Legislative Update

NE_Appleseed_Icons_StateCapital-128It’s a busy time in the Nebraska Legislature as bill introduction concludes this week and committee hearings begin.  Several key bills that Appleseed is closely following were introduced last week and still more will be in committee hearings this week.

Appleseed responds to Governor’s State of the State Address

Governor Heineman issued his State of the State Address on Wednesday, January 15, laying out his priorities for the upcoming Legislative session.

Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould issued this statement in response.  The Legislature has the chance to take great steps forward this session to ensure all Nebraskans can have access to health care coverage while maintaining a responsible tax system that works for all Nebraskans and allows us to invest in areas that have been proven to boost the economy.

Wellness In Nebraska bill receives hearing date

LB 887 – The “Wellness In Nebraska Act” (WIN) would provide health insurance to at least 54,000 Nebraskans. WIN utilizes private market insurance for coverage as well as existing programs. WIN would bring billions of dollars back to our state, use innovative ideas to improve our health care system for all Nebraska residents, and ensure that all Nebraskans have quality, affordable health care. The bill will be heard by the Health and Human Services Committee on January 29.

Package of bills to help Nebraska’s working families introduced last week

On January 16, Senators Jeremy Nordquist, Danielle Conrad, and Annette Dubas introduced bills that would strengthen Nebraska’s working families.

LB 943 – This bill introduced by Sen. Nordquist would raise Nebraska’s minimum wage gradually over three years to $9 per hour.

LB 955 – This bill introduced by Sen. Dubas would create a paid family leave policy in Nebraska. Employees would contribute to a fund and be able to receive up to six weeks of paid leave per year to be used to care for family members.

LB 956 – This bill introduced by Sen. Conrad would slightly increase the Earned Income Tax Credit for Nebraska’s low-income parents. The EITC has been a tremendously helpful tool in fighting poverty.

Read Appleseed’s statement in support of these bills

Other bills of interest

LB 359 – Sen. Tanya Cook’s bill to help working families with low incomes keep access to child care assistance passed a first-round vote and advanced to Select File.  The bill had been carried over from the 2013 Legislative session.

LB 928 – This bill introduced by Senator Colby Coash and the State-Tribal Relations Committee adds much-needed clarity to Nebraska’s ICWA statute and will help the state better serve Native children and families in our child welfare system.  This week, Appleseed issued a statement supporting this bill.

LB 853 – Sen. Amanda McGill’s bill to implement stakeholder recommendations and strengthen the implementation of the Bridge to Independence program for young people formerly in foster care has been scheduled for a hearing in front of the HHS Committee on Wednesday, January 22.

LR 399 – Sen. John Wightman, together with 13 bipartisan cosponsors, introduced a resolution calling on Nebraska’s U.S. Congressional delegation to take action in support of a common-sense fix to our country’s outdated immigration laws.

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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