March 17th, 2022
Note from Meg
Dear friends and neighbors,
On March 3rd, after weeks of passionate hearings and testimony, the committee hearings came to a close. The legislature has now moved to all-day floor debate - beginning with priority bill selections. I hope you continue to stay in touch with me on any issue that is of importance to you throughout this process.
Each Senator is allowed to designate one bill as a personal priority bill and each committee can designate two committee priority bills. In addition, the Speaker designates another 25 priority bills. This session I have prioritized LB121 - a bill that would remove the lifetime ban on SNAP eligibility for people with certain drug convictions. I requested LB932 as a priority bill from Speaker Hilgers. This bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services to notify foster youth and their guardians of their social security benefits. Unfortunately, Speaker Hilgers did not select this bill as one of his priority bills.
A big focus of mine this session has been opposing bills that do not represent the values Nebraskans hold dear. These bills include- LB939, LB1023, LB1015 among others. LB939 would reduce taxes for Nebraska's highest individual earners while doing nothing for the majority of Nebraskans; LB1023 would appropriate $200 million of federal pandemic recovery funds to build a lake between Omaha and Lincoln when this money should be used for the services Nebraskans are asking us for such as rental assistance, mental healthcare, etc.; and LB1015 would use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to build a canal that would divert South Platte River water from Colorado to Nebraska. This bill is in search of a problem as Colorado has not violated the water compact agreement between them and Nebraska. The canal will cost $500 million dollars with $100 million coming from ARPA funds. LB1023 and LB1015 would both use relief funds irresponsibly. We need your support in defeating these four bills.
As all-day floor debate continues, your voice matters. To learn how to submit online comments, click here. Since committee hearings have ceased this session, online comments will not be included on the official record. However, feedback is still relevant and important as bills progress.
All the best,
Committee hearings have drawn to a close, below is an update on bills I have introduced. You can get more information on each bill by clicking on the bill number.
- LB121: Lift SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) ban for people with drug convictions
- This ban only applies to individuals with drug-related felonies.
- Many people did not find out that they were banned from receiving SNAP until they were in desperate need of the service during the pandemic.
- These individuals have served their time and should not be deprived of essential services. Everyone deserves access to food.
- Nebraska is the only state with this ban.
- Placed on General File
- My priority bill
- AM2200: Require DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) to inform foster youth and their guardians of social security benefits
- After an interim study this past session, we discovered that DHHS in Nebraska does not inform foster youth or their guardians of possible social security benefits they are entitled to.
- DHHS often was using these funds that were meant for the foster youth to pay for the cost of their care.
- My bill would require that the foster youth and their guardian(s) are notified of their benefits.
- AM 2200 to LB1173
- Advanced to Final Reading
- LB1137: Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) update for the Fair Pay to Play Act
- College athletes deserve to be compensated for their name, image, and likeness. This would be a technical update to the Fair Pay to Play Act that was passed into law in 2020.
- Placed on Select File
- LB357: Youth in Care Bill of Rights
- Foster youth are already required to be informed of their basic rights, however foster youth and advocates have expressed that the rights that are currently enumerated are not broad enough nor are they communicated in a way that the youth can retain or fully understand.
- This bill would provide the foster youth with a more comprehensive list of rights and an avenue for them to file a complaint if they feel as though their rights have been violated.
- Placed on General File
- LB250: Adopt the Interior Design Voluntary Registration Act
- Currently in Nebraska, interior designers are required to hire an architect or an engineer to stamp their design plans; thus, causing unnecessary fees and delays in their project.
- This is a bill to create a voluntary registration to be administered to the Nebraska State Treasurer for those qualified interior designers in Nebraska to use the title "Registered Interior Designer". Those registered would have the ability to stamp and seal their interior design construction documents.
- Placed on General File with AM471
Bills to Watch
Bills I Support
- LB920 (Lathrop): Create the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Task Force
- The task force would enact a series of evidence-based strategies to reduce inmate population and lower recidivism rates.
- LB872 (Brewer): Allows Native American students to proudly wear their tribal regalia
- Requires that Native American students shall not be forced to remove items of tribal regalia at school or school-sanctioned events.
- AM1969 (Hansen, M.): Require the Governor to apply for emergency rental assistance under ARPA
- Nebraska is one of two states who have not yet applied for emergency rental assistance from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
- This amendment would require Governor Ricketts to apply for this emergency rental assistance.
Bills I Oppose
- LB939 (Linehan): A tax break for wealthy Nebraskans
- Cuts taxes for wealthy Nebraskans, but fails to provide any significant relief for middle to lower-class Nebraskans.
- LB773 (Brewer): Concealed Carry without a permit
- Removes the requirement for one to receive a permit to conceal carry a handgun which in turn means people will not have to take a safety class before doing so.
- LB730 (Lindstrom): Tax credit bill amended to include Opportunity Scholarship tax credit
- Puts in place a tax incentive that would match dollar-for-dollar donations to private schools.
- LB1213 (Albrecht): Provides requirements for access to digital and online materials for public schools. Restricts access to "obscene" materials.
