2019 Legislative Update: April 12

Good news to report!

The Judiciary Committee is standing with survivors by unanimously supporting improvements to protection orders for victims of violence as they have advanced LB 532 to the full Legislature for debate!

LB 532 is a bill that will support victims of violence as they seek legally enforceable protections from harassment, sexual assault and domestic abuse through protection orders. Many survivors seek these protection orders without the assistance of an attorney or an advocate, and the process can be confusing and difficult to navigate. LB 532 clarifies, simplifies and streamlines the process. Most importantly, it provides sexual assault and domestic abuse victims an opportunity to be heard by the court before their request for protection is denied. This bill was introduced by Senator Machaela Cavanaugh and prioritized by Senator Robert Hilkemann.

We will let you know as soon as this gets scheduled for floor debate, so that you can reach out to your state senator to use your voice to support this important effort to ensure survivors are heard and protected. Read Omaha World-Herald’s editorial support for LB 532.

LB 217 – Pay Transparency

The Legislature has also advanced protections for pay transparency, providing limited protections for workers when they discuss their wages, compensation, or benefits. LB 217 was introduced by Senator Patty Pansing Brooks and passed the final round of legislative debate on Thursday. 

There were compromise amendments added to the bill that narrow its original intent–the bill now includes limits to protections for transparency conversations during work hours or when shared with general public (social media, for example). Now, it has been presented to the Governor and awaits his approval.

If you have a moment, reach out to thank your senator, if they voted in support of the bill. You can see how your Senator voted here.

Restoring the Focus on Health Care in Title X

The Family Planning Council of Nebraska (FPC of NE) has been awarded $2 million in Title X funds for agencies to provide family planning services to low-income Nebraskans. This grant was previously overseen by the state of Nebraska, which this year did not receive federal grant funds. The FPC of NE applied directly for the funds in an effort to return the focus of this program to health care and extract it from the political debates in which it had become embroiled the last several years and which ultimately limited women’s access to family planning and preventive health care.

By applying for and receiving this grant, the Family Planning Council of Nebraska is restoring the focus of what this program was intended to do–ensure that people struggling to make ends meet have access to quality family planning, cancer screenings, and other essential preventive health care.

Tax debate is heating up! As reported by the Omaha World-Herald, “Property tax plan would provide relief—but cost Nebraskans more for a variety of goods, services.”

We’re still waiting on a few other priority bills to advance from committee, and we will keep you posted as things move. Monday will be Day 59 of 90 days–lots of work ahead! As always, thank you for your support of policy efforts for women and girls. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, if you need anything!