Legislative hearings started last week and are coming at us quickly. Below are a few immediate action items focused on workplace equity as well as additional updates and opportunities for you to use you voice.
THIS WEEK’S ACTION ITEMS — SUBMIT COMMENTS ONLINE FOR EQUITY IN THE WORKPLACE! The Legislature has provided a new way for folx to weigh in on issues important to them—an online form. Submissions will be available for all senators to see, so let’s put this new tool to work for women and girls! Our goal this week is to get at least 20 online comments submitted on the two following bills. Can you take 10 minutes to help us accomplish this goal? All you need is a couple of sentences about why you support the bill. Sharing your lived experience is great, but you can also copy a few lines from any of the resources included below. Your voice matters!
Also, reminder that we have our next Public Policy Power Hour this week!
Action #1 – Submit Comments Online for LB 451
LB 451 – Banning Natural Hair Discrimination in the Workplace (Introduced by Senator Terrell McKinney) Natural hair discrimination in the workplace can affect how a Black woman’s job performance is perceived, what advancement opportunities she is given and what additional measures she may be expected to take to fit in with corporate grooming standards. LB 451 addresses harmful practices that disproportionally impact Black women based on racial stereotypes which have no place in a fair and equal workplace. By centering Black women and their experience, all workers will benefit from more equal employment opportunities. To learn more, see our fact sheet.
- The hearing is next week, and we want to demonstrate how important fair and equal workplaces are to all of us. Submit comments online!
- Click button that says “Submit Comments Online for LB 451” and mark yourself as “Proponent.”
- See I Be Black Girl’s Facebook event for LB 451’s February 8 Business & Labor Committee hearing at the State Capitol in Lincoln. If you are interested in testifying IN PERSON, fill out this form and IBBG will follow up for coordination.
- Join I Be Black Girl’s Virtual Event #FreeTheHair- Expanding Natural Hair Protections in Nebraska this Thursday at 7pm.
Action #2 – Submit Comments Online for LB 249
LB 249 – Bans Salary History to Disrupt the Cycle of Pay Discrimination (Introduced by Senator Patty Pansing Brooks) For workers who experience pay disparities related to gender or racial discrimination, salary history information injected into the hiring process will perpetuate the inequality that has held down their pay throughout their entire career. Such workers cannot escape discrimination by taking another job because their prior salary will artificially depress future salary offers, making even well-meaning employers complicit in perpetuating employment discrimination.
The hearing for LB 249 was last week with two opponents from the business community – the National Federation of Independent Business and the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Policymakers need to hear from YOU that disrupting pay discrimination should be a top priority. LB 249 provides a significant opportunity to promote equity in the workplace, with little to no cost to businesses to implement. To learn more, see our fact sheets (English / Spanish) and our testimony.
- Submit comments online!
- Click button that says “Submit Comments Online for LB 249” and mark yourself as “Proponent.”
- For additional information, read Harvard Business Review’s “Stop Asking Candidates for their Salary History” article.
Now that you’ve practiced submitting online comment on the two bills above, here are several other bills that we’re working on that have upcoming hearings.
LB 118 – Extends Protection Orders to 5 Years and Eliminating Notarization Requirements (Senator Adam Morfeld). Protection orders are critical to maintaining survivor safety in the aftermath of violence, preventing offenders from contacting, intimidating, harassing, or harming survivors or their children. LB 118 would make this essential process more accessible to survivors and more streamlined for court systems by extending the duration of protection orders from 1 to 5 years and eliminating barriers posed by notarization requirements. For more information, see our fact sheet (English / Spanish).
LB 372 and LB 497 – Supports Survivors of Domestic & Sexual Violence through the Crime Victim’s Reparations (CVR) Program – Both of these bills (LB 372 and LB 479) support survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault or sex trafficking in seeking reimbursement for the costs associated with their victimization through the existing CVR program.
- LB 372, introduced by Senator Jen Day, lifts the requirement that survivors must report to law enforcement within three days of their crime to be eligible and eliminates the notarization requirement for the application. Read the fact sheet.
- LB 497, introduced by Senator Wendy DeBoer, allows health care providers to bill the CVR program directly, rather than requiring a survivor to go through the hoops of an application process to be reimbursed for medical costs that result from their victimization.
LB 7 – Provides Legal Protections for Trafficking Survivors and Victims of Violent Crimes (Introduced by Senator Carol Blood). Good Samaritan laws promote the safety and well-being of our communities, allowing individuals to seek health care and report crimes without fear. LB 7 would allow survivors and witnesses of violent crimes to report without fear of prosecution or arrest for sex work or drug-related offenses. This bill supports identification of violent crimes in our community and promotes survivor safety. Learn more from our fact sheet (English / Spanish).
LB 451 – Bans Natural Hair Discrimination in the Workplace (Introduced by Senator Terrell McKinney).
LB 290 – Creates an insurance program for businesses to provide paid family and medical leave as a forward-thinking workforce development strategy to support racial equity and attract and retain talent (Introduced by Senator Machaela Cavanaugh).
LB 258 – Supports workers with paid sick and safe leave to care for themselves and their families when they are ill or need time off work as a result of domestic or sexual violence (Introduced by Senator Tony Vargas).
If you have lived experience in being denied paid leave, we would like to support you in lifting up your story. Please reach out to us, as we need to tell the story of the impact of forcing employees to choose between caring for their themselves and their family or keeping their jobs.
And finally, in case you are wondering what else we have been up to, we submitted testimony on the following bills last week:
- LB 45 – Allows courts the discretion to continue eviction hearings.
- LB 128 – Adopts the Residential Tenant Clean Slate Act, ensuring eviction histories do not follow tenants and impact future housing.
- LB 205 – Prevents exorbitant late fee rates and the charging of late fees during an eviction.
- LB 298 – Fixes Nebraska’s Unemployment Insurance gap for work-authorized immigrants.
- LB 320 – Provides greater rental protections to survivors of domestic violence.
- LB 416 – Reduces disparities in pregnancy-related death by expanding postpartum coverage and doula support through Medicaid.
Join us every other Friday at noon as we share what’s new in the Nebraska Legislature and how you can get involved in public policy that supports women and girls. Let us know you are coming!