Legislative Update – April 17, 2017

This is a huge week for bills that have long-term impacts on Nebraska’s ability to fund important investments. We’re asking you to take action to protect investments in education, child welfare, and other big priorities for hard-working Nebraska families.

Protect investments in the Good Life

Friday, the Legislature is expected to debate a dangerous plan that gives a large tax cut to a few Nebraskans with the highest incomes, but comes at a high cost for everyone else.

LB 461 would change our state’s tax structure to make it impossible to close our budget deficit in future years without drastic cuts to schools, child welfare, and other important investments that give all Nebraskans a better quality of life.

Call or email your State Senator and urge them to vote “No” on this bill that would cause long-term damage to Nebraska’s ability to responsibly invest in public building blocks used by Nebraskans every day.

Education bill up Tuesday afternoon

LB 512 – We support this bill advanced by the Education Committee that contains a package of protections for students at Nebraska’s postsecondary colleges in the event the institution goes out of business. It also clarifies requirements for local organizations to get grants that would let them provide free meals to children in the summer months.

This bill is scheduled for General File debate Tuesday afternoon. Please urge your State Senator to support LB 512.

Bill to restoring voting rights advances

On April 10, the Legislature voted 32-8 to advance Sen. Justin Wayne’s voting rights bill LB 75 to Final Reading. Sen. Wayne’s bill would end the two-year delay before Nebraskans are able to vote after completing their felony sentence or probation.

We support this bill because it would finally end a needless and arbitrary punishment for Nebraskans who have served their time and paid their debt to society. The voting restriction disproportionately impacts people with low incomes and communities of color. Democracy works best when everyone has an opportunity to let their voice be heard and to make their vote count.

LB 75 will go through one more round of voting before it could head to the Governor’s desk. Call or email your State Senator and urge them to vote “Yes” on LB 75.  

Bill to strengthen food assistance fails

On April 11, a bill to reduce the harmful “cliff effect” for hard-working families who receive food assistance fell one vote shy of advancing to Select File.

LB 358, introduced by Sen. John McCollister, would have provided a long-overdue change to Nebraska’s income limit for families to be eligible to receive food assistance. This would have allowed hard-working Nebraskans to take a slight raise or improve their jobs without putting them at risk for becoming entirely ineligible for food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

We are very disappointed this bill did not advance because it would have helped working families – most of whom have children – get ahead and put food on the table. You can see LB 358’s vote count here. If your State Senator voted “Yes” on this bill, drop them a note of thanks. If they voted “No,” we encourage you to ask them why they voted against hard-working families.

Advocates warn against drastic child welfare cuts

Child welfare advocates and experts told reporters at an April 11 press conference the Governor’s $15 million proposed cuts to the foster care system will put more children’s lives in danger, and roll back much of the recent progress made to improve the foster care system.

Experts warned the Governor’s proposed cuts would slash vital funding for kinship care, drop rates to foster care providers, and end the Right Turn program, which has proven extraordinarily successful at keeping adoptive families united.

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!

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