Legislative Update

Green Lights

greenlightsIn 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 240 – A bill introduced by Sen. John Harms that allows for all adults to meet the work requirement mandated by the Welfare Reform Act as long as they are engaged in employment-related education for at least 20 hours a week has been placed on Final Reading.

LB 98 – A bill introduced by Sen. Heath Mello that creates increased accountability when state agencies make – or fail to properly make – rules and regulations that can affect our rights.  The bill creates a mechanism for the ombudsman’s office to receive complaints from citizens, review an agency’s action under the Administrative Procedures Act on the basis, and make a determination of whether the agency conduct did indeed violate the act.  This bill was actually passed as an amendment to LB 242.

Several important bills are scheduled to be up for debate this week at the Capitol

LB 507 – LB 507, the “Step Up to Child Care Act,” is a bill introduced by Sen. Kathy Campbell that addresses a number of issues in our state’s child care subsidy program.  It would create a quality rating system to help parents assess the type of child care services provided, as well as assistance and incentives to help child care providers increase the quality of services they provide.

The bill will also include Amendment 1173, which would increase access to the program by making a modest adjustment to the eligibility level.  Nebraska currently ranks last nationally in child care subsidy eligibility.

LB 507 and AM 1173 will allow more of Nebraska’s working families to access affordable, high-quality child care and start kids on the right track while keeping our state’s families strong.

The bill will likely come up for debate on General File April 29 or 30.

LB 99 – This bill, sponsored by Sen. Heath Mello, increases and extends the duration of Nebraska’s law enforcement data collection efforts in order to prevent racial profiling.  The bill passed 39-0 on General File earlier this month with a committee amendment that strengthened the bill and is currently on the agenda for Select File debate in the next few days.

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

Senators need to hear that you stand with 54,000 uninsured Nebraskans

Take-ActionOpponents of LB 577, the bill to implement the Affordable Care Act’s new Medicaid option, have not allowed the bill to come up for a vote in the Legislature.  Our senators need to hear from you that it is unacceptable to turn their backs on 54,000 working Nebraskans that cannot afford health insurance.

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

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’s economy, and it is the right thing to do.

Foster youth support bill will enter second round of debate

Take-ActionLB 216 – A bill introduced by Senator Amanda McGill that would create an age-appropriate, voluntary program offering extended services and support to age 21 for young people who age out of foster care.

LB 216 advanced to Select File with a vote of 28-1, but the fight to pass this bill is not over.  Take action to support LB 216.  Call or write your state senator and tell them this bill gives young people transitioning from foster care a real opportunity to be productive, healthy, and engaged members of our community as adults.

Read Appleseed’s fact sheet on LB 216 to learn more about how these critical services would better meet the needs of young people in a more inclusive and age-appropriate way.

Take action to support Common-Sense Immigration Reform

Take-ActionThe U.S. Congress is on recess this week, which makes now a great time to contact them to support the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill. While the bipartisan bill needs some improvement, it takes a long-overdue step of finally creating 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.

Read Nebraska Appleseed’s statement on the bill.

Call Nebraska’s U.S. Senators and your Congressman this week and ask them to support common-sense immigration reform that keeps families together and strengthens Nebraska communities.

  • Sen. Mike Johanns (202) 224-4224 or (402) 476-1400

  • Sen. Deb Fischer (202) 224-6551 or (402) 441-4600

  • Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (202) 225-4806 or (402) 438-1598

  • Rep. Lee Terry (202) 225-4155 or (402) 397-9944

  • Rep. Adrian Smith (308) 384-3900 or (202) 225-6435

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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