Legislative Update, March 20 – Big step for child welfare reform

With only a couple of weeks left in the 2018 Nebraska Legislative session, the days will start to get long. Starting last week, debate began to stretch into the evening, meaning the remaining days at the Capitol will end after the sun goes down.

Here’s what we’ll be keeping an eye on for the rest of the session.

 

Child welfare reform bill takes another step forward

An important bill to improve the safety of children in the foster care system took another step forward last week when Sen. Sue Crawfords LB 1078 advanced to Final Reading.  This bill requires reporting and documenting of sexual abuse allegations that occur with youth in foster care, on probation, those in detention facilities or other residential agencies.

LB 1078 also contains several amendments we support, including provisions to strengthen kinship care and sibling placement, which is important to ensure, when possible, youth maintain relationships with people they love and trust if they are removed from their home.

The bill will come up for Final Reading debate some time in the next couple weeks. Please call your State Senator today and urge them to vote “Yes” on LB 1078 on Final Reading.

 

Senators begin state budget debate

Last Tuesday, State Senators began debate on the state budget (LB 944), passing it to Select File by a vote of 38-6.

Much of the debate centered around a portion of funding for health clinics known as Title X funding, which covers family planning services. Debate around this funding and other important aspects of the budget, including funding for the University of Nebraska, is expected when the budget comes up on Select File this Wednesday.

Appleseed will continue to monitor budget debate and educate senators on the importance of protecting investments in public building blocks that make up the foundation of strong communities, healthy families, and an economy that works for everyone.

 

Preventing barriers, Protecting rights

In the last couple of weeks of the session, we’ll be fighting to protect Nebraskans’ rights that could be threatened by several measures that will be debated. We will be opposing:

LR1CAA state constitutional amendment that would restrict Nebraskans’ right to vote by mandating they have a current photo ID. This has been shown in other states to prevent older adults, people with low incomes, people of color, and highly mobile populations from exercising their right to vote.

LB 1115 – A bill that would disenfranchise many Nebraskans by excluding many hard-working, tax-paying people when determining boundaries for political subdivision districts in Nebraska, including Legislative Districts. This would result in districts that don’t reflect the full representation of its residents.

Please call your State Senator today and tell them to vote “NO” on these two bills.

 

Stay up to date on Appleseed’s issues

You can keep up with all the happenings at the Legislature by following Appleseed online. Like our Facebook page and follow legislative hearings in real-time on Appleseed’s Twitter feed. Stop by our blog for opinion pieces, informative updates, and news stories, and visit our Vimeo page for videos of what we’re working on throughout 2018.

We will let you know how you can take action to get involved and make your voice heard throughout the session!

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