Legislative Update

New Medicaid program bill debated in Legislature

LB 577, the bill to implement the Affordable Care Act’s new Medicaid option, took center stage in the Legislature this week.  Senators engaged in day-long debate on April 16 and 17.

LB 577 would provide affordable health care access to 54,000 Nebraskans while saving the state $2.4 million this biennium.  It is a good deal for our state, returning $2.3 billion back to our state, and it is the right thing to do.

Yet, some senators still have questions that need to be resolved and there were not enough votes yet to end debate and force and up or down vote.  As a result, the Speaker moved on to the next agenda items.

See video highlights of the LB 577 debate on our Vimeo page.

But LB 577 can, and we believe must, continue to be debated yet this year.  This issue is too important to wait.

We need your help to make that happen.  Call or write your state senator and:

  • Tell them this bill is a win-win for the health of Nebraska’s economy and our people

  • Ask them to let this vote have an up or down vote

Without LB 577, 54,000 people will have no access to health care coverage.  This issue is too important.  It deserves a vote.

Green Lights

In the Capitol’s legislative chamber, there is a large sign listing each Senator’s name. When a Senator votes in favor of a bill, a light next to their name turns bright green. “Green Lights” highlights the passage of bills that advance justice and opportunity in Nebraska.

LB 99 – This bill, sponsored by Sen. Heath Mello, extends the data reporting requirements of Nebraska’s current ban on racial profiling, requires law enforcement agencies to provide a copy of their written policy to prohibit racial profiling to the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, and requires the Commission to seek funding to provide a comprehensive review of motor vehicle stops and allegations of racial profiling.  This bill passed 39-0 on General File with a committee amendment that strengthened the bill.

LB 240 – This bill, sponsored by Sen. John Harms, would allow Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) participants over the age of 24 to count basic educational activities, such as GED classes, toward the ADC program’s work requirements. This bill encourages low-income Nebraskans to further their education in order to achieve the goal of economic stability.  It has no fiscal note.  It passed on General File 30-0.

LB 269 – This bill, sponsored by Sen. Kathy Campbell, changes provisions relating to foster care and juvenile justice and basically implements the recommendations of the Children’s Commission.  This bill passed on General File 34-0.

You can watch all floor debate live, online courtesy of NET.

Immigration bill introduced in the U.S. Senate

Last week, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, known as the Gang of Eight, officially released their immigration bill, taking a long-overdue step toward modernizing our immigration laws. This bipartisan bill would finally create a process for millions of aspiring Americans — people who are our friends, neighbors, and family members, and who are an important part of our communities and economy — to take a step forward on the road to citizenship. The bill needs improvement, but it represents a historic opportunity to create an immigration process that can be a solid foundation for Nebraska’s families and communities and lives up to our values.

Read Nebraska Appleseed’s statement on the bill introduction. Check our website for links to the bill, summaries, and other informational resources as they become available. See our Facebook photo gallery from the April 10 Rally For Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

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 in 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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