Tag: Legislature

Medicaid expansion: Acting with urgency for Nebraskans’ health

Nebraska voters approved Initiative 427 on election day this past November to expand Medicaid to 90,000 Nebraskans. Finally, many of our hard-working, uninsured friends and neighbors will be able to get the health coverage that everyone needs. Moving forward with Medicaid expansion We know many are wondering about next steps for expanding Medicaid and how our leaders will deliver on… Read more →

Removing Barriers to Driving for Youth in Foster Care

Yesterday the Judiciary Committee of the Nebraska Legislature heard testimony on a bill that would remove barriers that stand in the way of young people in foster care learning to drive and getting their driver’s license. Learning how to drive and obtaining a driver’s license are not only exciting achievements but also necessities for young people as the pursue their… Read more →

RELEASE – Nebraska organizations applaud passage of predatory lending reform bill

***For Immediate Release*** April 18, 2018   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Mobile: (402) 840-7289 Email: jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Nebraska organizations applaud passage of Predatory Lending Reform bill  Law will be small step forward to curb abusive lending, but future reforms are also needed   LINCOLN — Today Nebraska organizations applaud the Final Reading passage of payday lending reform… Read more →

STATEMENT – Passing Child Welfare Reform bill LB 1078 is important step to curb abuse within foster care system

***For Immediate Release*** March 29, 2018   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Mobile: (402) 840-7289 Email: jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Appleseed Statement on passage of Child Welfare Reform bill LB 1078 Bill takes important steps to curb abuse within foster care system and protect youth   LINCOLN — Thursday, Nebraska Appleseed Child Welfare Director Sarah Helvey released the following statement… Read more →

State Senators introduce Nebraska child welfare reform package

Earlier this month we shared a blog about the state of child welfare in Nebraska when reports were released calling for reform after the investigations of the death, serious injury and sexual assault of children in foster care. Nebraska State Senators have continued to take a stand and call for reforms through the introduction of a number of important bills… Read more →

Appleseed responds to 2018 State of the State address

***For Immediate Release*** January 10, 2018   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 Email: jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould responds to State of the State address Further revenue cuts will worsen budget shortfall, focus must be on investing in healthy communities and educated workforce   LINCOLN — Wednesday, Nebraska Appleseed Executive… Read more →

Appleseed In Action – June 2017 – Protect quality health coverage

News and Events from Nebraska Appleseed – June 2017   In this June edition of “Appleseed in Action”: Protect quality health coverage 2017 Nebraska Legislative Recap President’s budget harmful to Nebraska families Court victory for Nebraska foster youth June events at Urban Abbey Job Opening – Staff Attorney Tell our Senators to protect quality health coverage The numbers were as… Read more →

Take Action – Governor vetoes put kids and families in danger

Nebraska is a state that has learned hard lessons about what can happen to children and families when their needs go unmet. Yet, the Governor keeps making choices that cause further harm to our most-vulnerable Nebraskans. Today, Governor Ricketts issued several line-item vetoes to the state budget (LB 327) that will cause long-lasting harm to the safety of children in… Read more →

STATEMENT: Legislature shows strong support for immigrant and refugee Nebraskans

***For Immediate Release*** May 15, 2017   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Nebraska Appleseed Communications Director Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 Email: jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Legislature adopts resolutions supporting DREAMers and refugees Lawmakers recognize valuable contributions immigrants and refugees make to Nebraska   LINCOLN — Today, the Legislature voted to adopt Legislative Resolutions 26 and 27. LR 26 stated the Legislature’s support for… Read more →

Take Action – Support strong, united communities!

For generations, immigrants and refugee Nebraskans have made valuable contributions to our state – and are an important part of strong communities, local businesses, and Nebraska families. But recent harmful and divisive policies in Washington, D.C. have created fear and uncertainty in many local communities. We have a chance now to show Nebraskans stand with immigrant and refugee neighbors. Early… Read more →

Take Action – Override veto of LB 75 and stand for voting rights

There’s one more hurdle to overcome to protect voting rights for thousands of Nebraskans. Thursday afternoon, Governor Ricketts vetoed LB 75, a bill that would end the arbitrary two-year waiting period for someone to vote after they complete a prison sentence or probation. Will you call or email your State Senator today? Urge them to vote to override the veto… Read more →

Legislative Update – April 24, 2017

It’s the week of budget debate. State Senators will begin debate on the Appropriations Committee’s recommended budget on Tuesday, and we’re urging the protection of important programs that help kids and hard-working families. No vote after debate on dangerous tax bill Friday morning, the Legislature spent three hours debating LB 461 but adjourned without taking a vote. This bill would… Read more →

Take Action – We can’t cripple Nebraska’s future

With a state budget shortfall of more than $1 billion, we have to look for every solution to protect Nebraska’s important public investments that make life better for everyone. Things like good schools, safe roads and highways, and programs that help hard-working families get ahead. But a dangerous tax plan will be up for debate on Friday in the Legislature… Read more →

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… Read more →

RELEASE – Governor’s cuts would lead to more deaths in child welfare system

For Immediate Release                           April 11, 2017   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed (402) 438-8853 (office) (402) 840-7289 (cell) jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Governor’s proposed cuts would lead to more deaths in child welfare system High caseloads and lack of family support will put even more kids’ lives at risk   LINCOLN — Advocating for reform in the child welfare… Read more →

Legislative Update – April 10

There’s no easing into this week as two measures we’re focusing on are up for debate right away on Monday. Restoring the right to vote LB 75 – Introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne, this bill would end the two-year delay before Nebraskans are able to vote after completing their felony sentence or probation. The bill is on the agenda for… Read more →

Take Action – Stop cuts to Nebraska’s child welfare system

We’re asking you to Take Action today to stop possible cuts that would weaken the child welfare system. The Nebraska Legislature’s Appropriations Committee is working on their final budget recommendations and may cut funding for programs that have been important for helping Nebraska’s children find permanency and stability in loving homes. Please call or email State Senators on the Appropriations… Read more →

Nebraska Legislature considers child welfare reforms

Last week was a busy week! The Affordable Care Act was maintained by Congress, thanks to the advocacy of people all over the country. Debates also continued in the Nebraska Legislature on voting rights, mandatory minimums, human trafficking and much more. Something we don’t want you to miss, however, was the advancement of a number of important child welfare legislative… Read more →

Take Action – Tell Legislature to advance Medicaid expansion bill LB 441

Last week, you helped do something incredible. Thanks to your phone calls, your emails, and your decision to show up at town halls and support affordable health coverage, Congress has left the Affordable Care Act in place. This means millions of Americans – and thousands of Nebraskans – will be able to keep their health insurance. But we’ve still got… Read more →

Take Action – Oppose damaging tax plan and protect “The Good Life”

Every time there is a shortfall in our state budget, investments in hard-working Nebraskans are often the first to be cut. Nebraska is facing a budget shortfall of more than $1 billion. Despite this challenge, Governor Ricketts and members of the Legislature are proposing a big income tax cut that won’t do anything for our state’s middle-class and low-income families,… Read more →

Legislative Update – January 23, 2017

Last week marked the final day of bill introduction in the 2017 Nebraska Legislative session. Several bills we consider top priorities were introduced, and we’ll be testifying at several committee hearings this week. Health coverage for hard-working Nebraskans Last week, Sen. Adam Morfeld introduced LB 441, a bill that would allow nearly 100,000 uninsured Nebraskans with low incomes to get… Read more →

Mapping the Coverage Gap

Note: This is a joint blog by Brian Hanson, Senior Policy Associate at the Center For Rural Affairs, and Appleseed Health Care Staff Attorney Molly McCleery.   There was much discussion last spring in Nebraska Legislature about whether we should find a way to help people in our state who fall into the health coverage gap to finally afford health… Read more →

Recap of 2016 Nebraska Legislative Session

The 2016 Nebraska Legislative session ended with a flourish last week with two of Appleseed’s priority bills passing into law! It was a great end to the session. However, while there were some important policies advanced at the State Capitol, this session largely will be remembered as a session of missed opportunities to remove barriers for hard-working Nebraska families. Let’s… Read more →

STATEMENT – Appleseed applauds vote moving LB 947 to Final Reading

***For Immediate Release*** April 7, 2016   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Appleseed Statement on LB 947 Debate Advancing the bill to Final Reading puts us one step closer to fully utilizing the skills and talents in our state   Today, Nebraska Appleseed Immigrants & Communities Director Darcy Tromanhauser issued the… Read more →

Take Action – Let young Nebraskans work for their dreams

One of the best resources Nebraska has for a bright future is hard-working young people who want to follow their career dreams and practice their chosen professions right here in our state. We’re asking you to take action today to help more of these bright young Nebraskans reach their career goals and be part of the next generation of Nebraska… Read more →

Hearing for new health coverage bill draws dozens of supporters

Supporters packed a hearing room at the State Capitol on February 10 for a hearing on LB 1032, the Transitional Health Insurance Program (T-HIP) Act. The new bill, introduced by State Senator John McCollister (LD-20, Omaha), is a new, bipartisan plan to help nearly 77,000 uninsured Nebraskans afford the essential health coverage they need. It also would allow our state… Read more →

Statement – LB 1032 creates path to affordable health coverage for 77,000 Nebraskans

***For Immediate Release*** February 10, 2016   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Nebraska Appleseed Statement supporting Transitional Health Insurance Program Act LB 1032 would create path to affordable health insurance for 77,000 uninsured Nebraskans   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould released the following statement in support… Read more →

Appleseed Statement on DHHS fiscal analysis of LB 1032

Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould released the following statement on the Department of Health and Human Services’ fiscal analysis of LB 1032, the Transitional Health Insurance Program Act. “We have seen these kinds of 11th-hour, taxpayer commissioned reports before from the Department. At the end of the day, what matters is what the Legislative Fiscal Office projects, and that analysis… Read more →

Legislative Update – February 1, 2016

Things are starting to pick up at the State Capitol with several bills that Appleseed is following having hearings this week.   Take Action to fight unfair banking practices All Nebraska families should have access to credit, but Nebraska law currently lets payday lenders charge some of the highest interest rates in the nation. LB 1036 (Sen. Kathy Campbell) would… Read more →

