The 2019 Legislative Session is in full swing. As Nebraskans, we have the unique ability to be in contact with our representatives and have our voices heard because of the unicameral.
By standing up and speaking up, we all have a part in creating effective public policy. Here are five ways you can get involved!
1. Share your story in person at a committee hearing.
Elected officials want to know the real impact of public policy. By sharing your story, you can illustrate why a specific issue must be solved or how a proposed solution would have helped you, your family, your community, etc. While data and research are important, there isn’t a more compelling testimony than a real-life example of how public policy can help actual Nebraskans.
Tips on how to participate in a hearing in person:
- Limit your spoken comments to around three to five minutes.
- You may also submit written testimony that is more comprehensive than your spoken comments. Bring 10 copies of your written testimony to give to Committee members.
- Plan to arrive at the Hearing Room approximately 15 minutes prior to the start of the hearing. Parking at the Capitol may be difficult, so please allow additional time.
- If you plan to testify and/or have questions, please contact our Research and Policy Director at TJoekel@OmahaWomensFund.org or by calling 402.827.9280.
2. Show your support for an issue by filling up the hearing room!
Showing up matters. When members of the community are present at committee hearings, it lets the committee know that the public cares and is watching closely. Attend a committee hearing or watch the live stream online, courtesy of NET Nebraska.
3. Write a letter of support/opposition for a bill.
If you can’t attend the hearing in person, you can send a letter via email to the Chairperson of the Committee, as well as your elected representative (see the full list of Senator emails).
Here are a few tips on how to submit written testimony:
- Your letter of testimony must include your name and address, state a position of “for,” “against” or “neutral” on the bill in question.
- Email your testimony as an attachment to the Chair of the Committee in which the bill will be heard. (See the Committee Roster online–(C) denotes the Chair).
- In the body of the email to the Committee Chair, you must specifically request that your letter be included as part of the official record for the hearing on LB [insert bill number].
- Must submit your testimony to the Committee Chair by 5:00 pm on the legislative workday before the hearing.
Letters are due to the Legislature by the business day before a hearing by 5:00 pm. Check the legislative calendar for important dates.
4. Contact your Senator on the regular.
When bills make it out of a committee and are placed on general file, every voice counts. This is the time to reach out to your senator and let them know you care about a bill (or bills!). By sharing your stance on legislation, a Senator knows what is important to their constituents and helps to inform the vote they make when that bill is up for debate.
Call them. Write them an email. Send a postcard. Make it known that you care and are watching to see what action they take!
5. Share this information with your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors!
The beauty of the Nebraska unicameral is the ability of Nebraskans to use their voice to create real and effective public policy that supports our communities.
Advocate for yourself and others by speaking up for women and girls in Nebraska.