The 2015 Nebraska Legislative session convened on January 7th with the election of committee chairs and committee placements. Congratulations to Senator Galen Hadley of Kearney for being elected Speaker of the Legislature.
Bill introduction began on January 8th. Here is a look at some bills Appleseed will be monitoring this session.
LB 148 – A bill introduced by Senator Sue Crawford that streamlines the process for youth who age out of foster care to apply for Medicaid coverage that they are allowed to receive until age 26 under the Affordable Care Act. The bill also allows youth who age out of foster care in other states, but have moved to Nebraska, to be eligible for coverage.
Appleseed supports this bill because it will ensure more young Nebraskans have access to a healthy start to adulthood.
LB 81 – A bill introduced by Senator Tanya Cook that strengthens Nebraska’s child care subsidy program, a critical work support for working families with low incomes. This bill would reduce the sudden loss of child care assistance if an eligible family accepted a slight increase in earnings, known as the “cliff effect.”
Appleseed supports this bill because it maintains a vital source of stability for working families while encouraging employees to work hard to increase their earnings.
LB 89 – A bill introduced by Senator Kathy Campbell that will address poverty in low-income families with children by slightly raising the payment rate of Nebraska’s Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) benefit. This rate has not been raised in nearly three decades and no longer reflects the current costs of living. It also will minimize the cliff effect among ADC recipients similar to LB 81.
Appleseed supports this bill because it will better ensure families with low incomes can meet their basic needs and prevent the removal of children from these homes.
LB 111 – A bill that would require Nebraskans to produce a government-issued photo identification with a current address in order to vote.
Appleseed opposes this unnecessary and restrictive bill because it has the potential to disenfranchise many groups of eligible voters – including seniors, college students, and people with low incomes and disabilities – and reduce participation in our elections. Making voting harder is not a Nebraska value.
Bill introduction will continue through January 21.
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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!