Legislative Update – February 4, 2014

NE_Appleseed_Icons_StateCapital-128Two of Appleseed’s priority bills were heard in committee last week with several additional important bills up for hearings this week.  Read more about Appleseed’s stances and learn how you can get involved.

Wellness In Nebraska supporters pack HHS Committee Hearing

On January 29, dozens of supporters packed a State Capitol room to testify in support of LB 887, the Wellness In Nebraska Act, during a Health and Human Services Committee hearing.  Appleseed was one of many supporters to testify, among a group that included doctors, educators, community leaders, advocates, and Nebraskans who would be eligible for coverage under the bill.

Watch Appleseed Economic Justice & Health Care Access Director James Goddard testify on LB 887:

Appleseed supports a “WIN” for Nebraska health care from Nebraska Appleseed on Vimeo.

The WIN Act would help at least 54,000 uninsured Nebraskans access health insurance through an innovative solution that would benefit Nebraska’s entire health care system.  We urge you to contact members of the HHS Committee and ask them to advance LB 887 to the floor.

HHS Committee Members

Sen. Kathy Campbell (402) 471-2731

Sen. Sara Howard (402) 471-2723

Sen. Tanya Cook (402) 471-2727

Sen. Bob Krist (402) 471-2718

Sen. Sue Crawford (402) 471-2615

Sen. Dan Watermeier (402) 471-2733

Sen. Mike Gloor (402) 471-2617

Appleseed supports bill to better serve Native children in foster care

LB 928 – On January 29, Appleseed Child Welfare staff attorney Robert McEwen testified to the Judiciary Committee in support of this bill which 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.

Read Appleseed’s fact sheet on LB 928

Fair wage bill heard by Revenue Committee

LB 943 – This bill to raise Nebraska’s minimum wage gradually over three years to $9 per hour was heard by the Business and Labor Committee on Monday.  Appleseed testified in support because hard work should pay in Nebraska. With LB 943 we can affirm the dignity in a hard day’s work, rebuild the middle class, and help families earn enough to meet their basic needs.

Read James Goddard’s testimony on LB 943

“Ban the Box” bill receives hearing

LB 932 – Appleseed testified in support of this bill to the Business and Labor Committee on January 27.  The bill would prohibit public employers from requesting prior criminal history on the first round of an employment application for certain jobs (with some exceptions) without first determining if the applicant meets the basic qualifications for the job. Criminal background checks can be done later in the hiring process. The goal is to ensure people have an opportunity to interview for a job and get back to work after serving their sentence.

Upcoming Hearings

LR 399 – This resolution, introduced by a bipartisan group of 14 state senators, calls on Nebraska’s U.S. Congressional delegation to take action in support of a common-sense fix to our country’s outdated immigration laws.  It will be heard by the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, February 5.

LB 907 – This bill would do several things to provide for a smoother transition back into communities for people who have been incarcerated.  It would, among other things, provide for supervised release, provide for reentry probation officers, and create the Nebraska Center for Justice Research.  It will be heard by the Judiciary Committee on February 6.

LB 995 – This bill creates a new, refundable income tax credit for low income families who earn up to $25,500 a year.  It will be heard by the Revenue Committee on February 5.

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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