- This is a bill in search of a problem. Obscene is never defined in the bill leaving it up to interpretation which could restrict academic freedom for students. It also takes control away from the library commission and educators who are already filtering online content.
- LB933 (Albrecht): Bans abortions entirely if SCOTUS overturns Roe
- Makes it so that if the Supreme Court of the United States overturns all or part of Roe, Nebraska law will reflect that decision immediately.
- LB1086 (Geist): Put unnecessary restrictions on medication abortions
- Requires the patient who is taking the medication abortion to partake in pre and post appointments which are not medically unnecessary. This bill also shortens the window you can take the medication down from 11 weeks to 10 weeks. Both of these requirements go against the standard of care of abortion services.
All of the bills listed above are priority bills. To see a full list of Senator, Committee, and Speaker priority bills, click here.
February & March in Review
February 24th was a big day for abortion rights at the Unicameral. Three draconian bills, LB933, LB781, and LB1086, were being discussed in the Judiciary Committee that day. LB933 would ban abortions entirely if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe. This bill also criminalizes physicians for providing the standard of care. LB781 would ban abortions at about six weeks, which is well before many people even know they are pregnant. LB1086 would put unnecessary restrictions on medication abortion. These bills attack Nebraskan's vital reproduction rights. None of these bills take into consideration the standard of care for abortions and they are based in false evidence. Nebraskans showed up in droves to voice their opinions on each bill. Proponents of these bills did not use up all of their allotted two hours of testimony, while opponents of these bills still had people waiting inside and outside of the room to testify after their two hours were up. Anyone who was in the Capitol that day knows that it was an important day. Research shows us that most Nebraskans are in favor of reproductive healthcare. On February 24th, Nebraskans proved this by showing up in astonishing numbers.
On March 1st, I had the privilege of speaking to Thespians from across the state for the first annual Theatre In Our Schools Advocacy Day. I was able to speak about the importance of keeping theater in our schools and how important the arts are in general for students.
The League of Women Voters held a panel on March 3rd to discuss the minimum wage and medical marijuana ballot initiatives. I was able to discuss the various bills I have introduced throughout my time on the legislature addressing the need for a living wage and how I strongly support this initiative.
On March 4th I had the pleasure of speaking at the National Art Education Foundation's National Conference Panel about my help with defeating LB364, the opportunity tax credit bill. I discussed how this bill is an effort to undermine public schools and chip away at public schools to move towards privatization.
The Nebraska Civic Leaders Program (NCLP) held a Senator panel on March 10th. This program is a partnership between Omaha Public Schools and the University of Nebraska Omaha to give high schoolers hands-on experiences on how government works at all levels. I had the opportunity to speak on my experience as a State Senator in Nebraska.
Our Office in the News
1011 Now: Nebraska bill proposed would help schools discontinue use of Native American mascots
KMTV Omaha: Women of Nebraska Legislature demanding change in wake of Groene resignation
Omaha World-Herald: Future of legal abortion at stake in Nebraska legislative hearing
Lincoln Journal Star: State income tax rate reduction advanced for further consideration
Unicameral Update: Bill would expand authorized abortion practitioners
Omaha World-Herald: Nebraska moves to end privatized management of child welfare cases after troubled history
North Platte Post: Bill to end lifetime ban on food assistance before Nebraska lawmakers
KLKN TV: New bill would allow insurance companies to cover abortions in Nebraska
Omaha World-Herald: Nebraska lawmakers push Ricketts to seek additional federal rental aid
News Channel Nebraska: Big Metro lake brings big questions
KLIN: Lawmakers debate no permit conceal carry
District 8 Events, News & Resources
Dundee- Memorial Park Neighborhood Meeting: April 11th from 7-8pm at Brownell Talbot click here for more information on the event.
Annual Spring DMPA Garage Sale Weekend: The annual Dundee-Memorial Park garage sale weekend will take place on May 12th-15th, to sign up to sell your cool stuff click here! A list of all the addresses selling items will be available soon.
Benson Community Garden: Benson's Community Garden is located at 1302 N 60th st. You can sign up to garden or donate through their website. More info here.
BFF: Benson First Friday's aka BFF has opened a new art gallery in Benson located at 5901 Maple st! Come check it out on Saturdays from 10am-6pm.
Benson Days: The annual Benson Days will take place on July 30th-31st. This event takes place in historic Benson. For more info, click here
17th Annual Omaha Film Festival: Virtual events will take place March 13th-April 2nd. Limited in person screenings will take place March 11th and 12th at the Brownell Talbot Theater. For more info, click here
Food Bank: Benson Baptist Church in conjunction with Food Bank of the Heartland has a food pantry open to the public from 9am-12pm on the last Saturday of every month. The church is located at 6319 Maple St. For more info, click here
Omaha Parks and Rec: Omaha Parks and Rec is looking for employees this summer. Click here or reference the photo below for more information.
Connect with Me
- Please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, or Instagram to stay up to date with my latest activities.
- I invite you to visit my office in Lincoln at Nebraska State Capitol. Call my office to coordinate. (402) 471-2722
- You can watch the Legislature live on NET TV or find NET's live stream here.
- State Capitol, Room 1523
- P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509
- 402-471-2722 email@example.com