Legislative Update

NE_Appleseed_Icons_StateCapital-128Last week was the first week of full-day debate at the Legislature, and several of Appleseed’s priority bills were on the move.

LB 853 – This bill, which implements stakeholder recommendations to implement the Bridge to Independence program passed on General File on March 7.  This bill will be important to ensure a solid start to the Bridge to Independence program so that it may help eligible youth who age out of Nebraska’s foster care system in the best ways possible.

LR 400 – This resolution to establish a special investigative committee for the ACCESS Nebraska system was adopted on March 7.  This committee will investigate and identify solutions for the state’s troubled system to administer public benefits.

LR 422 – This resolution to allow the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee and Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee to continue their work to plan for modernizing Nebraska’s health care delivery system was adopted on March 7.

LB 560 – This bill contains a number of items to protect hard-working Nebraskans from wage theft.  Among other things, it requires employers to provide their employees with itemized pay stubs so workers can see their exact wages and withholdings.  This bill passed on General File with an amendment on March 6.

Legislature set to debate State Budget this week

Starting on March 10 the Legislature began to debate the nearly $8 billion state budget advanced by the Appropriations Committee last week.  We were pleased to see the budget largely maintains the state’s cash reserve rainy day fund.  This is essential to making sure we can keep a stable budget in the future during unforeseen, tough economic times.

Both the Lincoln Journal Star and the Omaha World-Herald have urged maintaining the cash reserve at recommended levels in the past week.  Tell your senator to say NO to any tax bills or amendments that would drain the cash reserve and risk that stability for a tax shift that would only benefit a few Nebraskans.

Tell your senator to support Wellness In Nebraska Act

LB 887 – The Wellness In Nebraska (or WIN) Act could be up for floor debate as early as next week so now is the time to call or write your state senator and tell them all Nebraskans must be able to access to affordable health care coverage.  We cannot continue to leave 54,000 of our family members, friends and neighbors without access to health care especially with a bill that will bring more than $2 billion back to our state to improve our health care system.

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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