Legislative Update:
March 27

There are 10 days left of the session (including today). The pace of debate on bills will only pick up, especially after last week’s announcement from Speaker John Arch about new filibuster debate rules. “Social issue” bills will now only get four hours on General File, two hours on Select File and 1 hour on Final Reading—half the amount of time typically allotted. This means that more divisive bills that are likely to have opposition could still be heard on the floor with little time left in the session. Feel free to contact Speaker Arch and ask him to only schedule bills that improve the lives and well-being of Nebraskans.

If you missed it—last week during the debate on LB 441 that would ban books and criminalize teachers and librarians, Senator Steve Halloran read part of a memoir from someone who was raped and inserted his colleagues’ names into the passages. Now, Senators Machaela Cavanaugh and Julie Slama have filed a legislative resolution to censure and condemn his conduct. There is a scheduled hearing with invited testimony only this Thursday, March 28. Online comments can be submitted. What is consistently missing in these conversations is the centering of victims of sexual abuse who see their experiences in print and finally realize they aren’t alone.

As always, your voice matters—especially in these final days when most bills get passed. With the increased pace and amount of bills on the agenda, make sure your Senator hears from you about how to vote on important legislation. 

Bill Updates 

If a bill is moving through the three stages of floor debate, the best action to take is to contact your senator directly and let them know how you want them to vote. 

✅ LB 233 (Senator John Cavanaugh) increases economic stability by allowing TANF recipients to receive child support payments. This bill has been on the agenda this week but has not been debated.

✅ LB 840 (Sen. Terrell McKinney), to Adopt the Poverty Elimination Act, passed first round debate and now includes LB 1046that would require a court to appoint a free lawyer in an eviction brought by the public chousing authority in Omaha. Learn more about housing justice-related bills via our fact sheet (English / Spanish).

✅ LB 870 (Sen. M. Cavanaugh) amends the Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights to allow victims control over their own evidence. This bill, prioritized by Speaker Arch, has been on the agenda this week but has not been debated.

LB 1106 and LB 1107 (Sen. Jen Day) have now been successfully amended to LB 1215, the Health and Human Services Committee package. These bills provide support for breastfeeding parents and will improve Medicaid access to lactation support and breast pumps for Nebraska parents. LB 1215 is now on final reading! 

❌ LB 441 (Sen. Joni Albrecht) failed to overcome a filibuster and did not pass the first round. We applaud Senators for rejecting this attempt at censorship and criminalization of educators. You can view the votes online.

❌ LB 606 (Sen. Albrecht) would provide tax credits to donations made to anti-abortion centers, also known as “crisis pregnancy centers.” There is an amendment to attempt to add this bill to LB 937. We oppose this bill because anti-abortion centers are heavy in deceptive and manipulative tactics and low in actual health care. Oppose this bill being added to LB 937 as part of AM 3132.

 LB 575 (Sen. Kathleen Kauth) bans trans youth from playing sports and denies them access to some spaces in their schools. This discriminatory legislation is still in committee but could be advanced in these final days of the session. Contact the Education Committee to oppose this discriminatory legislation and ensure that all Nebraska students can live safely and freely as they are—especially in schools.

 LB 71 (Sen. Rita Sanders) changes provisions relating to parental involvement in and access to learning materials in schools. With amendments, this bill passed first round of debate. While this bill is a much less extreme version of what could have been, we continue to be opposed to bills like this that have grown out of a movement rooted in censorship and distrust of teachers.

= LB 876 (Sen. Rick Holdcroft) creates a Newborn Safe Haven Act. This bill passed first round debate with the introducer agreeing to amended out the “baby box” component of the bill while keeping the intention to expand where newborns could be dropped off without facing criminal penalties. We remain concerned that this will still have the potential for increased surveillance of pregnant people and led to criminal investigations of pregnancy outcomes.

In The News

Housing advocates converge at State Capitol, hear grim update on affordable housing efforts – Nebraska Examiner

Nebraska senator investigated for mentioning colleague in rape reading  HuffPost

Omaha Housing Authority pauses most eviction filings amid public scrutiny – Flatwater Free Press

Protect Our Rights and the Nebraska Ballot Initiative Process – KIOS / NPR