Legislative Update: February 28

Tomorrow, February 29, marks the final day of committee hearings before the session moves to full days of floor debate. The bills that have been selected as priority bills by Senators, the Speaker and Committees will be the legislation likely to be added to the schedule. You can see all the priority bills online.

Also, the consent calendar is back. This means that non-prioritized, noncontroversial bills with zero opposition testimony and no fiscal note still have the chance to move to the full floor for debate. This is your reminder that you are the Second House in Nebraska. Continue to use your voice to shape legislation and hold your Senator accountable for their votes.

Final Hearings to Watch

Today, February 28

✅ LB 871 (Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh) requires a report by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. We continue to support efforts to ensure that TANF funds are primarily used to directly support Nebraska families. This bill will be heard by the Health and Human Services Committee at 1:30 p.m. today.

❌ LB 1382 (Sen. Ben Hansen) prohibits petition circulators from getting paid. As legislators move to focus on extreme, partisan legislation, ballot initiatives remain a viable pathway for Nebraska voters to have their voices heard on issues important to them. We oppose this attempt to impede that process. This bill will be heard by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee at 1:30 p.m. today.

❌ LR277CA (Sen. Rita Sanders) asks voters to approve mandatory life imprisonment for certain crimes. We are not supportive of legislation that adds a carceral response. Sex trafficking is too complex of an issue, and we cannot prosecute our way to prevention. We oppose this resolution and will continue to focus on system responses and supporting survivors. The resolution, prioritized by Sen. Sanders, will be heard by the Judiciary Committee this afternoon.

Thursday, February 29

❌ LB 1357 (Sen. Mike McDonnell) would criminalize street homelessness. This is a cruel response to a social issue better solved by comprehensive support systems for our unhoused neighbors. Submit a comment of opposition by 8 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Priority Bills Impacting Gender Equity

 LB 175 (Sen. George Dungan) adopts the Residential Tenant Clean Slate Act. This bill was introduced last session and is prioritized now by Sen. Wendy DeBoer, and would allow tenants to receive clean slate relief of any eviction filing that was dismissed, reversed or vacated. Learn more about this bill in our housing justice fact sheet (English / Spanish).

✅ LB 233 (Sen. John Cavanaugh) increases economic security of Nebraska families by allowing TANF recipients to receive child support payments. This bill has been prioritized by Speaker John Arch.

 LB 856 (Sen. John Fredrickson) makes child care employees eligible for childcare subsidies. The bill passed first round debate on February 21. Read more via Omaha World-Herald.

✅ LB 857 (Sen. Dungan) creates the Nebraska Prenatal Plus Program to support parents under Medicaid. This bill will reduce pre-term and low birthweight births by supporting mothers. It passed first round debate on February 14. Read more via Lincoln Journal Star.

✅ LB 870 (Sen. M. Cavanaugh) amends the Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights Act to allow victims control over their own evidence. This bill has been prioritized by Speaker John Arch.

✅ LB 904 (Sen. DeBoer) will carry several important pieces of legislation that increases access to affordable child care for Nebraska families and has been prioritized by Legislature’s Planning Committee.

✅ LB 937 (Sen. Elliot Bostar) adopts the Caregiver Tax Credit Act to ensure family members who take care of their relatives with disabilities are paid for their critical caregiving work.

✅ LB 952 (Sen. Jen Day) requires the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the summer EBT so that no child in our state goes hungry. This bill was prioritized by Sen. Ray Aguilar and on February 12, the Governor reversed course and accepted the federal funds. Your voice and advocacy over several weeks made this happen.

 LB 441 (Sen. Joni Albrecht) would remove protections for school librarians and staff from criminal prosecution in the chance a minor encounters books or content some consider to be obscene. This bill is rooted in censorship and aligned with nationwide attacks on sex education, book banning and anything deemed to be support of LGBTQ young people. When young people have limited information, they have limited understanding.

 LB 575 (Sen. Kathleen Kauth) bans trans youth from playing school sports and denies them access to some spaces, such as restrooms and locker rooms. All Nebraska students should be able to live safely as who they are and thrive in our schools—including transgender students. Join OutNebraska in signing a petition to let trans youth thrive in Nebraska.

= LB 876 (Sen. Rick Holdcroft) creates a Newborn Safe Haven Act. While we support the intention to provide safety for newborns, further restrictions on reproductive health care create desperation and forces people to give birth against their will without providing any additional maternal care support. With this legislation, we fear the potential for increased surveillance of pregnant people and criminal investigations of pregnancy outcomes. Read more about these concerns in the Nebraska Examiner.

= LB 1109 (Sen. Merv Riepe) attempts to walk back some of the harm senators created when they hastily passed an abortion ban last session. We can appreciate the senator is sticking to his word to make a bad bill better, exceptions are unworkable and create barriers to care. We all have a right to full bodily autonomy, and we remain focused on efforts that protect our rights to make the best decisions for ourselves, lives and futures.

Upcoming Dates to Remember

March 11: Mid-Session Mixer hosted by Nebraska Appleseed

Gather with us and our advocacy partners, Nebraska Appleseed and Voices for Children, for a Mid-Session Mixer! Attendees will get an update on important priority bills and learn how to get more involved during the rest of the session. Light refreshments will be provided. Your RSVP is not required by appreciated.

March 13: Housing Affordability and Justice Lobby Day

Join housing advocates on Wednesday, March 13 from 9 am to 12 pm in calling for housing justice and working toward a more equitable, accessible and affordable future for all. The lobby day provides a unique platform to learn, engage and advocate for positive change in Nebraska’s housing landscape. Register for the event today!

March 19: Millwork Conversations Civic Engagement Panel

This event, moderated by our Executive Director Jo Giles, will provide an opportunity to learn about the impact of civic engagement from people across our communities. Panelists include Brad Christian-Sallis of Nebraska Table, Dr. Lina Translaviña-Stover of Heartland Workers Center, and Kimara Snipes of One Omaha. Voter registration and valuable information on petitions will be available. Get more details about the event!