We’re officially through the first 10 days of the Nebraska Legislative Session which means bill introduction is complete. Honestly, there is a lot to get excited about—feeding families, keeping people safely in their homes, supporting pregnant people, accessible and affordable child care and more! Of course, there are several bills that will require fierce opposition—continued discrimination of trans youth, attacks on our education systems and undermining public safety by increasing access to guns, to name a few.
We won’t know all the outcomes of the current rules debate until the end of this week. Once complete, floor debate on carryover legislation will begin in the mornings with committee hearings in the afternoons starting on Monday, January 22 through Thursday, February 29.
But before we jump too far, let’s preview some of the bills that could positively impact gender equity!
Key New Bills We’re Supporting
- LB 845 (Sen. Megan Hunt) – pauses evictions during a school year for households with children under 18, a school or child care educator, and school or childcare staff.
- LB 856 (Sen. John Fredrickson) – changes eligibility requirements for the federal child care subsidy program to include child care employees. This bill has already been declared the senator’s priority bill.
- LB 857 (Sen. George Dungan) – expands prenatal services for reimbursement under Medicaid. This bill has already been declared the senator’s priority bill.
- LB 871 (Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh) – provides transparency and accountability of the TANF money to ensure our state makes the best use of available funds for those who need it most.
- LB 904 (Sen. Wendy DeBoer) – ensures childcare providers who provide affordable care are adequately reimbursed and can continue to provide, and expand, access for affordable child care.
- LB 913 (Sen. Hunt) – helps Nebraska ensure that postpartum health care is available to all women and people who need it.
- 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) – provides summer grocery buying benefits to low-income families with school-aged children by requiring the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to implement the federal summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program. A similar measure, LB 1291, has been introduced by Sen. Danielle Conrad, to provide an alternative path for accepting these funds.
- LB 1050 (Sen. Conrad) – requires middle and high schools to offer free menstrual products in school bathrooms.
- LB 1106 and LB 1107 (Sen. Day) – supports breastfeeding parents by providing coverage of lactation consultations under the Medical Assistance Act and access to breast pumps through Medicaid coverage.
- LB 1139 (Sen. M. Cavanaugh) – would be similar to existing legislation, LB 57, and provide paid family and medical leave to Nebraska families.
- LB 1278 (Sen. Terrell McKinney) – provides for reimbursement of doula and doula services under the Medical Assistance Act to support pregnant people.
- LB 1324 (Sen. Conrad) – provides a critical Child Tax Credit for families with children under six years old.
We’re monitoring several additional bills, including legislation that impacts abortion access and victims of gender-based violence. Our positions on these bills will continue to align with our values and we will only engage in public policy as its effective and helpful to those most impacted. Stay tuned and keep checking our website for bill information.
What Happens Next
Committee hearings start next week. This is a chance to directly engage with lawmakers and share your experiences and positions on legislation. You can find this schedule through calendar by clicking into each day and then on “Hearing Schedules.” Reminder: Online comments are due by noon the legislative business day before a hearing. Learn more information about submitting online comments.
Monday, January 22
LB 929 (Sen. Fredrickson) – seeks to coordinate 911 and the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline so they work together to better serve Nebraskans in need. We support this legislation as these services are critical tools used by those experiencing domestic and sexual violence.
- ACTION! Submit online comments in support of LB 929 by noon on Friday, Jan. 19.
Tuesday, January 23
LB 855 (Sen. Conrad) – prohibits school districts from sending families to debt collections relating to outstanding debts on a school lunch or breakfast account. We support this bill and efforts to ensure people’s basic needs are met.
- ACTION! Submit online comments in support of LB 855 by noon on Monday, Jan. 22.
Carryover Bills We’re Still Monitoring
- Support LB 58 (Sen. John Cavanaugh) that provides a sale and tax exemption for diapers, a critical tool in raising a healthy child.
- Support LB 233 (Sen. J. Cavanaugh) that would increase economic security by allowing TANF recipients to receive child support payments.
- Oppose LB 327 (Sen. Jane Raybould) that would reduce the minimum wage, which was successfully raised by Nebraska voters, for youth.
- Oppose LB 575 (Sen. Kathleen Kauth) that would ban trans youth from sports and school spaces. This bill is still in the Education Committee but has been prioritized by the senator and could be scheduled for debate at any time. Contact your senator now to oppose this discriminatory legislation. We’ll let you know when debate is scheduled.
How to Stay Engaged on the Issues
To protect and advance gender equity, we are committed to actively engaging in effective public policy. And we need your voice! In addition to testifying during committee hearings, here are ways you can engage on legislation:
We also know that the only way this works is by staying in community with one another. If you have questions or need more information, please email me.
Together, we can make a bold impact for our community.
Are you ready? Let’s go!