Legislative Update – January 9

On January 4, the 2017 Nebraska Legislature began its 90-day session.

Over the next few months, State Senators will consider many bills that will affect justice and opportunity for all Nebraskans including quality health insurance, economic opportunity, food security, voting rights, and the state’s nearly $1 billion budget shortfall.

Each week, we will let you know about movement on our priority bills and important moments to take action on issues we all care about.

Here’s a look at the setup of committee chairmanships and committee membership from the first day of the session. Don’t forget to check out our 2017 Agenda of Opportunity to see what we’re fighting for this year.

Governor’s budget proposals would enact harmful cuts

Whenever Nebraska experiences a budget shortfall, it’s hard-working Nebraskans with low incomes that seem to end up paying for it. There’s an effort to continue that cycle this year.

Last week, Speaker Jim Scheer introduced three budget bills at the request of Governor Ricketts which would result in cuts to Medicaid and public assistance programs.

LB 22, LB 23, and LB 24 are a package of bills that impose across-the-board cuts to essential public structures while withholding even more funds to programs that already had been appropriated.

Contact your State Senator today and tell them history can’t repeat itself. The Legislature cannot keep balancing our budget on the backs of hard-working Nebraskans by cutting investments in health care and essential services for people with low incomes.

Click here to find your State Senator’s contact info

Important bills introduced in first week

Several important bills were introduced in the session’s first week that Appleseed will be following throughout the year.

LB 123 (Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks) – This bill will protect students at Nebraska’s postsecondary colleges in the event the institution goes out of business. The bill creates a fund that allows students to get back their tuition if the institution shuts down and also ensures students can get a copy of their student records so they can transfer credits they have earned to a different school.

LR1CA (Sen. John Murante) – This proposed amendment to Nebraska’s State Constitution creates an unnecessary barrier to voting in Nebraska by mandating voters have state-issued identification, which is a costly and burdensome requirement to Nebraskans with low incomes, people who don’t drive, people who move frequently, college students, and people with disabilities – all of whom should be able to participate in our elections freely.

Appleseed joined Nebraskans For Civic Reform and ACLU of Nebraska in opposing this harmful voter suppression bill.

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.

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 2017.

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!

Want to support our work? Consider giving a donation today.

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