The 101: About the Transitional Health Insurance Program

On January 19, State Senator John McCollister of Omaha introduced LB 1032, the Transitional Health Insurance Program Act. LB 1032 creates the Transitional Health Insurance Program (or “T-HIP”), which would provide health coverage for the 77,000 Nebraskans in the coverage gap. Those people who are eligible to covered by T-HIP include single adults and parents who are ineligible for Medicaid… Read more →

LB 746: The Nebraska Strengthening Families Act

On January 21, the Health and Human Services Committee of the Nebraska Legislature held a hearing on LB 746, the Nebraska Strengthening Families Act (NSFA), a bill that allows “kids to be kids” by removing unnecessary barriers that prevent children in foster care from participating in developmentally appropriate activities like sports, sleepovers, and  extracurricular activities. All testifiers were in support… Read more →

RELEASE – Nebraska Strengthening Families Act would remove barriers for foster youth

***For Immediate Release*** January 21, 2016   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Nebraska Strengthening Families Act, LB 746, set for Thursday hearing Bill will better allow “kids to be kids” by removing barriers to important developmental activities   LINCOLN — Child welfare advocates, young people with experience in foster care… Read more →

Statement on LB 1032, the Transitional Health Insurance Program Act

***For Immediate Release*** January 19, 2016   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Nebraska Appleseed Statement in Support of Transitional Health Insurance Program   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould issued the following statement on LB 1032, the Transitional Health Insurance Program Act, introduced today by State Senator John McCollister.… Read more →

Appleseed Statement on 2016 State of the State Address

***For Immediate Release*** January 14, 2016   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Nebraska Appleseed issues response to 2016 State of the State Address   Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s State of the State Address.   “In his State of the… Read more →

Statement on introduction of Nebraska Strengthening Families Act

For Immediate Release                           January 6, 2016 Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed (402) 438-8853 (office) (402) 840-7289 (cell) jsheldon@neappleseed.org Appleseed Statement on LB 746, the Nebraska Strengthening Families Act New bill will implement a federal law that clears barriers for foster youth to have important developmental experiences   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Child Welfare Director Sarah Helvey… Read more →

New report calls for study of Nebraska’s for-profit Colleges

For Immediate Release                           December 28, 2015   Contact, James Goddard Economic Justice Director, Nebraska Appleseed (402) 570-9462 (cell) jgoddard@neappleseed.org   New report calls for study of Nebraska’s for-profit colleges High student debt, default rates, and limited performance measures warrant Legislative inquiry   LINCOLN — A new report released today by Nebraska Appleseed reveals concerning outcomes for Nebraska’s for-profit colleges… Read more →

RELEASE – Child welfare stakeholder group releases report on improving Normalcy for youth in Foster Care

***For Immediate Release*** October 22, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 Email: jsheldon@neappleseed.org Child welfare group releases new report on Normalcy for foster youth Stakeholders release report in conjunction with interim study on implementing Strengthening Families Act   LINCOLN — Thursday, a group of Nebraska child welfare stakeholders released a new… Read more →

When a lifetime of hard work isn’t enough for health coverage

Nebraskans pride themselves on their hard work and the state’s lowest-in-the-nation unemployment rate. Farmers, ranchers, small business owners, and service workers are the foundation of our state’s success and thriving economy. Unfortunately, many of these fundamental jobs don’t provide health insurance, leaving workers without access to care. Marcia McIlheran of Hastings is one of the 77,000 Nebraskans who, despite working… Read more →

Working together to protect Native children and families

Foster care can provide challenges to many families involved, but Native children and their families experience additional challenges when trying to maintain ties to their tribes and culture.   In 1978, Congress enacted the Indian Child Welfare Act after recognizing the disproportionate number of Native children who were being removed from their homes and placed in foster care. The federal… Read more →

Statewide wave of support carries DREAMers driver’s licenses bill to passage

You Did It! On May 28, the Nebraska Legislature voted 34-10 to pass LB 623 and override the Governor’s veto. Passing this bill makes Nebraska the final state to allow young “DREAMers” – immigrants who grew up in Nebraska after being brought to this country as children – to apply for driver’s licenses. Watch video of final vote But, the bill… Read more →

2015 Nebraska Legislature Wrap-Up

The Nebraska Legislature closed their 2015 session last week, and what a remarkable session it was. Many of Appleseed’s priority bills became law, yet important work remains to address several issues next year. Here’s a look back at the 2015 session.   DREAMers driver’s license bill passes on veto override vote LB 623 – This bill, which makes Nebraska the… Read more →

Take Action – Thank the Legislature for voting to give DREAMers driver’s licenses

Congratulations! You helped make history! On May 28, the Nebraska Legislature voted to override the Governor’s veto of LB 623! With an overwhelming vote of 34-10, the Legislature stood strong and reaffirmed their commitment to these talented, hard-working young Nebraskans. It’s time to say “thank you” to those who supported DREAMers and recognized their contributions to Nebraska. Please contact these… Read more →

Take Action – Tell Legislature to override veto of DREAMers driver’s license bill

We need you to stand up TONIGHT for young immigrant Nebraskans! Wednesday night, the Governor vetoed LB 623 — the bill that would allow young immigrant Nebraskans known as “DREAMers” to apply for driver’s licenses — despite the bill being passed with overwhelming 34-9 support by the Legislature last week. TAKE ACTION We need you to contact your State Senator… Read more →

STATEMENT – Governor’s veto of DREAMers driver’s license bill hurts young Nebraskans integral to communities

***For Immediate Release*** May 27, 2015 Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Appleseed Statement on Governor’s veto of DREAMers driver’s license bill Veto unnecessarily harms young Nebraskans who want to contribute more fully to their communities   LINCOLN — Wednesday night, Nebraska Appleseed Immigrants & Communities Director Darcy Tromanhauser issued the following… Read more →

Legislative Update – May 27

We’re in the final full week of the 2015 Nebraska Legislature’s session, and we have good news from a busy week at the Capitol last week. Senators pass DREAMers driver’s license bill On May 21, the Legislature overwhelmingly voted 34-9 to pass LB 623 on Final Reading and sent the bill to Governor Ricketts. Appleseed joined many other groups including faith,… Read more →

RELEASE – Final passage of bills will help DREAMers, foster youth, and working families

***For Immediate Release*** May 21, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Appleseed praises Legislative votes on Final Reading Friday Bills passing final vote will improve lives of Nebraska DREAMers, children, and working families   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed issued the following statements on bills that were passed on… Read more →

STATEMENT – DREAMers driver’s license bill one round from passage

***For Immediate Release*** May 19, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Appleseed Statement on DREAMers driver’s license bill LB 623 one more vote from passage, allowing young immigrants to contribute more fully to Nebraska   LINCOLN — Tuesday, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould issued the following statement on… Read more →

Legislative Update – May 18

Last week was one of the most noteworthy weeks in the 2015 Nebraska Legislative session with several of Appleseed’s priority bills coming before the body.   DREAMers driver’s license bill advances on General File On May 14, the Legislature overwhelmingly voted 37-8 to advance LB 623 from General File. The bill would make Nebraska the final state in the country… Read more →

STATEMENT – Appleseed praises Legislature for advancing DREAMers driver’s license bill

***For Immediate Release*** May 14, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Appleseed Statement on DREAMers driver’s license bill Advancing LB 623 is another step forward for young immigrant Nebraskans   LINCOLN — This morning, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould released the following statement on the Legislature’s vote to advance… Read more →

Legislative Update – May 11, 2015

With only 13 days left in the 2015 Nebraska Legislative session, time is winding down. Here’s your weekly Legislative Update.   Compromise reached on bill to increase aid to working families It appears Nebraska’s poorest working families may get a measure of help via a compromise announced May 5 to slightly increase payments in the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC)… Read more →

Appleseed In Action – May 2015

5/6/2015 In this May edition of “Appleseed in Action”: Medicaid Redesign Act falls in Legislature Governor’s veto harms poorest families DREAMers driver’s license bill gains statewide support Legislative Update More evidence of crippling injuries in meat and poultry plants Over 100 Nebraska schools eligible to feed all students Primer calls for more accountable funding of child welfare system Medicaid Redesign… Read more →

STATEMENT – Compromise a first step toward stability for Nebraska’s poorest families

***For Immediate Release*** May 5, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Appleseed Statement on working families aid funding Compromise is first step to increase stability for working, low-income families   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould issued the following statement on the announced compromise reached on adding aspects… Read more →

New child welfare funding primer released

Last week, the Nebraska Children’s Commission released a child welfare funding primer focused on Nebraska’s current use of state and federal funding for child welfare and the best ways to leverage those dollars to lead to better outcomes for children who touch the child welfare system. The Nebraska Child Welfare Financing Primer was authored by ChildFocus Inc., in partnership with… Read more →

Legislative Update – May 4, 2015

Last week was quite the week at the State Capitol. The Legislature gave first-round approval to the state budget and debated several of Appleseed’s priority bills.   Governor vetoes bill that fights poverty for hard-working families On Thursday, April 29, Governor Ricketts vetoed LB 89, a bill that fights poverty for Nebraska’s poorest families. LB 89, which passed Final Reading… Read more →

RELEASE – Nebraska must improve accountability, effectiveness in child welfare financing

***For Immediate Release*** April 29, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Nebraska must improve accountability, effectiveness in Child Welfare financing New primer offers recommendations to achieve better outcomes for children in foster care   LINCOLN — Wednesday, Nebraska Appleseed Child Welfare Director Sarah Helvey issued the following statement on the… Read more →

Bureau of Indian Affairs updates Indian Child Welfare Act guidelines

For the first time since 1979, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) updated its Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) guidelines. This is a strong step forward, making important improvements with ICWA compliance and in the lives of native children and families involved in foster care. The BIA is also working to implement many of these new guidelines as enforceable federal… Read more →

Legislative Update – April 27, 2015

Several of Appleseed’s priority bills to help hard-working families and protect Nebraska children received great votes in the Legislature last week! Here is our legislative roundup from last week and what lies ahead this week.   Working Families bill passes Final Reading LB 89 – This bill to raise the payment rate for the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) benefit… Read more →

RELEASE – Appleseed praises passage of LB 89

***For Immediate Release*** April 23, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org     Appleseed Statement on passage of LB 89 Legislature’s vote will strengthen Nebraska’s working families   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould issued the following statement in support of the Legislature’s vote to pass LB… Read more →

