The first eight days of session have been a whirlwind, but we are excited about the opportunities before the Legislature to make our state truly a place where women and girls can reach their full potential. With a few days still remaining to introduce new bills (Day 10 of the session is next Wednesday, January 20), there will be more updates, but we wanted to provide you with a sneak peek of some key bills.
A few important bills to highlight (with many more to come):
LB 20 – Reducing barriers to birth control by providing insurance coverage for up to one year at a time. Introduced by Senator Carol Blood, co-sponsored by Senators J. Cavanaugh, Day and Hunt. Referred to the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee. For more information, see our fact sheet in English or Spanish.
LB 249 – Disrupting the cycle of race and gender wage pay discrimination by removing salary history from the hiring process. Introduced by Senator Patty Pansing Brooks, co-sponsored by Senators M. Cavanaugh, J. Cavanaugh, Day, M. Hansen, Hunt, McCollister, McKinney and Vargas. Referred to the Business and Labor Committee. See our fact sheet (in English or Spanish) for more information. Hearing scheduled for January 25 at 1:30 PM.
LB 451 – Ending natural hair discrimination in the workplaces. Introduced by Senator Terrell McKinney, co-sponsored by Senator M. Cavanaugh. Referred to the Business and Labor Committee. See I Be Black Girl’s Take Action page for more information about this important racial equity issue.
LB 118 – Extending the duration of protection orders from 1 year to 5 years, so victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault and harassment do not have to go to the court year after year to seek safety for themselves and their families. Introduced by Senator Adam Morfeld. Referred to the Judiciary Committee.
LB 183 – Ensuring access to emergency contraception for sexual assault survivors through the Sexual Assault Emergency Care Act. Introduced by Senator Megan Hunt, co-sponsored by Senators M. Cavanaugh, Day, McKinney and Pansing Brooks. Referred to the Health and Human Services Committee.
LB 258 – Supporting workers with paid sick and safe leave to care for themselves and their families when they are ill or need time off work to seek safety for themselves or their family as a result of domestic or sexual violence. Introduced by Senator Tony Vargas. Referred to the Business and Labor Committee.
LB 290 – Creating 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, co-sponsored by Senators Blood, J. Cavanaugh, M. Hansen, Hunt, Lathrop, McDonnell, McKinney, Morfeld, Pansing Brooks, Wayne and Wishart. Referred to the Business and Labor Committee.
LB 108 – Ensuring more families can put food on the table by increasing access to food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Introduced by Senator John McCollister, co-sponsored by Senators Blood, M. Cavanaugh, M. Hansen, Hunt, Morfeld, Pansing Brooks, Vargas, Walz, Wayne and Wishart. Referred to the Health and Human Services Committee.
This isn’t all. There are more bills to share with you and more info to come next week during our first ever Public Policy Power Hour!
Our friends at I Be Black Girl are doing incredible work to influence policy and the surrounding systems to center Black women, femmes and girls.
Why should policymakers center Black women? Black women are the core of the nation’s economy, holding front-line jobs, running small businesses, and are more often the single heads of households. When Black women are elevated through policy, including everything from paid leave to stimulus programs, the economy and larger community benefits. We look forward to supporting their incredible work this session and invite you to check out their Take Action 2021 Advocacy Agenda.
It is never too soon to reach out to your state senator to encourage them to support issues that are important to you—especially if they happen to sit on one of the committees referenced above. If you have lived experience or expertise but aren’t sure how to engage in the process, please reach out—we are here to support you in your advocacy.
There is no more powerful force than women and allies joining together and advocating for all. We look forward to working with you to create real and deep change in our state this session!
Tiffany Seibert Joekel
Research and Policy Director