News and Events from Nebraska Appleseed

In this March edition of “Appleseed in Action”:

  • Floor debate ramps up in Legislature
  • Congressman, advocates urge stop Poultry Rule
  • “Rock Enroll” concert to encourage people to Get Covered
  • Fast For Families leader visits Omaha

Priority bills advance in 2014 Legislative session

NE_Appleseed_Icons_StateCapital-128Last week was the final week of committee hearings in the 2014 Nebraska legislative session, which means the rest of the session will feature full days of floor debate.  Several of Appleseed’s priority bills will be up for debate, so now is a great time for you to take action and urge senators to support issues you care about.

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 and would bring billions of dollars back to our state. Appleseed testified in support of the bill before the Health and Human Services Committee on January 29, and the bill was advanced to the floor on February 24.

Please call or write your state senator and tell them to support LB 887 so all Nebraskans can get access to affordable health care coverage.  If this bill does not pass, we will leave tens of thousands of our family members, friends and neighbors without access to health care.  That is not how we do things in Nebraska, especially when we have a solution in front of us.

LB 943 – This bill to raise Nebraska’s minimum wage to $9 per hour was passed out of the Revenue Committee on February 19 and was given a priority designation by its introducer, Sen. Jeremy Nordquist.  The bill also contains an amendment which originally took the form of LB 947 to raise the minimum wage for people who make tips to 70 percent of the minimum wage for non-tip earners.

Read Appleseed’s fact sheet on why raising the minimum wage is important to strengthen working families.

LB 853 – This bill, introduced by Sen. Amanda McGill, would ensure a smoother implementation of the new Bridge To Independence program by adopting stakeholder recommendations when the program begins this year.  Bridge To Independence was the program created by last year’s LB 216, which created a system of services and supports for young people who age out of Nebraska’s foster care system. Appleseed testified in support of this bill before the HHS Committee on January 22, and the bill was advanced to the floor of the Legislature.


Congressman, advocates urge a stop to dangerous, proposed Poultry Rule

Hilary O. Shelton of the NAACP appears with members of the Congressional Black Caucus at a news conference Thursday in Washington, D.C.  (Photo credit: Congressional Black Caucus)

Hilary O. Shelton of the NAACP appears with members of the Congressional Black Caucus at a news conference Thursday in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Congressional Black Caucus)

Pain and crippling injuries are a common outcome for the people making tens of thousands of movements per shift in meat and poultry processing. In the words of workers:

  • “I’m doomed.  My injuries are permanent.  But think about the younger people and how we could prevent harm coming to them.”
  • “Slavery still exists today.  It’s been mechanized and it happens during a 40-hour week.”
  • “The pain was so bad that it kept me awake at night.”

Unfortunately, it’s about to get worse in poultry processing unless a new rule is stopped. So last week Congressional leaders, workers, and civil rights advocates held a briefing with members of the House of Representatives to urge the Administration to stop a proposed new USDA rule that would allow poultry processing plants to increase the speed of the line, replace federal inspectors with plant employees, and jeopardize the safety of our food.

You can take action today to help stop the USDA’s dangerous proposal. First, take just a second to sign this online petition urging President Obama and the USDA to “dump the chicken rule.”  Then, call the White House at (202) 456-1111 and tell the Administration the Poultry Rule is a senseless danger to worker safety and food safety.

The House briefing was hosted by U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson (Mississippi), Marcia Fudge (Ohio), and Shelia Jackson-Lee (Texas), Hilary O. Shelton, NAACP’s senior vice president for policy and advocacy, and coordinated by Oxfam America, Nebraska Appleseed, Southern Poverty Law Center, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Food & Water Watch, Northwest Arkansas Workers Center, and many others.


“Rock Enroll” concert to encourage young Nebraskans to Get Covered

Rock Enroll logo

Since the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace opened last fall, Nebraska has become a national leader in helping its people get affordable, quality health care coverage.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Nebraska has reached 84 percent of our enrollment goal.

As the open enrollment period draws to a close, Enroll Nebraska, of which Appleseed is a member, is continuing to make sure more Nebraskans get the coverage they need.

On March 20, Enroll Nebraska is partnering with the Nebraska AIDS Project and Hear Nebraska for a rock concert to promote the importance of getting covered to young people.  “Rock Enroll” will be a free event to attract young people and educate them on their options to enroll in coverage through the Marketplace. Navigators will be on hand to help people understand and explore their insurance options and help concertgoers find a plan that fits their needs.

What: “Rock Enroll” – free concert to promote health care coverage

Where: Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St., Omaha

Who: Performances by Rock Paper Dynamite and Conchance; Hosted by Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska AIDS Project, and Hear Nebraska.

When: Thursday, March 20, 9:00 p.m.

Click here to join the Facebook event for “Rock Enroll”


National “Fast For Families” leader inspires immigration reform efforts in Omaha

NE_Appleseed_Icons_Immigration-128On February 17, D.J. Yoon, a national leader of the Fast for Families movement, visited Omaha to share his story with local faith, student, and community leaders.

Starting in November, Yoon was one of the three core people who fasted (water only, no food) for more than 20 days on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in support of fixing our immigration laws.  Their tent was visited by national leaders, including President Obama and Michelle Obama, and their effort brought attention to the urgency of immigration policy reform.

Yoon’s trip to Omaha was part of a national tour to keep the need to fix our outdated immigration system in the spotlight.  Fast for Families leaders plan to visit more than 100 congressional districts in the coming months to talk about immigration reform and to ask people to fast, pray and reach out to local lawmakers.

“I hope House leaders will stop viewing immigration reform as a political issue and start viewing it as a family and moral issue,” Yoon told the Omaha World-Herald on his visit. “We can’t keep separating families. That’s not what America is about.”

You can be an important voice in helping new immigration laws get passed this year.  Please call or write your congressman and tell them Nebraskans want updated immigration laws that include a path to citizenship to keep families together, provide certainty for businesses, and make our communities stronger.


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