Today was a big day in the fight against human trafficking

Today was an important day in the fight against human trafficking in our Nebraska and federal governments. With 34 votes, the Nebraska Legislature advanced LB 294 on General File. The bill increases the penalties for human trafficking and protects victims who are minors from being charged in juvenile court. On the national level, after many months of debate, the U.S. Senate… Read more →

Take Action – Protect minimum wage for hard-working Nebraska students

Last fall, Nebraskans overwhelmingly voted to raise our state’s minimum wage to $9 per hour, but a new bill in the Legislature would strip that fair wage from hard-working young Nebraskans. LB 599 would allow employers to pay high school student workers less than other employees, which is in direct contrast to what Nebraskans voted for last November. The bill… Read more →

Legislative Update – April 20, 2015

Two bills to help working families advanced to Final Reading last week, highlighting a busy week in the Legislature. Here is your Legislative Update for the week of April 20. Working families bills pass Select File It was a good start to last week when two bills to help hard-working families moved to Final Reading on Monday, April 13. LB… Read more →

Legislative Update – April 13

Last week was a great example of the ups and downs of our work in the Nebraska Legislature.   Medicaid Redesign Act voted down On April 8, the Legislature heard debate on LB 472 – the Medicaid Redesign Act. This important bill would have closed the coverage gap that currently leaves more than 70,000 Nebraskans without access to health coverage.… Read more →

STATEMENT – Appleseed lauds vote to advance DREAMers driver’s license bill LB 623

***For Immediate Release*** April 10, 2015 Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Appleseed praises Transportation Committee for advancing LB 623 Bill allows young immigrant Nebraskans to contribute more fully to their communities   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Immigrants & Communities Director Darcy Tromanhauser issued the following statement on the Legislature’s… Read more →

STATEMENT – Failure to advance LB 472 leaves 77,000 Nebraskans without coverage

***For Immediate Release*** April 8, 2015 Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Appleseed Statement on Legislature’s decision not to advance LB 472   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould released the following statement on the Legislature’s decision not to advance LB 472 – the Medicaid Redesign Act. “Today’s vote was… Read more →

STATEMENT – Legislature must pass LB 472 to close the coverage gap

***For Immediate Release*** April 8, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Appleseed urges Legislature to pass LB 472 to close coverage gap Medicaid Redesign Act would enhance healthcare access, boost economy   LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould released the following statement in support of LB… Read more →

Legislative Update – April 6

Nebraska Appleseed’s Legislative Update News and Updates from the Nebraska Unicameral April 6, 2015   This is shaping up to be one of the biggest weeks of the Legislative session for Appleseed’s priority bills.   Medicaid Redesign Act set for debate Wednesday afternoon, the Legislature will begin debate on LB 472 – the Medicaid Redesign Act. Passing this crucial bill… Read more →

Legislative Update – March 30

Nebraska Appleseed’s Legislative Update News and Updates from the Nebraska Unicameral March 30, 2015   Last week marked the first week of full-day debate in the Legislature, and one of Appleseed’s priority bills is on the agenda for this week.   Child care “cliff effect” bill set for debate this week LB 81 – This bill introduced by Sen. Tanya… Read more →

RELEASE – Over 170 Nebraska faith leaders urge Unicameral support for health coverage bill

***For Immediate Release*** March 17, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 Email: jsheldon@neappleseed.org Rev. Keith Nelson Omaha Together One Community Clergy Caucus Mobile: 402-304-3648 Email: OTOCforNebraska@gmail.com More than 170 Nebraska faith leaders sign letter of support for Medicaid Redesign Act Faith leaders urge State Senators to pass LB 472 for health… Read more →

Legislative Update – March 16

Nebraska Appleseed’s Legislative Update News and Updates from the Nebraska Unicameral March 16, 2015 Last week, committees met and discussed two of Appleseed’s top priority bills, but we still await action on one of them during this final week of committee hearings. HHS Committee advances LB 472 to the floor On March 10, the Health and Human Services Committee voted… Read more →

New report shows Minority working families in Nebraska are falling behind

***For Immediate Release*** March 16, 2015 Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org Report: Minority Working Families in Nebraska falling behind Latino Immigrants at Greatest Risk; Study Concludes State Can Address the Problem LINCOLN – A new study concludes that a sharp racial and ethnic divide has emerged within the world of low-income… Read more →

Closing the Coverage Gap Can Help Pay for Prison Reform

Nebraska is currently facing serious issues with its corrections system, primarily, the level of overcrowding and the resulting cost of corrections operations. Nebraska’s corrections facilities are currently at more than 160 percent of capacity. One way to address overcrowding is to make sure those who leave corrections facilities do not return due to reoffending. Studies show that ensuring that previous… Read more →

TAKE ACTION – Support DREAMers driver’s license bill

Today is a very important moment to support a bill that affects young immigrant Nebraskans and their ability to contribute to their communities. We’re asking you to contact members of the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee and urge their support for LB 623. LB 623 would allow young immigrant Nebraskans who qualify for DACA to apply for driver’s licenses. (DACA… Read more →

Workers’ compensation cuts are putting injured workers into poverty

Last Wednesday, ProPublica and NPR launched a detailed and extensive series on the troubling trend of states reducing workers’ compensation benefits over the past 10 years. These reductions – drastic in some states – have left workers who were injured on the job without support for medical treatment and recovery to get back to work. In fact, the report states… Read more →

New Report shows increased workforce need for Adult Basic Education

Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Report: More investment in Adult Basic Education would improve Nebraska workforce Hard-working Nebraskans need more skills to compete in changing economy   LINCOLN — A new report released Monday shows Nebraska’s need to invest more in Adult Basic Education (ABE). The report, “Adult Education in… Read more →

Young immigrant driver’s license bill draws statewide support

***For Immediate Release*** March 3, 2015 Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Young immigrants driver’s license bill draws statewide support LB 623 would allow DACA recipients to contribute more to their communities LINCOLN — Tuesday, Nebraska agricultural, safety, youth, and immigrant leaders issued statements of support for LB 623 in advance… Read more →

Come to LB 472 Lobby Day – March 5

Right now, more than 54,000 working Nebraskans have no way to afford health insurance This coverage gap results in enormous human and financial costs that can no longer be ignored. The Nebraska Legislature can close this coverage gap in 2015 by passing LB 472, and you can make your voice heard! Join us for a lobby day at the Capitol on March 5th… Read more →

Legislature votes down Voter ID bill. Thank State Senators for protecting voting rights

Today, the Nebraska Legislature voted down LB 111 – an unnecessary and harmful voter suppression bill that would have been a barrier to vote for many eligible Nebraska voters. This action will protect the right to vote for many of our friends and neighbors including people with low incomes, people who move frequently, college students, and people with disabilities. Please… Read more →

A healthy boost to Nebraska’s economy

With LB 472, the Medicaid Redesign Act, Nebraska has the opportunity to close the coverage gap by creating a path to health care coverage for 54,000 Nebraskans. In addition to providing health insurance for many uninsured Nebraskans, LB 472 would significantly benefit our state’s economy:   It’s good for individuals and families Medical debt currently contributes to a significant portion… Read more →

Legislative Update – 02/17/2015

Harmful voter suppression bill debated this week Today the Legislature began floor debate on harmful voter suppression bill LB 111. Appleseed was one of many groups to oppose this bill in a committee hearing because it will be an unnecessary barrier to vote for many groups of voters including seniors, people with low incomes, and students. The debate is expected… Read more →

Appleseed statement on working families support bill LB 89

***For Immediate Release*** February 6, 2015   Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org   Nebraska Appleseed statement on LB 89 heard by HHS Committee Friday Bill would help Nebraska families to stay together while rewarding hard work   Friday, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould issued the following statement in support of… Read more →

Legislative Update

This is your weekly Nebraska Legislature update. Committee Hearings last week Appleseed testified on several bills during Legislature committee hearings last week. LB 12 – A bill to streamline the Medicaid process for eligible Nebraskans who enter and leave the criminal justice system. This bill will improve health care access while saving costs in the corrections system. Appleseed testified in… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed statement on Nebraska Legislature Voter ID bills

***For Immediate Release*** January 23, 2015 Contact: Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 jsheldon@neappleseed.org LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould issued the following statement on the proposed voter ID bills LB 111 and LB 121 heard by the Legislature’s Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee this afternoon. “LB 111 and LB 121… Read more →

STATEMENT – Business, faith, education, and health care groups support LB 472

***For Immediate Release*** Contact: Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 Email: jsheldon@neappleseed.org LINCOLN — Today a coalition of more than 20 business, health care, education, faith and community groups issued a joint statement in support of LB 472, introduced today by State Senator Kathy Campbell, that would close the coverage gap that currently leaves more… Read more →

ACTION ALERT – Tell your State Senator to Close the Coverage Gap

Today, a bill was introduced in the Legislature that would close Nebraska’s health coverage gap and fix a problem that currently inflicts high human and financial costs on our state. We hope you’ll act today to show your support. We’re asking you to contact your state senator and urge them to support LB 472, to make health care make sense for… Read more →

Legislative Update – January 12, 2015

The 2015 Nebraska Legislative session convened on January 7th with the election of committee chairs and committee placements. Congratulations to Senator Galen Hadley of Kearney for being elected Speaker of the Legislature. Click here for a full list of committee placements Bill introduction began on January 8th. Here is a look at some bills Appleseed will be monitoring this session.… Read more →

The Costs of the Coverage Gap in Nebraska are Too High to Ignore

On December 2, Nebraska state senators again witnessed the high human and financial cost our state is paying by not closing the coverage gap that leaves at least 54,000 working people unable to get health insurance. The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee convened for a hearing on interim study LR 601 to study the effects of implementing or failing… Read more →

Legislative Update

The 2014 Legislative session comes to a close this week when senators adjourn sine die on Thursday.  We’re pleased to let you know several of our big priority bills passed this session! Let’s take a quick look back at the highlights at the Capitol in 2014. Immigration reform resolution passes last week LR 399 (Sen. Wightman) – In the closing… Read more →

Rally to support opportunities for Nebraska’s hardworking families

On Tuesday, the Nebraska Legislature voted down LB 943, a bill that would have raised Nebraska’s minimum wage to $9 per hour for hourly employees and increased the minimum wage for workers who earn tips to 70 percent of that standard minimum wage.  Introduced by Sen. Nordquist, with the tipped minimum wage amendment from Sen. Lathrop, the bill received 20… Read more →

