2021 priority bills for Nebraska families, communities, and racial justice

2021 priority bills for Nebraska families, communities, and racial justice

UnicameralEach legislative session presents an opportunity to bring long-lasting positive change for our communities. 

Your voice is important in ensuring that we are building a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive Nebraska. Here is how you can safely advocate during hearings, and you can always call or email your senator to share your support or opposition on a bill. 

There is also a NEW option to submit an individual comment online. Click on the link below for the bill you are interested in submitting a comment on and choose ‘Submit a comment online’. Visit the Unicameral’s website for more information.

Children of Smithfield

Photo credit: Children of Smithfield

Below are bills introduced this session that positively impacts Nebraskan families, communities, and racial justice initiatives:

Worker health, safety, and supports:

  • LB298 ensures access to unemployment insurance support (which employers and employees have already paid for) for Nebraska DACA, TPS, asylum, and other work-authorized immigrants (introduced by Sen. McDonnell).
  • LB241 protects Nebraska’s meatpacking workers with common-sense COVID-19 protections: 6-foot distancing, sufficient masks, effective screening and quarantine practices, and enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance (introduced by Sen. Vargas).
  • LB258 creates basic paid sick leave protections for all workers so Nebraskans don’t have to work while sick or can take a day to care for a sick child (5 days of earned paid sick per year) (introduced by Sen. Vargas). 
  • LB207 reduces Nebraska’s long waiting periods before injured workers can receive workers’ compensation. Nebraska has some of the longest workers comp waiting periods in the country (introduced by Sen. McDonnell).
  • LB441 ensures workers comp coverage for essential workers with COVID-19 (introduced by Sen. M. Hansen).
  • LB235 and LB324 Support the development of smaller independent meat processors and state inspection for smaller processors. From a worker safety perspective, this would support alternatives that could be safer than the large-scale processors’ high injury rates (introduced by Sen. Brewer and Sen. Brandt). 
  • LB485 expands initial eligibility for the child care subsidy program to Nebraska families whose income is at or under 185% of the federal poverty level, and allow families to continue to receive the subsidy if their income stays below 200% of the federal poverty level (introduced by Sen. DeBoer).

Vanessa Martinez, Immigrants & Communities Organizing Manager, using her power to vote!

Voting rights and redistricting:

  • LR10CA constitutional amendment to remove felony convictions other than treason from being a disqualification for voting (introduced by Sen. M Cavanaugh). 
  • LB158 restores voting rights upon completion of a felony sentence or probation for a felony (introduced by Sen. Wayne).
  • LB577 establishes Election Day as a holiday, as well as early voting and automatic voter registration provisions. (introduced by Sen. Bostar).

Read Civic Nebraska’s Voting Rights Legislation summary.

Racial justice

  • LB138 requires law enforcement agencies to give public notice before taking on additional duties as federal immigration agents, such as 287g agreements, which harm community policing and public safety (introduced by Sen. Vargas).
  • LB657 requires the Legislature to prepare racial impact statements for all legislative bills (introduced by Sen. Vargas).
  • LB515, the Municipal Police Oversight Act creates community oversight committees for law enforcement (in cities with more than 100,000 population) to ensure just and fair procedures over police misconduct (introduced by Sen. McKinney).
  • LB548, the Nebraska Racial Justice Act provides post-conviction relief if a person can show racial bias was a factor in their conviction or sentence (introduced by Sen. Wayne).

Youth & Child Welfare

  • LB357 would create the Nebraska Youth in Care Bill of Rights, strengthening young people’s knowledge and power to advocate for themselves and to seek support when their rights are not being met while they are in our child welfare system (introduced by Sen. Hunt). 
  • LB262 addresses a gap in our Bridge to Independence (B2I) program by allowing all young people transitioning into adulthood to access the program, regardless of immigration status (introduced by Sen. Vargas)
  • LB202 provides eligible youth with juvenile justice experience access to the B2I program (introduced by Sen. Pansing Brooks).

Eric Savaiano, Economic Justice Program Manager, testifying in support of equitable food security bills

Food Access 

  • LB108 fixes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) “cliff effect” where families lose more in SNAP/food stamp benefits than they gain in taking a raise, so Nebraskans no longer have to turn down economic opportunities and can continue to feed their families (introduced by Sen. McCollister).
  • LB121 eliminates Nebraska’s lifetime ban on SNAP benefits for people with certain drug offenses, ensuring all Nebraskans can meet their basic needs as they need to find stability (introduced by Sen. Hunt).
  • LB356 would eliminate a penalty for SNAP participants who do not complete requirements in other programs. SNAP has suspended work requirements across the nation due to COVID-19, but Nebraskans are still receiving reduced SNAP benefits for unmet work requirements in other programs (introduced by Sen. Hunt). 
  • LB117 the Hunger-Free Schools Act. would make school breakfasts and lunches free to students across our state – no matter their household income (introduced by Sen. M Cavanaugh).

Affordable Housing

  • LB196 would eliminate discrimination based on a tenants’ use of lawful sources of income, such as housing vouchers, to pay rent (introduced by Sen. Vargas).
  • LB419 would provide legal counsel to all tenants in eviction cases (introduced by Sen. J Cavanaugh).
  • LB394 would give municipalities, county boards, and local public health departments the power to enact an eviction moratorium in times of public health crisis (introduced by Sen. Morfeld).
  • LB205 would protect tenants from paying excessive late fees for late payment of rent (introduced by Sen. Hunt).
  • LB128 would help seal tenants’ eviction records so that those records don’t become an unnecessary barrier for tenants to find safe, affordable housing (introduced by Sen. McCollister).
  • LB358 proposes to strengthen current anti-retaliation statutes by prohibiting landlords from retaliating when the tenant complains to the landlord of a code or lease violation or when the tenant exercises a right or remedy available to them by law (introduced by Sen. Hunt).
  • LB45 repeals a provision in law that requires a tenant to show extraordinary cause to obtain a continuance of an eviction hearing. This bill would help to ensure more tenants have the opportunity to appear in their defense against eviction (introduced by Sen. M Hansen).

Get involved:

  • Upcoming hearings are listed here.
  • Find your senator here.
  • Learn more about how to share your views with senators for upcoming hearings here.
  • Stream all hearings and legislative floor debate on NET here.

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!

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: