wages without losing essential food assistance (SNAP) before they can afford it. The bill would raise the gross income limit for SNAP to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level ($2,440/month for a family of three), thereby allowing Nebraskans who can prove their bills make it difficult to afford food to be eligible for SNAP. Hearing: HHS Committee, March 14.

LB 240 – A bill that would allow ADC participants over the age of 24 to count basic educational activities, such as GED requirements, toward the ADC program’s work requirements. Under the bill, 20 hours per week of GED study would meet ADC’s work requirement.  This opportunity is already available to participants under age 24 but would be equally helpful to those over that age.  Appleseed supports this bill because it would encourage low-income Nebraskans to further their education in order to achieve the goal of economic self-sufficiency.  Hearing: HHS Committee, March 14.

LB 503 – A bill that would allow for “alternative response” to child abuse and neglect reports.  Hearing: Judiciary Committee, March 15.

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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