Legislative Update – February 19, 2014

NE_Appleseed_Icons_StateCapital-128It was a busy week at the State Capitol with Appleseed testifying on several priority bills.  There are just two full weeks left for committee hearings.  Keep reading to find out how you can make your voice heard on issues that affect many Nebraskans.

Appleseed opposes harmful tax bills

On Thursday, February 13, Appleseed testified to the Revenue Committee in opposition to a pair of bills that would dramatically reduce the state’s revenue and endanger our ability to fund important priorities that benefit nearly every Nebraska family.

LB 721 and LB 1097 among other things, call for an expensive reduction in the income tax that will only benefit a few Nebraskans with the highest incomes, would lead to drastic cuts in education and services, create pressure to increase local taxes, and likely lead to the need for increased taxes in future years.

The bills are estimated to cost between $400 and $800 million with a maximum benefit to working and middle class families of less than $20 a month.

Watch Appleseed Public Policy Director Jennifer Carter testify against LB 1097:

Read Appleseed’s testimony opposing LB 721

More than 1,100 people already have signed this online petition started by Rebuild Nebraska to support a responsible, progressive tax system that boosts the economy and allows us to fund essential priorities that lead to Nebraska’s high quality of life.  Take a moment to add your name, and then contact your senator to ask them to oppose these drastic tax shifts.

Appleseed supports health care bills

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

LB 860 – Appleseed supported this bill to codify health insurance consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act into state law in front of the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee on February 11.  The bill includes ACA 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.

Other bills move to floor

LB 661 – This bill to allow for online voter registration was advanced to General File by the Government Committee with an amendment.

LB 732 – This bill to exclude education scholarships from the asset limits for people to receive public benefits was advanced to General File by the HHS Committee.

LB 898 – This bill to require HHS to report regularly on how Access Nebraska is working was advanced to General File by the HHS Committee.

Upcoming hearings

LB 956 – A bill to slightly increase the Earned Income Tax Credit for Nebraska’s low-income parents. The EITC has been a tremendously helpful tool in fighting poverty. Appleseed will testify in support of this bill to the Revenue Committee – February 19.

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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