Legislative Update – February 11, 2014

NE_Appleseed_Icons_StateCapital-128A couple of Appleseed’s top priority bills received committee hearings last week, and priority bill designation has begun.  Get caught up and see how you can get involved in this week’s Legislative Update.

Appleseed testifies in support of bipartisan resolution calling for common-sense immigration laws

On February 5th, Appleseed joined a large group of faith, business, and community leaders to testify in support of LR 399 during a hearing of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee.

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calls on Nebraska’s U.S. Congressional delegation to take action in support of a common-sense fix to our country’s outdated immigration laws.

Watch Appleseed Immigrants & Communities Director Darcy Tromanhauser testify in support of LR 399:

Updating our immigration laws would stop the needless separation of Nebraska families and provide a boost to the nation’s economy.

You can take action by calling or writing the members of the Judiciary Committee and urging them to advance this bill to the floor for a vote of the full Legislature.

Judiciary Committee Members

Sen. Brad Ashford (402) 471-2622

Sen. Al Davis (402) 471-2628

Sen. Ernie Chambers (402) 471-2612

Sen. Steve Lathrop (402) 471-2623

Sen. Mark Christensen (402) 471-2805

Sen. Amanda McGill (402) 471-2610

Sen. Colby Coash (402) 471-2632

Sen. Les Seiler (402) 471-2712

Committee proposed to make improvements to ACCESS Nebraska

LR 400, a resolution proposed by State Senator Annette Dubas, recommends the Legislature form a special investigative committee to study and make recommendations regarding the troubled ACCESS Nebraska system.

From its start, Appleseed has had grave concerns about ACCESS Nebraska’s ability to serve Nebraskans who qualify for public assistance in a timely and appropriate manner.  We strongly support this resolution in hopes that it will lead to necessary improvements to ACCESS Nebraska.

Appleseed Economic Justice Program Director testified in support of LR 400 in front of the Executive Board on February 10.  The Board advanced the resolution to the floor following the hearing:

Harmful tax bills will receive hearing this week

LB 721 and LB 1097 – These bills, introduced by Senator Charlie Janssen, would greatly diminish Nebraska’s ability to fund key responsibilities such as education, road maintenance, law enforcement, and other vital public services that make Nebraska a great place to live.

The bills, among other things, call for an expensive reduction in the income tax that will only benefit a few Nebraskans with the highest incomes.  The bills are estimated to cost at least $400 million and would deplete our state’s cash reserve fund which will have damaging long-term consequences for our state budget.  Appleseed will oppose these bill at a Revenue Committee hearing on February 13.

Other Upcoming Hearings

LB 1078 – A bill to better enable telehealth services in Nebraska.  This will provide more access to health care services to Nebraskans who live in areas with limited access to health care providers.  Health and Human Services Committee – February 12.

LB 860 – A bill to codify health insurance consumer protections into state law. These would include protections like prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, prohibiting insurance companies from ending coverage when someone gets sick, and requiring that all policies offer dependent coverage up to age 26. Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee – February 11.

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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