Legislative Update

We are just seven days away from the close of the 2014 Nebraska Legislature session and several important bills await debate, and hopefully passage.  Read on to see how your voice can influence these debates and get caught up on the Legislature action from last week. Legislature fails to pass bill to raise minimum wage for hard-working families LB 943… Read more →

Health Care Supporters Vow To Keep Fighting

Last week, a group of state senators left 54,000 uninsured Nebraskans without a path to health care coverage when they filibustered LB 887 – the Wellness In Nebraska Act that would have helped Nebraskan with low incomes get affordable health insurance. But Wednesday, state senators who have shown leadership on health care access joined advocates at the State Capitol for… Read more →

Please thank the senators who fought for hard-working, uninsured Nebraskans

As you may have seen this morning, LB 887, the Wellness in Nebraska Act, that would have provided a path to affordable health insurance for at least 54,000 uninsured Nebraskans, was filibustered this morning. The vote to end debate was 27-21, with 33 votes necessary to end debate. While this is a disappointing outcome, we will continue to work with… Read more →

Legislature denies health care access to 54,000 Nebraskans

Today’s failure to pass the Wellness in Nebraska Act hurts 54,000 of our hard-working families, neighbors, and friends, who now must continue to live and suffer without proper access to health care by having no options for affordable insurance,” Gould said.  “This decision also hurts our state, by missing the opportunity to make real and positive improvements in our broader… Read more →

Legislative Update

Last week was the first week of full-day debate at the Legislature, and several of Appleseed’s priority bills were on the move. LB 853 – This bill, which implements stakeholder recommendations to implement the Bridge to Independence program passed on General File on March 7.  This bill will be important to ensure a solid start to the Bridge to Independence… Read more →

Legislative Update

Last week was the first week of full-day debate at the Legislature, and several of Appleseed’s priority bills were on the move. LB 853 – This bill, which implements stakeholder recommendations to implement the Bridge to Independence program passed on General File on March 7.  This bill will be important to ensure a solid start to the Bridge to Independence… Read more →

Legislative Update

Last week was the final week of committee hearings in the 2014 Nebraska legislative session, which means the rest of the session will feature full days of floor debate starting today. Appleseed’s priority bills will be up for debate over the next couple of weeks and we will be sending you notices at key moments to take action on important… Read more →

Appleseed statement on LB887 advancing to floor of the Legislature

Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould issued the following statement on LB887, the Wellness In Nebraska Act, being advanced to the floor of the Legislature by the HHS Committee. “We strongly support today’s decision by the HHS Committee to advance LB 887 to the floor of the Legislature.  WIN will provide essential and affordable health insurance coverage for 54,000 of our… Read more →

Minimum wage bill gets priority designation

A bill to raise Nebraska’s minimum wage to $9 per hour received a priority designation Thursday when its introducer, State senator Jeremy Nordquist, designated LB 943 his priority bill for this Legislative session. Appleseed is a strong supporter of this bill, which would help more hard-working Nebraskans make ends meet and be a step toward rebuilding our middle class. Read… Read more →

Legislative Update – February 11, 2014

A couple of Appleseed’s top priority bills received committee hearings last week, and priority bill designation has begun.  Get caught up and see how you can get involved in this week’s Legislative Update. Appleseed testifies in support of bipartisan resolution calling for common-sense immigration laws On February 5th, Appleseed joined a large group of faith, business, and community leaders to… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed Statement on LR 399 to recommend supporting new, common-sense immigration laws

Today, Nebraska Appleseed Immigrants & Communities Director Darcy Tromanhauser released the following statement on LR 399, which was heard Wednesday afternoon by the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee. “Fixing our outdated immigration system is long overdue. Our antiquated immigration laws needlessly separate thousands of Nebraska families and prevent many people who already work hard, pay taxes, and contribute to our communities from… Read more →

Legislative Update – February 4, 2014

Two of Appleseed’s priority bills were heard in committee last week with several additional important bills up for hearings this week.  Read more about Appleseed’s stances and learn how you can get involved. Wellness In Nebraska supporters pack HHS Committee Hearing On January 29, dozens of supporters packed a State Capitol room to testify in support of LB 887, the… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed Statement on LB 943 to increase the state minimum wage

Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould release the following statement about LB 943, which was heard Monday by the Legislature’s Business and Labor Committee. “Hard work is a core value in Nebraska. Our state boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and one of the highest rates of parents participating in the workforce. But our economy… Read more →

Appleseed statement on Wellness In Nebraska bill, LB 887

***For Immediate Release*** January 29, 2014 PRESS RELEASE: Statement on Wellness In Nebraska bill, LB 887. WIN would extend health insurance access to at least 54,000 working Nebraskans. LINCOLN — Today, the Nebraska Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on LB 887, which would provide health insurance coverage to 54,000 working Nebraskans that will otherwise remain uninsured.… Read more →

Legislative Update – January 28, 2014

Committee hearings on bills began last week, and Appleseed testified on several bills of interest.  We will be testifying on more of our priority bills this week during the first full week of committee hearings. Hearing on Wellness In Nebraska bill Wednesday LB 887 – The “Wellness In Nebraska Act” (WIN) would provide health insurance to at least 54,000 Nebraskans.… Read more →

Legislative Update

It’s a busy time in the Nebraska Legislature as bill introduction concludes this week and committee hearings begin.  Several key bills that Appleseed is closely following were introduced last week and still more will be in committee hearings this week. Appleseed responds to Governor’s State of the State Address Governor Heineman issued his State of the State Address on Wednesday,… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed Statement in support of LB928 ICWA bill

Today, Nebraska Appleseed issued the following statement on LB928 introduced by Senator Colby Coash and the State-Tribal Relations Committee. “Nebraska Appleseed enthusiastically supports LB928 introduced by Senator Colby Coash and the State-Tribal Relations Committee,” said Robert McEwen, a staff attorney with Nebraska Appleseed’s Child Welfare Program. “This bill would add much-needed clarity to Nebraska’s state ICWA statute, removing legal ambiguity… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed Statement on Governor’s State of the State Address

Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s State of the State Address. “This morning, Governor Heineman laid out his priorities for the next year in his State of the State Address. We agree with the Governor that Nebraskans value family, hard work, and fiscal responsibility and that the actions we take… Read more →

Legislative Update

The 2014 Nebraska Legislature began this year’s 60-day session last week, and each week we will provide an update on bills related to Appleseed’s programs.  It’s been a busy start to the session already, and a number of bills have been introduced that Appleseed is excited about. Wellness In Nebraska provides uniquely Nebraskan solution to health care LB 887 –… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed statement on Wellness In Nebraska bill LB 887

Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould released the following statement on LB 887, which would help more working Nebraskans get access to affordable health care coverage. “A strong economy, a productive workforce, and a thriving future for our state all depend on having a health care system that works for all Nebraskans.  LB 887 would provide health insurance to… Read more →

One step closer to Bridge to Independence for youth aging out of foster care

With 2014 just around the bend, we are closer than ever to local implementation of a program that has had child welfare advocates buzzing for years.  This program, recently titled Bridge to Independence by members of Project Everlast, will voluntarily extend services and support to age 21 for youth aging out of foster care.  This program was created by the… Read more →

Sign online petition supporting responsible tax system in Nebraska

The Nebraska Tax Modernization Committee has finished up its series of public hearings and is now meeting to come up with recommendations for the future of our state’s tax system. We have one more way we would like our state senators to hear from you. Please consider signing this online petition started by Rebuild Nebraska telling our senators you believe… Read more →

Introducing the 2013 Jim Wolf Equal Justice Award honoree – Sen. John Harms

On October 10, we will celebrate the outstanding contributions of Nebraskans who have stood up for justice and opportunity for all at the 2013 Good Apple Awards in Omaha.  In the days leading up to the Good Apple Awards, we are proud to introduce you to the honorees we are recognizing this year. The Jim Wolf Equal Justice Award recognizes… Read more →

Take Action – Add your voice to Nebraska tax discussion

Our state’s tax system affects every Nebraska family, and changes in tax policy can have big implications especially to families that make low incomes. To make sure our tax system is fair for our state’s lowest-earning families, Appleseed is keeping a close eye on the discussion about possible changes to Nebraska’s tax system made by the Legislature’s Tax Modernization Committee.… Read more →

Appleseed Summer Law Clerks and Interns – Meet Catherine Larsen

Note: Each year, Nebraska Appleseed is fortunate to work with a number of bright, talented law clerks and interns. This is one of a series of posts that feature Appleseed’s clerks and interns discussing their backgrounds and experiences. Name: Catherine Larsen Position: Legislative Intern Hometown: Omaha About me: “I have lived in Nebraska my entire life. I will start my… Read more →

New Study: Risky tax plan likely would raise taxes for most Nebraskans

Today, OpenSky Policy Institute, a nonpartisan Nebraska organization dedicated to fiscal research and analysis, released results of a new study on what a large cut in the state’s income tax could mean for our state’s economy. The results indicate Nebraska would send a large chunk of revenue out of state if it implemented a risky tax structure that recently has… Read more →

Appleseed joins Rebuild Nebraska to protect The Good Life

A critical debate is underway in Nebraska about our current tax system.  The Legislature created the Nebraska Tax Modernization Committee to examine these issues.  This group, composed of 14 state senators, will hold meetings the rest of the year to decide what, if any, changes need to be made to our state’s tax structure. As part of that process, the… Read more →

Two bills passed this session encourage government transparency and accountability

During the last couple weeks of the legislative session, the Nebraska Legislature passed two bills that seek to increase the accountability and transparency of Nebraska’s state government. While these bills haven’t received as much public attention as some other bills, we wanted to highlight them because we think they will go a long way to make the system more fair.… Read more →

Legislative Update

Green Lights In the Capitol’s legislative chamber, there is a large sign listing each Senator’s name. When a Senator votes in favor of a bill, a light next to their name turns bright green. “Green Lights” highlights the passage of bills that advance justice and opportunity in Nebraska. LB 216 – The “Young Adult Voluntary Services and Support Act” introduced… Read more →

One Step Closer to a Bright Future

Groups of young Nebraskans waiting in the Capitol lobby to speak with senators has become a regular occurrence this legislative session when LB 216, the bill to extend voluntary services and support to age 21 for young people who age out of foster care, is a topic of discussion. Tuesday was no different, with members and staff of Project Everlast… Read more →

