With only 10 days left, senators need to act

Today marks Day 50 of the 2020 legislative session. After today, senators only have 10 more days to address the many issues impacting Nebraskans this year. You can find today’s legislative agenda here and you can read more about our 2020 legislative priorities on our blog.

Take Action: Essential protections for essential meat and poultry workers

For the last several months, we have experienced the drastic impacts COVID-19 has had on meatpacking workers our family members and neighbors across our state. We have seen outbreaks in communities throughout Nebraska due to a lack of protections for essential workers in meat and poultry facilities. Workers, their families, and communities have asked for health and safety measures to be put in place in these facilities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Governor has not required COVID-19 worker protections in meatpacking plants, despite many calls for action. Now the Legislature is back in session and has the opportunity to act on behalf of meatpacking workers and their families.

Call your state senator today and urge them to take action in the next 10 days of the legislative session. Senators need to put in place clear and enforceable temporary protections including six-foot distancing throughout all areas of the plant, transparency of information, effective screening and contract tracing for meatpacking workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senators missed opportunities to help Nebraskans this week

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed long-standing systemic inequities that have impacted our Nebraska neighbors, especially communities of color, for many, many decades. The Unicameral has a responsibility to address urgent needs, like economic instability and food insecurity, and to implement essential protections for essential workers. Unfortunately, senators failed to take action on several measures that would have extended additional relief to those who are struggling most because of the pandemic:

AM3172, introduced by Senator Adam Morfeld to LB866, did not pass. This amendment would have given cities and villages the option of enacting eviction moratoriums during a public health crisis.

AM3205, introduced by Senator Machaela Cavanaugh to LB1008, did not pass. This amendment would have allocated federal CARES funding to programs that would assist Nebraskans with rental and utility payments, child care, and food access.

We thank Senator Morfeld and Senator Cavanaugh for filing these amendments. Although the Legislature failed to take action on these items, it must find additional paths forward on these issues to ensure Nebraskans do not fall through the cracks.

Last week’s highlights

Three of our legislative priorities passed last week and were signed into law by the Governor:

LB1061, introduced by Senator Sue Crawford, is now law! This bill addresses a number of issues within the child welfare system by reauthorizing the use of alternative response and increasing oversight of non-court cases, also referred to as hidden foster care.

LB1016, introduced by Senator Matt Hansen, is now law! This bill enhances wage theft protections for workers across Nebraska.

LB997, introduced by Senator Adam Morfeld, is now law! This bill combats surprise billing practices and increases protections for Nebraskans visiting an emergency room.

We thank all the senators who introduced and supported these pieces of legislation this session!

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.

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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