Legislative Update:
March 6

This legislative session is unlike anything we’ve seen before. I keep saying that and it’s worth repeating. There is no session in recent history that has been as challenging as the one we are currently experiencing. It can be easy to turn it off and walk away if you are not directly impacted, but please know that many of the bills before us, if passed, will have negative impacts on generations of Nebraskans. Sit in the grief and gravity of that for a moment but don’t live there. We have work to do, and it will take all of us to hold elected officials accountable to the will of the people.

So, what can you do? Let’s get to it!

Two Actions to Advocate for Abortion Access

Abortion is legal in Nebraska today, but it has never been more in danger. LB 626 will soon be scheduled for first round of debate, called General File, which could last for up to eight hours across several days. If there are 33 votes to end a filibuster, there are still two more rounds of debate. Follow us on social media to get the latest updates.

While the bill is waiting to be scheduled for first round debate, know that we are doing everything we can to keep this harmful ban from passing, but we need your help!

It’s time to act. It will take all of us to defend abortion access in Nebraska and now is the time to join the fight.

Housing Justice is Gender Justice

Safe and affordable housing is a fundamental human right that is inextricably tied to a person’s economic outcomes, educational opportunities, and mental and physical health. Research demonstrates that women, especially women of color, face additional barriers to securing stable housing. To achieve gender and racial equity in our local communities and across Nebraska, advocating for housing justice is a core focus of the Women’s Fund’s policy efforts.

Several housing justice bills will be heard by the Judiciary committee this Wednesday. Plan to testify in-person or submit your comments online by noon on Tuesday. Get more information about submitting online comments.

  • Support LB 175 (Senator Dungan) and the adoption of the Residential Tenant Clean Slate Act which would automatically seal a tenant’s eviction records for proceedings that end in a dismissal and allow tenants to apply for a record of eviction judgment to be sealed after three years. Tenants with eviction filings and judgments on their record are less likely to find safe, affordable housing. Submit your comment of support now.
  • Support LB 187 (Senator J. Cavanaugh) to require a court to appoint counsel in an eviction proceeding for any tenant that does not have legal representation unless the tenant waives court-appointed counsel. Tenants facing eviction often don’t have legal representation at an eviction hearing due to lack of financial resources. Submit your comment of support now.
  • Support LB 248 (Senator Vargas) that will support renters using housing subsidies by amending the Nebraska Fair Housing Act to make it unlawful for a landlord to screen a potential tenant based on their source of income. Submit your comment of support now.
  • Support LB 270 (Senator McKinney) to require landlords to comply with any existing local rental ordinances before filing an eviction action. This is an important protection for Nebraskans who live in substandard and unsafe housing. Submit your comment of support now.
  • Support LB 545 (Senator Conrad) to offer tenants additional time by changing the language to state that a writ of restitution, a document that authorizes the eviction of a tenant, cannot be presented until after 10 days post-eviction judgment. Tenants being evicted need more time than currently allowed to prepare to leave the property and secure future housing. Submit your comment of support now.

A fact sheet on all these bills is available (English / Spanish). Additionally, join us and our partners for Housing Affordability and Justice Lobby Day next Tuesday, March 14.

Additional Updates on Bills Impacting Gender Equity

The Good News

  • LB 11 (Senator Blood) to provide clarification for household pets in domestic abuse protection orders has been voted out of Judiciary Committee and placed on General File.
  • LB 75 (Senator Vargas) provides for the review of incidents of severe maternal morbidity has been voted out of committee and is now placed on General File.
  • LB 183 (Senator J. Cavanaugh), that allows low-income petitioners in name changing proceedings to avoid paying fees, has been placed on General File.
  • LB 294 (Senator Conrad) to provide Nebraska families with a child tax credit has been prioritized by the introducer.
  • LB 315 (Senator Fredrickson) to protect survivors of domestic and sexual violence from debt collectors has made it out of committee and has been placed on General File.
  • LB 419 (Senator Wishart) passed out of the committee unanimously and has been placed on General File. The bill would extend postpartum coverage under Medicaid.

The Bad News

  • LB 77 (Senator Brewer) would allow for the carrying of concealed handguns without a permit passed. The bill has passed first round of debate with a vote of 36-12. We’ll continue to oppose this bill knowing that the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%. Contact your senator to oppose LB 77.
  • LB 574 (Senator Kauth) has been placed on General File and prioritized by the introducer. This discriminatory legislation would ban families of transgender youth from seeking medically-sound, affirming health care and punish doctors for providing care. Contact your senator to oppose LB 574.

If you have any questions about how to get involved or what happens next, please contact me. Collectively, we can make it clear to lawmakers that gender equity matters and it’s worth fighting for.