Legislative Update: April 9

Listen…I know we’ve been asking a lot of you. But we wouldn’t ask, if it didn’t make a difference. You provide the people power behind all of this policy work. As the legislative session continues, there are many bills impacting women and girls still at play that need your support.

Here are two action items for today:

Action One: Use your voice to support LB 260! This bill, introduced and prioritized by Senator Megan Hunt, has passed first round debate but still needs your support to push it through. LB 260 would allow workers to be eligible for unemployment benefits if they leave a job to provide care for a family member with a serious health condition. Currently, caregivers who become temporarily unemployed are unfairly barred from claiming the unemployment benefits they have earned throughout their years in the workforce. LB 260 is a time-limited, temporary safety net to help folks make ends meet during a temporary caregiving period until they get back to work. Email or call your Senator now to support this paid leave effort for working Nebraskans.

Action Two: Contact your senator in support of LB 108 today! This bill, introduced and prioritized by Senator John McCollister, increases eligibility for SNAP and directly addresses the cliff effect in food assistance benefits that allows working families to accept raises or small wage increases without losing the financial support they need to put food on the table. Email or call your Senator today and let them know you support this important legislation that will help families struggling with hunger.

NATURAL HAIR NON-DISCRIMINATION ADVANCES!!! A huge shout out to Senator Terrell McKinney and team, as well as our friends at I Be Black Girl and all of you who used your voice in support of LB 451. The bill advanced through the first round of debate earlier this week with NO OPPOSITION (yes, you read that right! 😉 See how your senator voted). Despite last year’s veto, the Governor has indicated his support for LB 451, and we are hopeful it will move through two more rounds of debate and be enthusiastically signed into law! More: Nebraska lawmakers advance bill to ban hair discrimination (via Fox 42).

Additionally, LB 497 (introduced by Senator Wendy DeBoer) to support victims of domestic and sexual violence, and LB 320 (introduced by Senator John Cavanaugh) to support domestic violence survivors through housing protections also successfully advanced past the first round of debate. More: Senators OK rental protections for domestic violence victims (via WOWT).

Other bills that have been prioritized but not yet schedule for full debate include: LB 241 to adopt the Meatpacking Employees COVID-19 Protection Act; LB 258 to provide paid sick and safe leave; LB 298 to fix Nebraska’s unemployment insurance gap for work-authorized immigrants; and LB 485 to support affordable child care. We will send alerts via email or social media when these items get on the agenda.

Use Your Voice to Support Young People’s Health Education!

The Women’s Fund supports inclusive, science-based and age-appropriate health standards that reflect all students’ identities and support all students’ well-being. The health standards drafted by the Nebraska Department of Education in consultation with education and health experts will create the framework for K-12 health education in our state. Read the recent editorial support from the Omaha World-Herald.

Action Three: Contact your Nebraska State Board of Education Member and let them know you support inclusive, equitable health standards. Your voice will be critical in this process. Here are a few details you can include in your email and while advocating for effective health education:

  • Access to age-appropriate, science-based health information will help young people navigate sexual development, protect their health and plan for their futures.
  • Discussions on safe and unsafe touch, consent and bodily autonomy are key protective factors for sexual violence. These lessons in elementary school help children identify sexual abuse and connect to trusted adults in their lives.
  • Inclusive, equitable health education creates a protective school environment that helps to reduce dating violence, bullying and youth suicides.

Thank you for joining us for this important advocacy effort to set the standard for health education in Nebraska. It is critical that these updated health standards provide young people with access to inclusive, medically accurate education that supports their well-being. Young people for generations will benefit from your efforts now. Read more about why effective health education matters.

Stay tuned for more information on an educational session to learn more about these standards and how you can get involved!