Legislative Update: March 17

With the completion of committee hearings at the Nebraska Legislature and the selection of priority bills by Senators, the Speaker and Committees, now only those pieces of legislation are likely to move to the floor for debate by the full Legislature. Below is an overview of what priority bills we’re tracking—our first priority bill (LB 320) will be on the agenda for debate by the full Legislature next week.

Here are two ways you can take action to support opportunities for women and girls this week.

Action 1: Write an email to your senator TODAY asking them to support LB 320 so survivors of domestic violence have safe housing. See more info below and learn more about this bill.

Action 2: Send an email to your Nebraska Board of Education representative thanking them for considering new health standards. See more info at the bottom of this email.

Priority Bills Impacting Women and Girls in Nebraska

LB 451 Bans Natural Hair Discrimination in the Workplace (Introduced and Prioritized by Senator Terrell McKinney). Voted out of the Business and Labor Committee unanimously, the bill will soon be debated by all Senators. Your overwhelming support by submitting online comments, and helping I Be Black Girl reach their goal of 500 comments, will help push this bill toward the finish line. More>

LB 320 — Supports Survivors of Domestic Violence through Housing Protections (Introduced and Prioritized by Senator John Cavanaugh). Domestic violence survivors should not be evicted because of the violence they have endured, nor should they be forced to stay and live with their abuser because of a lease. This bill would recognize the connection between domestic violence and economic security. More>

LB 485 — Supports Affordable Child Care (Introduced and Prioritized by Senator Wendy DeBoer) by investing in our workforce through increased access to child care assistance.

LB 241 — Adopts the Meatpacking Employees COVID-19 Protection Act (Introduced and Prioritized by Senator Tony Vargas). In response to COVID-19 and how it continues to directly impact meatpacking workers, Senator Vargas has introduced legislation to put in place safety and sanitary measures, paid sick leave and PPE provisions, among other requirements to keep these frontline workers safe.

LB 258 — Provides Paid Sick and Safe Leave (Introduced by Senator Vargas, Prioritized by Senator Matt Hansen) so workers can care for themselves and their families when they are ill or need time off work as a result of domestic or sexual violence.

LB 108 — Increases eligibility for SNAP (Introduced and Prioritized by Senator John McCollister). This bill addresses the cliff effect in food assistance benefits that allows working families to accept raises or small wage increases without losing the support they need.

LB 298 — Fixes Nebraska’s Unemployment Insurance Gap for work-authorized immigrants (Introduced and Prioritized by Senator Mike McDonnell).

LB 497 — Supports victims of domestic and sexual violence in addressing medical costs (Introduced by Senator DeBoer and Prioritized by Speaker Hilgers) by reducing unnecessary administrative steps and barriers to addressing such debt.

The Legislature operates in a two-year cycle called a biennium. This is the first year of the biennium, and the bills that are not prioritized this session will remain “in play” for senators to work on and advocate for through the remainder of this session and next. So, the work continues!

Reminder: You are the Second House in Nebraska. Your voice and input are critical in shaping legislation. Use your voice. Contact your Senator. Speak up for women and girls!

Another opportunity to engage in advocacy and support young people’s health education and well-being!

Last week, the Nebraska Department of Education released a draft of new statewide health education standards. These standards provide a framework that supports student’s emotional well-being and academic success.

We applaud NDE’s efforts to implement standards and curricula that reflect all students’ identities. This process will help create affirming and protective school environments that are linked to emotional well-being and academic success. We fully support age-appropriate, effective health education that increases positive health outcomes for young people. The proposed standards elevate important protective concepts for our students, including in human growth and development and sexual violence prevention. Learn more about why this matters.

Send a direct email to board members today thanking them for engaging in this process and encourage the board to continue on the path of inclusive, science-based and age-appropriate standards that support students’ well-being.