Legislative Update

Green Lights In the Capitol’s legislative chamber, there is a large sign listing each Senator’s name. When a Senator votes in favor of a bill, a light next to their name turns bright green. “Green Lights” highlights the passage of bills that advance justice and opportunity in Nebraska. LB 99 – This bill, sponsored by Sen. Heath Mello, increases and… Read more →

Take Action TODAY: Remove barriers facing youth who age out of foster care

Nebraska’s current foster care system results in poor outcomes for too many young people who age out of foster care.  We miss out on their human potential and a stronger workforce because of the barriers they face in becoming successful adults. But we have a chance to remove those barriers TODAY when the Legislature is scheduled to debate LB 216.… Read more →

Crowd rallies at Capitol to urge senators to bring Medicaid bill to a vote

There are days when we at Nebraska Appleseed are especially proud of the work we do and the wonderful friends, partners, and supporters who we stand with. Yesterday was one of those days when 300 supporters gathered at the State Capitol to show their support for LB 577, the bill that would extend Medicaid to 54,000 uninsured Nebraskans, bring more… Read more →

Legislative Update

Green Lights In the Capitol’s legislative chamber, there is a large sign listing each Senator’s name. When a Senator votes in favor of a bill, a light next to their name turns bright green. “Green Lights” highlights the passage of bills that advance justice and opportunity in Nebraska. LB 195 – (the mainline budget bill) and accompanying budget bills: The… Read more →

Free public presentation on the Affordable Care Act in Omaha – May 10

Join us in Omaha on Friday, May 10 for a free presentation on the Affordable Care Act and the new Medicaid program being debated in the Legislature.  This program is hosted by First United Methodist Church – Omaha. Nebraska Appleseed attorney Jerusha Hancock will answer your questions, tell you how the new health care reform law will work for you,… Read more →

Make your voice heard on Facebook and Twitter to help bring Medicaid bill to a vote

Today, we’re asking all our supporters to take a moment to help bring LB 577 to a vote and help 54,000 uninsured, working Nebraskans to get health care coverage while returning $2.3 billion to our state’s economy. A small group of state senators are preventing this bill from coming up for a vote.  That is not how important decisions should… Read more →

Take Action – Help Medicaid bill get a vote!

A crucial piece of legislation is being obstructed in the Legislature.  We need your help! LB 577, the bill that would extend Medicaid coverage, would help 54,000 uninsured, working Nebraskans get access to health care.  It would provide security to our rural hospitals, our working families, and our veterans.  It is beneficial to our economy, returning $2.3 billion to our… Read more →

Success Beyond 18 launches to give young people a better path to success

Monday, young people with experience in foster care teamed up with legislators and child welfare experts from across the country to head to Washington D.C., and help launch Success Beyond 18, a national campaign of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative to create a better path for young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood. Speakers included Gary Stangler, Executive… Read more →

CBPP paper shows Medicaid saves lives and dollars

A new policy paper from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities offers an excellent overview of Medicaid, the state-federal partnership program that provides health care coverage to millions of low-income children and adults. The data is clear – Medicaid is a cost-effective program that saves lives and money. Some of the highlights from the report include: Expansions of Medicaid… Read more →

Legislative Update

Green Lights In the Capitol’s legislative chamber, there is a large sign listing each Senator’s name. When a Senator votes in favor of a bill, a light next to their name turns bright green. “Green Lights” highlights the passage of bills that advance justice and opportunity in Nebraska. LB 240 – A bill introduced by Sen. John Harms that allows… Read more →

Take Action to support accessible and high quality child care

Every Nebraska child should be safe while their parents are working, so affordable, quality child care is vital to allow our state’s families to be strong. You have a chance today to take action to strengthen working Nebraska families.  Please call your senator and ask them to support LB 507, “The Step Up to Child Care Act.” Each year about… Read more →

Understanding how the new Medicaid program is a firm commitment

There was much hand-wringing earlier this week from opponents of LB 577, the bill that would implement the new, extended Medicaid program in Nebraska, when it was announced the federal government would be reducing its funding for our state’s existing Medicaid program by $8 million next year. Opponents would love to use this reduction as a sign of the instability… Read more →

Legislative Update

New Medicaid program bill debated in Legislature LB 577, the bill to implement the Affordable Care Act’s new Medicaid option, took center stage in the Legislature this week.  Senators engaged in day-long debate on April 16 and 17. LB 577 would provide affordable health care access to 54,000 Nebraskans while saving the state $2.4 million this biennium.  It is a… Read more →

Medicaid Covers People in a Cost-Efficient Way

The new Medicaid program offers Nebraska a way to provide health care to tens of thousands of people in our state who need it most.  Next week, lawmakers will debate LB 577, which would implement the new Medicaid program in Nebraska. But why Medicaid? Basically, because Medicaid is the most cost-effective means of insuring low-income individuals and families. We know… Read more →

Legislative Update

Take Action to Support Important Bills in Legislature Last week the Legislature did not debate any of Appleseed’s priority bills.  But this week a key child welfare bill is on the agenda.  So your senators need to hear from you on a number of important bills this week. Vital transition services for youth aging out of foster care scheduled for… Read more →

Young People ask State Senators to Extend Voluntary Services and Support to 21

On January 31, young people from Project Everlast joined Senator Amanda McGill and other advocates to speak out in support of LB 216 – the Young Adult Voluntary Services and Support Act. LB 216, introduced by Senator McGill, would remove barriers facing young people who age out of foster care by extending voluntary services and support to the age of… Read more →

Legislative Update

Green Lights In the Capitol’s legislative chamber, there is a large sign listing each Senator’s name. When a Senator votes in favor of a bill, a light next to their name turns bright green. “Green Lights” highlights the passage of bills that advance justice and opportunity in Nebraska. With action picking up on the floor of the Legislature, here are… Read more →

AARP survey shows majority of Nebraskans support new Medicaid program

A new survey released today conducted by AARP Nebraska shows the majority of Nebraskans support the new Medicaid program, implemented by LB 577, which would provide health care access to at least 54,000 uninsured people in our state. AARP Nebraska released the results of the survey at a press conference today at the State Capitol.  The survey, which polled 600… Read more →

Legislative Update

Bills Coming out of Committee LB 577 – It was wonderful news for the health of Nebraska’s people and economy when this bill, which would implement the Affordable Care Act’s new Medicaid program in our state, was advanced out of the Health and Human Services Committee this week.  LB 577 is a good opportunity and a real solution to provide… Read more →

LB 309: Creating a more efficient public service delivery system

When the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) started the initiative called ACCESS Nebraska, the goal was to modernize service delivery in public programs by moving to a system with increased reliance on technology and fewer personal caseworkers. But, since its creation, clients have experienced many problems with the new system, including lost documents, long call wait times, and… Read more →

Bill would combat Nebraska’s high level of food hardship

Recently, the Food Research Research and Action Center (FRAC) released a new report examining the national percentage of households facing a food hardship – not having enough money to buy the food they or their families need. According to the report ”Food Hardship in America 2012” Nebraska has a food hardship rate of 13.8 percent.   Although this is better than… Read more →

Legislative Update

Here is your weekly Legislative Update from Nebraska Appleseed. Wage subsidy program a win-win for Nebraska businesses and workers LB 368 – This bill, introduced by Senator Sue Crawford, would create a subsidized employment pilot program within the Department of Health and Human Services, which would allow employers to grow their businesses and allow low-income workers to gain meaningful job… Read more →

Voter suppression bill undermines Nebraskans’ right to vote

Voting is an American right – and making voting harder is not a Nebraska value. LB 381 mandates a restrictive and unnecessary voter identification system, puts a greater burden on our already overburdened election workers, and undermines our democracy by creating barriers to voting for many older Nebraskans who no longer drive, young voters and students who move frequently, people… Read more →

Voter Suppression Bill LB 381 undermines Nebraskans’ right to vote

LB 381, a voter suppression bill that restricts voting access, will be heard by the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee today. Voting is an American right – and making voting harder is neither Constitutional, nor a Nebraska value. This bill mandates a restrictive and unnecessary voter identification system, puts a greater burden on our already overburdened election workers, and… Read more →

Appleseed proud to support LB 577 for greater health care access for Nebraskans

If you’ve been a follower of Appleseed for very long at all, you will have gathered one of our biggest priorities is making sure every Nebraskan has the ability to see a doctor when they or their families become sick or injured. Yesterday, Appleseed was proud to testify in support of LB 577, Senator Kathy Campbell’s bill that would implement… Read more →

Accessible public records important for government accountability

Nebraska’s Open Records Act is an important safeguard for ordinary Nebraskans that helps to ensure that our government remains transparent, accountable and accessible.  Indeed, it is important for government agencies to comply with requests to view public records with reasonable speed and at reasonable cost. That is why Appleseed is supporting LB 363, a bill introduced by Senator Bill Avery,… Read more →

Legislative Update

Because of the snow storm Thursday, the Legislature canceled hearings for Feb. 21.  Those hearings have been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 5 at 9:15 a.m. Appleseed did testify on a number of bills in committee last week Health Care Access LB 568 – In its original form, this bill would have required a restrictive licensing process for navigators who will… Read more →

New Video: Medicaid program a win-win for Nebraska

We know Medicaid already works in Nebraska, helping children and low-income working families to see a doctor when they get sick.  It works for our state’s economy too, with studies estimating every dollar spent on Medicaid eventually produces at least seven dollars for our local economy. Now, we have a great opportunity to embrace a real solution to provide health… Read more →

Legislative Update

Appleseed testified on a number of bills in committee last week Foster Care Reimbursement Rates LB 530 – A bill that increases reimbursements for foster families to better meet the needs of children in foster care, establishes a pilot project for a new method of determining rates, and extends the Children’s Commission and its subcommittees until 2016. Appleseed testified in… Read more →

Legislative Update

Last week, Appleseed testified on several bills at the Legislature Appleseed Opposes Harmful Tax Policy LB 405 and LB 406 – Two harmful bills that would create a regressive tax structure by eliminating the state income and corporate taxes and eliminate sales tax exemptions.  Appleseed joined the overwhelming opposition to these two bills. Appleseed encourages a thorough, thoughtful discussion on Nebraska’s tax system,… Read more →

