Legislative Update – May 18

NE_Appleseed_Icons_StateCapitol-200Last week was one of the most noteworthy weeks in the 2015 Nebraska Legislative session with several of Appleseed’s priority bills coming before the body.

 

DREAMers driver’s license bill advances on General File

On May 14, the Legislature overwhelmingly voted 37-8 to advance LB 623 from General File. The bill would make Nebraska the final state in the country to allow young immigrants known as “DREAMers” to apply for driver’s licenses.

The bill received 39 cloture votes to end a filibuster, a tremendous show of support. It is expected to be up for Select File debate soon. Appleseed issued a statement thanking all of the State Senators who voted “Yes” on this bill.

 

Bill to cut student workers’ minimum wage defeated

On May 15, the Legislature defeated LB 599 on Final Reading. The bill, which would have allowed employees to pay high school student workers a lower minimum wage than the one Nebraska voters approved last November, needed 33 votes to become law, but received only 29.

Please take a moment to send a message of thanks to these senators who stood up for hard-working young Nebraskans by opposing the bill.

 

Bill to increase aid to low-income, working families advances

LB 607 – This bill to increase payment rates in Nebraska’s Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program for the first time in nearly 30 years quickly passed the first two rounds of debate last week. The bill advanced with amendment AM 1551, which contains some important aspects of anti-poverty bill LB 89, which the Governor vetoed two weeks ago.

LB 607 could be scheduled for a Final Reading vote this week. We encourage the Legislature to quickly pass LB 607 with AM 1551 and the Governor to sign it without delay so Nebraska’s hard-working families can get ahead and provide for their children.

 

Other Legislative Priorities

LB 294 – Would increase penalties for human trafficking and protect trafficking victims from being charged in juvenile court. LB 294 passed on Final Reading by a vote of 49-0 on May 14 and has been sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

 

LB 81 – This bill would strengthen Nebraska’s child care subsidy program, a critical work support for working families with low incomes, and reduce the harmful “cliff effect.” It was advanced to Final Reading on May 12, and could be up for a final vote this week.

 

LR 306 – This interim study, introduced last week by Sen. John McCollister with 14 co-sponsors, will examine ways Nebraska could close the coverage gap using Medicaid expansion federal dollars so all working Nebraskans can have access to affordable health care.

 

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!

Find these updates useful? Please consider making a donation to Nebraska Appleseed and help us continue our efforts.

 

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