Like the past year, the 2021 legislative session was wild—with emotional highs and lows, a few losses and devasting heartbreaks, and then surprise endings and successes worthy of celebration. This work, while super hard and even exhausting at times, matters and will create lasting change in communities for generations to come. Thank you for being part of the progress for women and girls, for showing up for the difficult work and for helping to change hearts and minds. We win because we work together. So, let’s celebrate our wins now!
BIG Policy Wins for Women and Girls in 2021
- LB 108, introduced by Senator John McCollister, strengthens food security by increasing income eligibility for SNAP from 130% federal poverty level (FPL) to 165% FPL through the end of September 2023. This bill was vetoed by the Governor, but the veto was overridden by the Legislature.
- LB 260, introduced by Senator Megan Hunt, allows workers to be eligible for unemployment benefits if they leave a job to provide care for a family member with a serious health condition.
- LB 320, introduced by Senator John Cavanaugh, expands eviction protections for domestic violence survivors and allows for termination of rental agreements through housing protections. More info on LB 320 (English and Spanish).
- LB 372, introduced by Senator Jen Day, increases access to the Nebraska Crime Victims Reparations program for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, trafficking and child abuse by lifting the three-day law enforcement reporting requirement and eliminating the requirement that applications to the program be notarized. More info on LB 372 (English and Spanish).
- LB 451, introduced by Senator Terrell McKinney, bans natural hair discrimination in the workplace. More info on LB 451 (English and Spanish).
- LB 461, introduced by Senator Patty Pansing Brooks, requires human trafficking informational posters in casinos.
- LB 485, introduced by Senator Wendy DeBoer, increases access to affordable child care through the child care assistance or subsidy program (Title XX) by increasing initial eligibility from 130% FPL to 185% FPL and exit eligibility from 185% FPL to 200% FPL through the end of September 2023.
- LB 497, introduced by Senator DeBoer, increases access to the Nebraska Crime Victims Reparations program for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, trafficking and child abuse by allowing for direct reimbursement from the CVR program to health care providers, with the victim’s permission.
What Comes Next
This session was the first of the biennium, and bills introduced this year that did not pass will remain available for action in the 2022 legislative session. We have a few priorities that we’ll continue to advocate for during the interim and into next session. Those bills include:
- Providing insurance coverage of extended supply of birth control (LB 20, introduced by Senator Carol Blood). More info on LB 20 (English and Spanish).
- Strengthening protection orders for survivors of violence (LB 118, introduced by Senator Adam Morfeld). More info on LB 118 (English and Spanish).
- Ensuring access to pregnancy prevention through emergency contraception for sexual assault survivors (LB 183, introduced by Senator Hunt).
- Disrupting the cycle of pay inequity through a salary history ban (LB 249, introduced by Senator Pansing Brooks). More info on LB 249 (English and Spanish).
- Creating an insurance program to support paid family and medical leave for workers in our state (LB 290, introduced by Senator Machaela Cavanaugh)
- Closing Nebraska’s unemployment insurance gap for work-authorized immigrants (LB 298, introduced by Senator Mike McDonnell).
Watch our final Public Policy Power Hour for additional information on this session.
Additionally, when the Legislature reconvenes in January 2022, senators will have the first 10 days to introduce new legislation. Over the next several months, we will be working to ensure robust implementation of this year’s policy wins, listening to those with lived experience, researching the issues impacting women and girls, and coalition-building.
If you have questions about this legislative session or our collective work moving forward, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Thank you again for your support and for using your voice for women and girls across our state!