Legislative Update

NE_Appleseed_Icons_StateCapital-128The 2014 Nebraska Legislature began this year’s 60-day session last week, and each week we will provide an update on bills related to Appleseed’s programs.  It’s been a busy start to the session already, and a number of bills have been introduced that Appleseed is excited about.

Wellness In Nebraska provides uniquely Nebraskan solution to health care

LB 887 – A bill introduced by Sen. Kathy Campbell aimed at helping at least 54,000 working Nebraskans gain access to affordable health insurance.  The bill creates a new program known as “Wellness In Nebraska,” that would provide health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid option for some Nebraskans as well as provide assistance to help purchase private insurance for others.

Bridge to Independence Implementation Bill

LB 853 – A bill introduced by Sen. Amanda McGill to implement stakeholder recommendations and strengthen the implementation of the Bridge to Independence program, which extends services and support to young people aging out of foster care under last session’s LB 216.  This bill will make that program, which will begin in 2014, work best for young people.

Changes to Administrative Procedures Act

LB 718, LB 719, and LB 720 – A package of bills introduced by Sen. Sue Crawford that change the state’s Administrative Procedures Act to improve transparency in the rulemaking process.

Risky tax bills could be losing proposition for lower-income families

LB 669 and LB 670 – Bills introduced by Sen. Beau McCoy that would reduce the property tax valuation of agricultural land and remove $68 million from the state cash reserve fund to be used for one-time reduction in property taxes. Our concern is that these bills could leave our state without the ability to fund key obligations like education, infrastructure and workforce development and are a risky use of our cash reserve fund.

LB 721 – A bill introduced by Sen. Charlie Janssen that could potentially destabilize Nebraska’s tax system by reducing the individual income tax rate.  This bill holds similar risks to Sen. McCoy’s tax bills in that they would only benefit a few high-earning Nebraskans and reduce the state’s ability to fund the public structures all Nebraskans use.

Voter ID bill would increase barriers to vote for many

LB 662 – A bill introduced by Sen. Krist that would require anyone to show a photo identification with a current address in order to register to vote if they have moved since the previous election.  This bill could potentially disenfranchise about 100,000 voters in Nebraska.

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 2014.

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 throughout the session!

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