Let’s just say that this last legislative session felt very “on brand” for 2020. We are grateful for all of your support as YOU are the power behind our collective work!
BIG Policy Wins
- The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights was passed into law (LB 43 introduced by Sen. Kate Bolz).
- The Legislature included new funding in the state budget to provide faster testing of untested sexual assault kits (LB 1079 introduced by Sen. Anna Wishart, amended into LB 1008) and passed a bill to require annual reporting of the number of untested kits in our state’s two largest cities (LB 945 introduced by Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, amended into LB 881).
- We were able to create a uniform process to support better access to T & U visas for sex trafficking victims and victims of other violent crimes (LB 745 introduced by Sen. Carol Blood, amended into LB 518).
Barriers to Equity
Workplace non-discrimination bill vetoed by Governor
The Governor vetoed a bill to ban natural hair discrimination in the workplace (LB 1060 introduced by Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh). With his veto, he chose to ignore the voices of the Black women who shared their personal and powerful stories of workplace discrimination in support of this necessary workplace equity measure. With this veto, the Governor is actively upholding the status quo of racist workplace policies and practices that deny job opportunities to Black workers for reasons that have nothing to do with their qualifications or their ability to do the job. This fight is not over, and we will continue to support Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) leaders who are working to realize racial and gender equity in the workplace and across Nebraska. Special thanks to our friends at I Be Black Girl for all their work on this effort and to all the women who testified at the hearing!
Anti-abortion legislators put politics between patients and doctors
Despite a tenacious effort to stop an abortion method ban from moving forward, anti-abortion politicians were able enact a law (LB 814) that disregards Nebraskans’ health and undermines their freedom to make personal decisions in consultation with their physicians. Health—not politics—should always guide medical decisions at every point in pregnancy. We stand with the many people, patients and health care providers who used their voice to oppose this political interference in the doctor-patient relationship. We are grateful to the policymakers who fought for the reproductive rights of Nebraskans. And, we remain committed to advocating for barrier-free health care for all Nebraskans.
What Comes Next
The advocacy efforts rising up in our community have been nothing short of inspiring. As we work to rebuild from a global health pandemic, economic recession and racial reckoning, we have an opportunity and an obligation to build bridges to a better future. The old ways weren’t working. We can and we must do better for all Nebraskans. The enormity of this moment demands better public policy, and if we can’t get that, it demands better public policymakers (register to vote, update your registration, request an early ballot in Douglas Co. or Sarpy Co.).
To all of you—especially BIPOC—who are leading these moments and movements, THANK YOU. To all of you who are elected or running for public office that are advocating for racial and gender justice, THANK YOU. And to all our amazing supporters, systems-change work cannot be done without you. We stand with you all and are in this fight for the long haul.
If you have any questions about this session or our collective work moving forward, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Women’s Fund team. Thank you again for your support and for using your voice for change in our community and across the state!