2019 Legislative Update: January 29

Welcome to the Women’s Fund 2019 Legislative Update! Follow these updates to stay informed on the legislation affecting women and girls in Nebraska and learn more about how to support impactful policy.

This session, we will remain particularly focused on promoting freedom from violence for all women and girls, protecting safe and accessible health care, and furthering the economic self-sufficiency of women and girls in our communities. Be empowered and learn how you can influence policy this session. The first step is to find your senator so you can get connected on the issues that matter to you!

Paid Family and Medical Leave–We Need Your Voice

Senator Crawford introduced LB 311 to ensure Nebraska families don’t have to choose between their jobs and being there for a dying parent’s last days, caring for a newborn child during those fragile first weeks, or even caring for themselves during an unexpected illness because of a lack of paid leave policy.

The hearing for this bill will be on Monday, February 4 at 1:30 PM. Written testimony must be submitted to the Business and Labor Committee Chair (Senator Matt Hansen) by 5:00 PM this Friday (Feb. 1). Here are four ways you can use your voice in support of Nebraska families.

Less than 1 in 5 workers, nationally, has access to paid family and medical leave. LB 311 would create a program of paid family and medical leave insurance that would provide a portion of wages on a sliding scale for 6 weeks when caring for a family member with a serious health condition or military family member, and 12 weeks when caring for a new (by birth, adoption, or foster placement) child or when caring for a personal serious health condition, including pregnancy-related complications.

Learn more about LB 311 and how to advocate for this legislation.

Support for Trafficking Survivors Act

LB 518, introduced by Senator Linehan, would provide critically needed resources to support victims and survivors of sex trafficking in Nebraska. As a result of the sexual exploitation and violence experienced by trafficking survivors, they often need residential/shelter services, mental health services, physical health care, substance abuse recovery services, legal assistance, protection services and more. Nebraska currently lacks any state funds dedicated specifically to supporting sex trafficking or victim-centered law enforcement investigations.

LB 518 creates funding for service providers through a competitive grant program, a reimbursement program for state and local law enforcement to assist with trafficking investigations, a statewide Trafficking Survivors Advisory Board and an Office of Support for Trafficking survivors to coordinate and implement a state plan of response.

Learn more about LB 518.

Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights

Senator Bolz introduced LB 43, the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, to create a safe and supportive environment for survivors to come forward to seek care and justice following their sexual assault. The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights includes the right to an advocate, the right to free medical forensic exam, the right to a shower after medical exam, the right to anonymous reporting, and more.

Learn more about the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights.

More Bills Impacting Women and Girls

  • LB 516, introduced by Senator Pansing Brooks, will ensure that all children who have been trafficked receive the services they need as abused and neglected children, regardless of who their trafficker is.
  • Supporting survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking or harassment, LB 532 would clarify and strengthen the process of obtaining legal protection. It will also streamline the process for the court system by providing the court with the information needed to make these legal determinations, as well as make uniform the process among the three types of protection orders.
  • LB 217 aims to advance pay equity by protecting pay transparency, allowing employees to disclose compensation to coworkers and gain necessary information to advocate for fair pay without fear of losing their job.
  • LB 329 would expand affordable child care to Nebraska families, increasing eligibility for the child care subsidy program and addressing the program’s cliff effect as a family’s income rises.

Additional Bills We’re Following

  • LB 555 would ensure survivors of sexual assault have access to emergency contraception when seeking medical assistance from hospitals.
  • Promoting women’s health, LB 498 expands access to reproductive health care and family planning services through the Medicaid program.

There are many more bills that we are working on than we’ve included in this initial update. We will provide more information about other issues and opportunities for you to use your voice, as they arise!

If you have any questions about the information discussed in this email, please contact Tiffany Seibert Joekel, Research and Policy Director for the Women’s Fund at TJoekel@OmahaWomensFund.org.

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