Appleseed joins dozens of testifiers opposing regressive tax plan

Yesterday, Appleseed joined dozens of testifiers from around the state – farmers and business leaders, college students and faith groups, health care administrators and advocates – in opposing the regressive tax plan laid out in LB 405. In a hearing that went for nine-and-a-half hours, Nebraskans from all over the state waited well into the night to tell the Revenue… Read more →

Regressive tax plan would threaten “The Good Life”

We oppose LB 405 because it would result in a regressive tax structure that puts that good life at risk.  By depleting a significant portion of revenue for the state, this proposal reverses the investments we have made for generations in the very things that make Nebraska strong – great public education, safe communities, and healthy families.  We recognize the… Read more →

Appleseed testifies in support of bills to protect hardworking Nebraska employees

Monday, Nebraska Appleseed staff testified in front of the Legislature’s Business and Labor Committee on several bills aimed at encouraging honest employment practices and protecting hardworking Nebraskans. Darcy Tromanhauser, Director of the Immigrant Integration and Community Participation Program, testified in support of LB 560 which seeks to prevent wage theft in Nebraska and ensure that a day’s work equals a… Read more →

Legislative Update

Child Welfare takes center stage on January 31 Nebraska Appleseed’s Child Welfare team took to the Capitol on Thursday, January 31, along with other partners, stakeholders, and young people with foster care experience in support of several bills that would continue to improve our state’s child welfare system. LB 216 – Thursday morning, Appleseed joined members of Project Everlast, Mary… Read more →

A Successful Ascent to Adulthood

Nebraska is a state where we take care of our kids and want them to have a real opportunity to be productive, healthy, and engaged members of our community as adults. To that end, Appleseed took to the Capitol on Thursday with members of Project Everlast and other partners to advocate for LB 216 – the Young Adult Voluntary Services… Read more →

Legislative Update

Last week was a busy week in the Nebraska Legislature as bill introduction finished up Wednesday, January 23.  Several significant bills that Appleseed sees as priorities were introduced, as well as other bills Appleseed has a great interest in. ACA’s Medicaid program provides for a healthier Nebraska workforce and economy LB 577 – Wednesday, Senator Kathy Campbell, along with 11 co-sponsors,… Read more →

Statement on the introduction of bills establishing more adequate ADC & foster care rates

Today, Senator Kathy Campbell introduced LB 508, a bill to incrementally increase the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) rate in Nebraska to a more adequate level.  Also today, Senator Annette Dubas introduced LB 530, a bill which, among other things, directs the Nebraska Department of Health and Human services to implement the recommendations of the Foster Care Reimbursement Rate Committee… Read more →

Statement on bill to repeal prenatal health care

Today, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould issued the following statement on LB 518, a repeal of prenatal health care for all Nebraska women. “We are very disappointed to learn of this effort to undermine the health of Nebraska children by denying access to prenatal care.  Last year, the Legislature had a thoughtful and deliberate discussion on providing prenatal care to low-income… Read more →

Legislative Update

News and Updates from the Nebraska Unicameral Every week during the 2013 Legislative session, Nebraska Appleseed will publish a Legislative Update. In these updates we will keep you informed on the progression of bills Appleseed is interested in, including Legislative testimony given by Appleseed staff, as well as ways you can get involved and make your voice heard on the… Read more →

New Medicaid program gaining momentum as states recognize benefits

As state Legislatures come back into session this month and budget discussions begin, the new Medicaid option under the Affordable Care Act is gaining momentum. In the past week alone, the governors of Arizona and North Dakota, who both had previously spoken out against the ACA, included the new Medicaid plan in their budgets because of the economic benefits that… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed issues statement on the introduction of the Young Adult Voluntary Services and Support Act (LB 216)

Today, Senator Amanda McGill introduced LB 216, a bill to extend services and support to young people who transition, or “age out,” of the foster care system to age 21 as allowed by the federal Fostering Connections Act.  Nebraska Appleseed Child Welfare Director Sarah Helvey made the following statement in response: “LB 216, the Young Adult Voluntary Services and Support… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed issues response to State of the State Address

Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s State of the State Address today. “This morning, Governor Heineman laid out his priorities for the next year in his State of the State Address.  We agree that the State of Nebraska is strong and a great place to live.  Because of this, we are… Read more →

The Rural Implications of Health Insurance Coverage in Nebraska

The Center for Rural Affairs recently released a new report on health insurance coverage in Nebraska. The report highlights the need for full implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Nebraska, including the new Medicaid program. Our rural counties have higher rates of uninsured, as well as poorer health outcomes, than our cities. The new Medicaid program could cut the… Read more →

Appleseed 2012 Year in Review – Welcoming new Nebraskans for stronger, united communities

This is part of a series looking back on Nebraska Appleseed’s work in 2012. Nebraska Appleseed believes communities in which all people are welcome and engaged become stronger and more enriched.  Our work in 2012 pursued the goals of creating a stronger Nebraska by fighting for the rights of new Americans. Promoting Common-Sense Immigration Laws Appleseed believes we need a… Read more →

The Cost and Coverage Implications of the New Medicaid Program

Linda Manns from Bellevue had health insurance all her life, until she recently lost her job as a certified nurse assistant.  Linda has diabetes, which kept her from working mandatory overtime her employer required, which she said resulted in her being let go. Recently, Linda got an infection in her toe.  Without health insurance, she couldn’t afford to go to the… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed Statement on Nebraska’s health insurance exchange plan

Today, Governor Heineman announced that the state would default to a federally facilitated exchange in Nebraska.  Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca L. Gould issued the following statement in response: “Now that Nebraska has decided the federal government will facilitate our exchange, Nebraska Appleseed looks forward to working with federal and state officials to ensure the system is focused on the… Read more →

Appleseed testifies for Nebraska to offer additional support for youth after foster care

As the Nebraska Legislature moves forward with reform of our broken child welfare system, much focus has rightly been on the “front door” of the system. One group that hasn’t been talked about as much are the young people who age out the “back door” of the system and how they fare as they make this transition. Today, Nebraska Appleseed’s… Read more →

Wage subsidy bill would help put more Nebraskans to work

The great work ethic of Nebraska’s labor force is one of the most important drivers of our economy.  Nebraskans work hard, and our businesses – especially small businesses – count on that hard work for success and economic growth.  At the same time, Nebraska’s working people need new opportunities to earn family supporting wages. That’s why Nebraska Appleseed testified Thursday… Read more →

Crucial improvements necessary for ACCESS Nebraska system

Tuesday, the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee held an interim study on the progress made by ACCESS Nebraska, the state’s new public benefit delivery system. ACCESS Nebraska was designed to modernize the public benefits system and improve efficiency, but there have been many problems that have occurred as a result of the transition.  At the hearing, several Nebraskans testified… Read more →

The Power of a Voice – Sen. McGill thanks youth for sharing their perspectives on the foster care system

“Your voice does matter to state senators, and your voice CAN make a difference.” These powerful words were spoken by Senator Amanda McGill in her modernized version of a thank you card to the more than 100 youth who participated in statewide focus groups and/or responded to surveys about an extended services and support to 21 program this summer. Such… Read more →

Outstanding contributions to justice recognized at Good Apple Awards

Nebraska Appleseed recognized several courageous Nebraskans Thursday night whose work has contributed to the fight for justice and opportunity for all at the 2012 Good Apple Awards. More than 300 people attended the Good Apple Awards at the Omaha Livestock Exchange Building ballroom.  Thursday’s event was the fourth such awards celebration for Nebraska Appleseed and drew its largest crowd ever.… Read more →

Important Information on New Prenatal Care Law

A few months ago the Nebraska Legislature passed Legislative Bill 599 (LB599), which restores coverage of prenatal care to all unborn children, regardless of the immigration status of the mother.  The law went into effect on July 19, so women can start applying for and receiving coverage for prenatal care services as long as they meet certain Medicaid requirements. There… Read more →

ACCESS Nebraska Update

Nebraska Appleseed has been watching carefully the implementation of ACCESS Nebraska, our state’s new way of managing public assistance programs like food stamps and Medicaid. Some of you may be wondering: how is it going? This article from the Omaha World Herald provides an update on ACCESS Nebraska from multiple perspectives: “Nebraska’s Food Stamp Errors Carry High Cost” In summary,… Read more →

OpenSky Policy Institute Report Shines Light on Nebraska State Budget

“The salvation of the state is watchfulness in the citizen.” These words are engraved over the entrance to Nebraska’s state capitol.  They have added meaning here in Nebraska, the only state in the nation with a Unicameral Legislature. Today, a new report from the OpenSky Policy Institute, “Looking for Clarity: An Overview of Nebraska Budget and Tax Policy”  was released.… Read more →

The Spring 2012 Edition of “At the Core”

The end of the 2012 Nebraska legislative session finished with a flurry of activity on prenatal care, child welfare, and a number of Appleseed’s priority bills passing. You can read about these successes and other recent efforts in the latest edition of our bi-annual newsletter “At the Core.” Download a printable copy of “At the Core” Inside you can read… Read more →

Extending Foster Care to 21: Next Steps

In October 2010, the Fostering Connections Act made federal funding available to assist states in extending foster care services to youth until age 21.  At least 12 states have taken advantage of this unique opportunity to date, and many more are continuing to express interest.  Senator Amanda McGill introduced LB 1150 this legislative session in an effort to add Nebraska… Read more →

My Experience at Appleseed

Appleseed is a place full of movers and shakers, and over the course of my internship here, I have been moved and shaken. I am constantly shown that people are changing things. Appleseed is uprooting the distressing and unacceptable life conditions that some consider permanent. But here, we know that nothing is permanent except change. And we are agents of… Read more →

THANK YOU! Prenatal Care Restored!

