Legislative Update – April 13

NE_Appleseed_Icons_StateCapital-128Last week was a great example of the ups and downs of our work in the Nebraska Legislature.

 

Medicaid Redesign Act voted down

On April 8, the Legislature heard debate on LB 472 – the Medicaid Redesign Act. This important bill would have closed the coverage gap that currently leaves more than 70,000 Nebraskans without access to health coverage.

Unfortunately, the Legislature voted down LB 472 after a few hours of debate. Senators passed a motion to bracket the bill, which means the bill will not come up again for debate this session, but could be debated again next session.

Appleseed is deeply disappointed at the outcome of the debate on LB 472. Lack of health care access for all Nebraskans remains a serious problem, and we will continue to fight for policies that make sure that all Nebraskans can get the health care they need.

 

DREAMers driver’s license bill advances from Committee

On Friday, April 10, the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee voted 5-2 to advance LB 623 to the floor for debate by the full Legislature. This bill, introduced by Sen. Jeremy Nordquist and prioritized by Sen. John McCollister, would allow young immigrant Nebraskans who came to the U.S. as children – commonly known as “DREAMers” – to apply for driver’s licenses.

This bill has strong, bipartisan support in the Legislature, with 25 senators signing on as co-sponsors. Appleseed thanks the Senators of the Transportation Committee who voted to advance this bill, and we look forward to having a full debate on the floor.

Read Appleseed’s statement in support of this vote.

 

Bills to help working families pass Select File debate

Two important bills to help working families get ahead passed second-round debate this morning.

LB 89 – The Legislature advanced LB 89 on Select File. The bill, introduced by Sen. Kathy Campbell, will slightly raise the payment rate for the Aid to Dependent Children benefit and reduce the cliff effect in that program. The bill advanced with amendment from Sen. Heath Mello, AM 1009, which will create an Intergenerational Poverty Task Force.

LB 81 – A bill introduced by Sen. Tanya Cook to reduce the cliff effect for families eligible for Nebraska’s child care assistance program also was advanced on Select File on Monday morning.

 

Other bills of interest

LB 566This bill, which would strengthen and clarify aspects of Nebraska’s Indian Child Welfare Act, was advanced out of the Judiciary Committee on April 8 for debate by the full Legislature. Appleseed supports this bill because it will maintain ties of culture and tradition that are essential to the well-being of native children and families.

 

Stay up to date on Appleseed’s issues

Keep up with all the exciting happenings at the Legislature by liking Appleseed’s 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 2015.

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!

If you would like to support our efforts, please consider making a donation to Nebraska Appleseed.

 

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