Yesterday was a great day for Nebraska’s children.  The Legislature voted 30-16 to override the Governor’s veto of LB 599 and restore Nebraska’s decades-long policy of providing prenatal care and prioritizing the health of Nebraska children. Thank you for calling and emailing throughout this debate. Being engaged in this process truly made a huge difference! We also must thank the 30 senators… Read more →

Timeline of Prenatal Care Coverage in Nebraska

The Nebraska Legislature is on the verge of passing LB 599, a bill to restore prenatal care to all low-income children. For decades the State of Nebraska maintained the wise and fiscally smart health policy to provide prenatal health coverage and ensured that all children had a chance at having a healthy start to life. Our state’s investment in prenatal… Read more →

Legislative Update

There has been a good deal of activity at the Legislature on Appleseed’s priority issues since the last update.  Here is a quick summary: “Green Lights” In the Capitol’s legislative chamber, there is a large sign listing each Senator’s name. When a Senator votes in favor of a bill, a light next to their name turns bright green. “Green Lights”… Read more →

Time, Patience, Justice

Here at Nebraska Appleseed, we have heard a lot about ACCESS Nebraska, the new system for managing Health and Human Services programs using on-line applications and call centers instead of caseworkers. We’ve heard from intake callers, folks who participated in listening sessions this fall, and people who testified at the interim study hearing and bill hearing. The case for action… Read more →

Kids Crusin’ Kitchen Food Truck Visits Capitol

The “Kids Crusin’ Kitchen” mobile summer food truck visited the Nebraska State Capitol today to draw attention to childhood hunger problems and solutions.  The truck, operated by the Food Bank for the Heartland, The Salvation Army, and Hunger Free Heartland, serves meals to children in low-income communities during the summer. “One in six children in Nebraska struggles with hunger,” explains… Read more →

Youth Share Their Experiences and Perspectives with Senators

During last week’s first round of debate on the package of child welfare bills, Lincoln Senator Bill Avery noticed the apparent absence of the usual lobbyists in the State Capitol’s rotunda.  As noted by Senator Avery, there “are no highly paid lobbyists working on behalf of kids.”  While Nebraska Appleseed, Voices for Children, and some other child advocates were present,… Read more →

Nebraskans Increasingly Experiencing Food Hardship

Nearly one in five Americans and one in seven Nebraskans had difficulty affording food in the last year according to a report, “Food Hardship in America 2011,” released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). “It’s concerning that food hardship continues to increase in our state, as does participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Free and… Read more →

Statement on General File Debate on Child Welfare Bills

Rebecca L. Gould, Executive Director of the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest, issued the following statement today in response to the advancement of a package of five bills to reform the state’s child welfare system: “Today and yesterday, the Nebraska Legislature voted to advance a package of five bills designed to stabilize and reform the state’s… Read more →

A Win-Win for Business Growth and Work Experience

Nebraskans have a strong work ethic, and our labor force is one of our most important economic strengths. Nebraska businesses, especially small businesses, rely on our workers to help create economic growth and success. LB 1136 would utilize existing funds to provide employers opportunities to bring on additional employees with time-limited wage subsidies to help their businesses grow. It would… Read more →

Legislation Leads to Higher Education for Parents

Legislation passed by the Nebraska Unicameral in 2009 is opening the doors to higher education for low-income parents, according to a report released today by the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest entitled “Choosing Education.” The report indicates that 13.3% of Nebraska’s cash welfare caseload is currently engaged in education that could lead to an Associates Degree, thanks in… Read more →

LB 1063 Aims to Fill Medicaid Gaps & Help Parents Keep Their Kids

The state’s child welfare system is in great need of reform. A vital piece of ensuring reform is effective is to prevent children from entering the system unnecessarily. LB 1063 is intended to address gaps in Medicaid services for children, which needlessly push children into the system to obtain the mental health services they need. Indeed, LB 1063 makes certain the Medicaid program plays its… Read more →

A Timely Path to Permanency Requires True System Reform

LB 1172 requires the County Attorney to file a petition to terminate parental rights when a child under the age of five is in an out-of-home placement for twelve months.  We thank Sen. Pirsch and the judiciary committee for their commitment to increase permanency for younger children in foster care, but believe that reducing case load size and increasing access… Read more →

Strengthen Transparency, Accountability and Oversight of Nebraska’s Child Welfare System

We support LB 1160 because it would establish much needed oversight of what is really happening to children and families in the child welfare system. We fully support that the data collected as part of LB 1160 is targeted to provide accountability in individual cases but also seeks to use the information for ongoing systemic monitoring and improvement. Importantly, LB… Read more →

Address Fiscal Oversight Problems in Nebraska’s Child Welfare System

LB 949 would create a separate budget program for appropriations of funds for child welfare in Nebraska. LB 949 would also require regular financial reporting by the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services to the Legislature’s HHS and Appropriations Committees. We also strongly support that LB 949 would require that the Department’s appropriations request process include a strategic plan… Read more →

Ensure Foster Parents Receive the Resources to Meet Children’s Basic Needs

LB 926 ensures that foster parents in Nebraska will be provided with the resources necessary to meet children’s basic needs.  We thank Sen. Dubas and the other co-sponsors for their commitment to improving the child welfare system and ask that you vote to advance LB 926. [DDET LB 926 Testimony] Senator Kathy Campbell Chair, Health and Human Services Committee Room… Read more →

Addressing the Skills Gap and Building Our Future Workforce

We fully support LB 1079 and believe it will both build opportunity and effectively leverage resources for positive impact. Improving the education and skills of our current workers is essential to our future workforce competitiveness. Nebraska faces a skills gap in the future and working families are a part of the solution. [DDET LB 1079 Testimony] My name is Kate… Read more →

Appleseed at the Legislature

The 2012 Legislative session is off to a fast and furious start.  We are already a third of the way through this short (60 day) session and Nebraska Appleseed is working on more bills than ever before.  We’d like to highlight some of the key issues we are working on in our programs and give you an opportunity to get… Read more →

An Opportunity for Investment in the Futures of Youth in Foster Care

Yesterday, the HHS Committee held a hearing on LB 1150, a bill, introduced by Senator McGill with input from Project Everlast youth members, that would extend foster care services on a voluntary basis up to age 21 in Nebraska. For years, adolescents aging out of foster care have struggled with the transition into adulthood. Typical 19-year-olds are able to turn… Read more →

Improve Service Delivery and Efficiency in the Department of Health & Human Services

On February 1, the Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on LB 1041 and LB 1016. Both of these bills are intended to address problems with the ACCESS Nebraska system. Appleseed supports both of these bills. LB 1041 would streamline HHS systems to make them more efficient and effective for everyone. LB 1016 would provide resources to community… Read more →

Appleseed Supports the Creation of a Children’s Commission

[DDET LB 821 Testimony] Senator Kathy Campbell Chair, Health and Human Services Committee Room 1402, State Capitol Lincoln, NE 68509 Chairwoman Campbell and members of the Health and Human Services Committee, On behalf of the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest, I am here to testify in support of LB 821. We support LB 821 because it… Read more →

Help Children Access the Food They Need to Learn & Grow

LB 1090 will help children access the food they need in the summertime to learn and grow.  Providing access to healthy, nutritious foods is important for children’s health.  The Summer Food Service Program provides federally funded meals to sites at nonprofit organizations, schools, and other locations to reach hungry children in the summer when free and reduced price meals are… Read more →

HHS Budget Should Invest in Children and Families

On Monday, Nebraska Appleseed’s Executive Director testified at the Appropriations Committee in response to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services’ appropriation request.  Appleseed believes that DHHS’s budget must invest in and protect low-income children and families’ needs. [DDET Appleseed Testimony] Senator Lavon Heidemann Chair, Appropriations Committee State Capitol, Room 1004 Lincoln, NE 68509 Re: Agency 25, Department of… Read more →

Testimony supporting LB957 to Adopt the Office of Inspector General for the Nebraska Child Welfare Act

Senator Kathy Campbell Chair, Health and Human Services Committee Room 1402, State Capitol Lincoln, NE 68509 Chairwoman Campbell and members of the Health and Human Services Committee, On behalf of the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest, I am here to testify in support of LB 957. We support LB 957 because we believe ongoing oversight and… Read more →

Return Foster Care Case Management to the State

Sarah Helvey, Child Welfare Director at Nebraska Appleseed, testified last Thursday at the Unicameral’s Health & Human Services Committee in support of LB961. The bill would return foster care case management to the State of Nebraska.  Case management is a core government responsibility. While there is a role for private-public partnerships, and for private agencies to provide certain services, the… Read more →

Lobby Day for Voting Rights

“I’m here … because I think that voting rights are the basis of our democracy.  When I see voting rights come under attack I feel personally attacked and my heart goes out to people this bill will affect,” said Claire Hillan when asked why she gathered with over 70 other Nebraskans at the State Capitol Wednesday to lobby state senators… Read more →

Statement on KVC Contract Amendment & Additional $1.8 MILLION Infusion

Yesterday, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced that it entered into another contract amendment with KVC on December 24th to infuse an additional $1.8 million into the state’s failing child welfare privatization effort even as the the Legislature’s HHS Committee had just the week before released recommendations to make significant changes to the system, implement oversight, and… Read more →

Legislature’s HHS Committee Releases LR 37 Report and Recommendations on Child Welfare

Yesterday, the HHS Committee of the Legislature released its report as part of LR 37, an interim study investigation of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) child welfare reform and privatization.  Among the 18 recommendations were the following: Return case management to the state by July 1, 2012 Create the Nebraska Department of Children’s Services Create the… Read more →

Busy Weeks in Child Welfare

Last week was a busy one for child welfare advocates and this week promises to be the same with the final LR 37 report scheduled to be released on Thursday.  Below is a brief recap: On Monday, December 5th, the Legislature’s Children’s Behavioral Health Oversight and HHS Committees held a hearing on LB 603 regarding recent changes to Medicaid coverage… Read more →

Hearing on Health Insurance Exchanges Show Need to Push Forward

Yesterday, the message from consumer advocates, providers, and insurance carriers/producers was clear: we should move forward next legislative session and consider legislation to create a state-based exchange.  Several groups, including Nebraska Appleseed, testified in front of the Nebraska Legislature’s Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee, along with some members of the Health and Human Services Committee, during a public hearing on… Read more →

Nebraska Appleseed Leads a Community Discussion about the Child Welfare System and Privatization

On Wednesday of last week, a community discussion was hosted by the Lancaster County Democratic Party at Gere Library in Lincoln. Nebraska Appleseed’s Sarah Helvey was invited to speak at the event which focused on Nebraska’s child welfare system and the progress of LR 37. LR 37 is an interim study which provides for the HHS Committee of the Legislature… Read more →

Appleseed Presents Results of Survey of Attorneys’ Perceptions of Child Welfare Privatization to Legislative Committee

On Tuesday of last week, the Health and Human Services Committee of the Nebraska Legislature continued its investigation of the effects of privatization on the state’s child welfare system through the LR 37 interim study process.  As part of the LR 37 process, Nebraska Appleseed conducted a survey of juvenile court attorneys across the state and asked them to share… Read more →

Health Insurance Exchange Legislation Must Go Forward

Reports indicate that Governor Heineman has decided that the state should wait to fully implement a state-based exchange until the United States Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is critical that the state pass enabling legislation during the next legislative session to allow the state to create a state-based health… Read more →

Step Up for Kids

Please join representatives from Nebraska Appleseed, A.S.K., Behaven Kids, Boys Town, Building Bright Futures, KVC, NAMI-Nebraska, NASW-Nebraska Chapter, Nebraska Families Collaborative Nebraska Family Support Network, and Voices for Children in Nebraska for the STEP UP FOR KIDS 2011 event. Tuesday, October 11, 2011 3:00-4:00 p.m. North Steps of the State Capitol Special Guest: Tom Osborne In these financially uncertain times, it is… Read more →

Enough Is Enough

Last week, the State Auditor released a report on the child welfare privatization, which detailed, among other things, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ gross mismanagement and lack of oversight of valuable taxpayer dollars intended for the state’s most vulnerable children.  Appleseed is deeply troubled by the severity of the information in the Auditor’s report.  So much so,… Read more →

Kids Can’t Wait

Recently, state officials and national experts have commented that privatization can take a number of years to see results.  But, as Appleseed and other advocates have said – and this cartoon in Tuesday’s Omaha World Herald points out: children in the system don’t have years to wait. Over the past year and a half since privatization was initiated, the reform… Read more →

Additional Child Welfare Funding and Restructuring Raises Additional Questions

On Friday, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced that the state will be providing an additional $5.5 million in the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2011 and an additional $7.4 million in the next fiscal year starting July 1, 2011 to the state’s faltering child welfare privatization effort.  Also on Friday, KVC, one of the remaining… Read more →

More Diplomas

I remember the feeling of satisfaction I had when I hammered a nail into the wall of my first “real” office and hung up my diploma – a feeling of satisfaction and pride. A feeling that my hard work had finally materialized into something concrete that I could hang on a wall. Across the state, hardworking Nebraska families have that… Read more →

State Fostering Connections Bill Passes Legislature!

On Thursday, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 177 on a vote of 47-0-2.  LB 177 places key provisions of the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (“Fostering Connections Act”) into state statute.  Specifically, LB 177 provides increased oversight and strengthens local implementation of provisions to prioritize placement of foster children with their siblings when appropriate, to provide… Read more →

Moratorium Agreement Reached in Child Welfare Reform, But Oversight Legislation Delayed

Yesterday, following a letter from the Governor agreeing to hold off on contracting with a new lead agency to provide child welfare services in the rural areas of the state until June 2012, the Legislature voted to delay consideration of LB 95.  (As a reminder, LB 95 would have placed the moratorium the Governor promised into statute and also would… Read more →

State Fostering Connections Bill Advances

Yesterday, the Legislature voted 40-0 to give first round approval to LB 177, a bill that would place key provisions of the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act into state statute.  This bill would strengthen the enforcement and local implementation of requirements to prioritize placement of children in foster care with their siblings when that is not… Read more →

Green Lights

At the capitol, in the legislative chamber, there is a large sign listing each Senator’s name. When a Senator votes in favor of a bill, a light next to their name turns bright green. Yesterday, those lights turned green in overwhelming favor of LB 543, legislation to address hunger in our state. The bill passed the second round vote and… Read more →

History Is Repeating Itself: Can You Tell the Difference?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! They say today everyone is a little bit Irish. It wasn’t always like that, though. When the Irish first came to America they were met with persecution, ignorance and fear. They were denied jobs, accused of lawlessness and of destroying the United States. Immigration became a rallying point for the Know-Nothings, a political party dedicated to… Read more →

Nebraska Says No to Arizona-Style Law

On Wednesday, the Nebraska Legislature’s Judiciary Committee announced that it will not advance an Arizona-style bill or other unworkable state-level proposals to regulate immigration. (Other state-level immigration proposals before the committee included LB 569, a bill to require E-Verify for all Nebraska employers, and LR 28, a resolution to encourage all Nebraska law enforcement to enroll in the “Secure Communities” local police… Read more →

Proposed Legislative Moratorium on Child Welfare Privatization

On Tuesday, the HHS Committee voted 7-0 to advance LB 95, a bill to require accreditation of lead contractors, with an amendment calling for a moratorium on returning to privatization in the central, northern and western service areas of the state until June 2012.  Essentially, this would prevent the state from contracting with a new agency to replace Boys &… Read more →

Appleseed Testimony Opposing LB 48

March 2, 2011 Senator Brad Ashford Chairman, Judiciary Committee Room 1103, State Capitol Lincoln, Nebraska 68509 RE: Opposition to LB 48 Dear Chairman Ashford and Committee Members, My name is Norman Pflanz and I am a staff attorney with Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest. We are a non-partisan, non-profit, public interest law project dedicated to equal justice and… Read more →

Committee Protects Nebraska’s In-state Tuition Education Policy

The Lincoln Journal Star today reported that the Legislature’s Education Committee voted down a bill that sought to repeal Nebraska’s in-state tuition law. Dozens of educational, community, faith, and legal institutions testified in support of protecting Nebraska’s in-state tuition policy at the committee hearing on February 7. Some of the testifiers included the University of Nebraska, the Post-Secondary Commission, the Nebraska… Read more →

Smart Choices, Silver Linings

In good times and in bad, families and communities remain priorities for Nebraska.  The economic downturn has had an impact on state budgets and on family budgets, and our state leaders are facing difficult choices in the 2011 legislative session. In spite of this challenge, several bills that are positive for families are gaining momentum.  These bills help our government… Read more →

A Personal Reflection on Nebraska’s In-State Tuition Law

Alex Gibilisco is a Junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an intern this semester at Nebraska Appleseed.  Alex immigrated with his family to the United States from Guatemala at the age of 10. Alex submitted the following testimony to the Legislature’s Education Committee Monday, February 7 in opposition to LB 657, which would repeal Nebraska’s in-state tuition law. Dear… Read more →

Legislative Oversight of Child Welfare Reform

On Friday, January 28, 2011, the Legislature’s Heath and Human Services (HHS) Committee held a hearing on LR 37, a legislative resolution that would designate the HHS Committee to review, investigate, and assess the state’s faltering reform of the child welfare system. Nebraska Appleseed, Voices for Children, and many other partners held this press briefing in November 2010 calling for… Read more →

Nebraskans Oppose an Arizona-Style Law, Support Common-Sense Federal Reform

Nearly 500 Nebraskans came to the state Capitol on Thursday, 01/27/2011, to say that Nebraska values do not support an Arizona-style law in this state. Participants and speakers from around the state, representing the League of Nebraska Municipalities, the Methodist Bishop, Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, other faith groups, veterans, the NAACP-Lincoln, the Anti-Defamation League,… Read more →

Omaha Senator Offers Alternative to Arizona-style Bill

Omaha Sen. Brenda Council today introduced a common-sense alternative to an Arizona-style bill — a resolution for immigration reform “modeled after the Utah Compact, a statement of principles developed by a broad coalition of Utah politicians, businesses, civic groups, law enforcement and religious leaders” (Lincoln Journal Star 1/18/11). “It’s very powerful,” said Judiciary Chairman Brad Ashford, who signed onto the… Read more →

Smart Choices in Hard Times

Best practices for addressing state budget shortfalls have been identified by a group of ten nonprofit organizations today in a report entitled “Smart Choices in Hard Times: Best Practices for State Budgets.” “When budgets are tight, families are counting on smart budget choices that protect what matters most.  We have to look at the budget as a whole so that… Read more →

Gaps in Children’s Behavioral Health System on Collision Course with Fragile Child Welfare Reform

On September 22, the Legislature’s Children’s Behavioral Health Oversight Committee held a hearing and listened to testimony from parents of children with unmet behavioral health needs. The stories were heartbreaking. Many told of the support they received from peer mentors. However, several of the family organizations that provide this service testified that they may have to close their doors due… Read more →

Clerkship: An Important Step Toward a Fulfilling Legal Career

While working as a summer law clerk at Nebraska Appleseed I have had the opportunity to be exposed to a wide range of public interest issues, as well as a number of strategies for addressing those issues. Every situation is unique, requiring creative thinking and hard work to reach the best solutions. For example, certain complex legal problems necessitate combing… Read more →

Smart Choices in Hard Times

Nebraska’s budget should reflect Nebraska’s priorities. This seems like a simple statement, but really, it says quite a lot. It says that Nebraska values of family and community should drive our budget choices, it says that our shared resources should be directed at strengthening our families and workers, and it says that we should invest in opportunities that allow people… Read more →

The Right Choice for Nebraska Workers

Nebraska Appleseed has been a long time advocate for working families.  In particular, we are supportive of programs that are responsive to family needs in difficult economic times.  Unemployment Insurance is one such program, and last week Nebraska’s State Senators gave first round approval to a bill (LB 1020) that would make it even stronger. Unemployment Insurance is paid into… Read more →

The Politics of Hate

Yesterday, the efforts to restore prenatal care to all low-income women in Nebraska in this legislative session came to an end.   The Legislature passed an amendment that may help a handful of women access prenatal care who were cut off on March 1st and are victims of domestic violence.  We are obviously glad to see critical prenatal care restored to… Read more →

Politics Prevail

Sad news today.  LB 1110, Senator Campbell’s bill to restore prenatal care coverage, was “bracketed” today by unanimous consent.  This means that, while the bill is technically still alive, it won’t come up on the floor this session and is essentially dead.  Unfortunately, politics prevailed over good policy and there weren’t enough votes to pass the bill. Here is the… Read more →

Just The Facts Please – The Truth About Prenatal Care

Nearly another whole week has gone by for over 1,500 women and children cut off from prenatal care.  Thankfully, there were a few bright spots this week in the effort to pass LB 1110.  The Omaha World Herald came out with a very strong editorial in support of LB 1110. Other press stories made clear that the majority if calls… Read more →

Two Important Child Welfare Bills Need Our Support

Last month, the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee heard testimony on two important child welfare bills that Nebraska Appleseed strongly supports. LB 971, introduced by Sen. Kathy Campbell, would implement several key provisions of the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 into Nebraska statute. Specifically, the bill requires the state to place siblings together or to provide… Read more →