Unicameral is Back in Session - Jan. Newsletter
January 25th, 2022
Dear friends and neighbors,
The Unicameral is back in session! Bill introduction is officially over and below you can find a brief overview of my 2022 legislative agenda, testifying procedure updates, bills I support, and dangerous proposals that have been introduced this session.
We are beginning our 60-day session with nearly 700 bills introduced and the added task of allocating over 1 billion in federal funding. This is our chance to make generational investments with the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding by prioritizing affordable housing, racial and gender equity, education, infrastructure, economic justice, and environmental protections.
A handful of my colleagues have continued their relentless attack on abortion rights by introducing roughly six bills to ban or restrict access to reproductive healthcare and comprehensive sex education. We must remember that abortion is a right. Abortion is health care. The decision about whether and when to become a parent belongs to Nebraskans and their medical providers, not the government. Above all, politicians have no place interfering with personal health care decisions. We aren’t medical experts, and we don’t know better than doctors or the patient themselves. However we personally feel about abortion, individuals, not lawmakers, should have the option to make these decisions without political interference. As long as I am in the Nebraska Legislature, and beyond, I am committed to doing everything I can to protect the rights of patients, families, doctors, and ensure that any policy we advance is motivated by evidence, research, and the well-being of all Nebraskans.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to my office with your thoughts on any upcoming legislation. Your feedback and input are always important to me.
All the best,
2022 Legislative Agenda
LB 715 - Lift the ban on insurance coverage for abortion care
- Nebraska is one of 11 states that prohibit abortion coverage from being included in private and public plans. Current restrictive laws serve to “punish” people who have made the difficult decision to end a pregnancy. Many of these people may already be struggling financially, and the burden of medical bills incurred from abortion care may contribute to keeping them in a cycle of poverty.
LB 716 - Expand the list of providers qualified to provide abortion care to include Certified Nurse Midwives, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, and physician assistants
- Health care providers are overworked and in short supply. Many duties that are currently performed by physicians can also be safely done by skilled, licensed nurses and physician assistants. This is a simple, effective way to help our health care workers and patients alike.
LB 834 - Eliminate the disability subminimum wage
- The current practice of setting disability wages based on a worker’s efficiency and ability is exploitive, discriminatory, and dehumanizing, resulting in these workers being paid cents on the dollar due to a little-known 80-year old federal law.
LB 930 - Allow for the use of campaign funds for a child's travel and childcare related to the office holder's official duties
- Being a parent with little to no disposable income should not be a factor in whether or not someone is able to run for office. The aim of this bill is to make it easier for low-income and single parents to fulfill the public service duties they were elected to do.
LB 931 - Counting vacation payouts fairly for unemployment eligibility
- This bill removes the statute that currently requires lump sum vacation paid out upon separation to be prorated to an amount reasonably attributable to that week and the amount the employee would be entitled to for the weeks thereafter. If a contract employee chooses to save up vacation days rather than take time off in order to get paid out for those days later on, it is their prerogative to do so; and their unemployment eligibility should not be adversely affected. The employee earned those vacation benefit dollars during the course of employment and is now no longer working, so they should be eligible for unemployment without the lump-sum payment counting against them.
- Hearing set for Jan. 24th
LB 932 - Establish protections for foster youth's social security benefits
- Establishes notification requirements and transparency measures, requires the state to provide financial literacy training to older youth, and requires the state to establish a savings account for social security benefits for youth starting at age 14.
- Comes after interim study LR 198 which investigated the state’s practice of interception social security benefits that belong to foster youth under the guise of reimbursing itself for the youth’s care (2.7mil a year) without the youths’ or their guardian’s knowledge.
- Nebraska is one of at least 10 states that has hired a for-profit contractor to screen youth for eligibility for this money and to apply for it on the state’s behalf, taking the most vulnerable of our vulnerable children and asking them to foot the bill for their own care.
- Hearing set for Jan. 28th
LB 1027 - Provide grants to schools that discontinue the use of Native American mascots
- Incentivizes schools to discontinue the use of Native mascots by allowing them to apply for a grant from the State Department of Education for up to $200,000 to assist with the cost of changing mascots. Currently
LB 1028 - Tipped wage enforcement
- We know from reports and testimony from hundreds of workers across the state that some employers are not following the current law, but due to the vagueness of the statute, it is difficult to track and enforce
- The bill makes it explicitly clear it is the employer’s responsibility to make up the difference between a tipped employee’s wage + tips and the regular minimum wage of $9/hr, establishes a simplified process to submit complaints, and expands protections for employees.
LB 1029 - Provide employee harassment protections for small businesses
- Creates harassment and discrimination protections that apply to businesses with 14 or fewer employees
- The Fair Employment Practice Act (NFEPA) includes protections for employees from harassment, discrimination, and employer retaliation for employers with at least 15 employees. This means there is a giant hole in the Act - employers with 14 employees or less have no protections under this Act or federal law. There is no good reason that small employers should be free to discriminate against and harass their employees without penalty.
LB 1136 - Prohibit senior care living facilities from discriminating against LGBTQ+ individuals
- Under current statute, these facilities can deny applications, evict residents, refuse to assign a room in accordance with one’s gender identity, and bully and harasses LGBTQ+ individuals for simply being themselves. This bill will provide vital housing protections for our LGBTQ+ senior Nebraskans.
LR 269CA - Establish an independent redistricting commission
- Establishes a politically balanced 9 member independent citizens commission to set district lines for the Legislature's approval to remove partisan games and restore transparency in the redistricting process.
- Hearing set for Jan. 27th
- LB 121 (General File) - Removes the lifetime SNAP ban for individuals with prior drug convictions
- LB 205 (in committee)- Places a cap on rental late fees
- Bringing a new amendment to simplify the math
- LB 250 (General File) - Establishes the Interior Design Voluntary Registration Act
- LB 276 (in committee) - Permit telemedicine abortions
- LB 357 (General File) - Create the Youth in Care Bill of Right
- LB 814 (McKinney) - Require racial impact statements for legislative bills
- LB 842 (Brewer) - Include tribal governments to be able to receive Civic and Community Center assistance grants
- LB 872 (Brewer) - Ensure Native American students can proudly wear their tribal regalia in Nebraska schools
- LB 1191 (Brewer) - Use federal funds to improve tribal-owned drinking water
- LB 929 (Wishart) - Extends postpartum insurance coverage
- LB 1129 (Morfeld) - Provide free birth control
- LB 1133 (Morfeld) - Allow health workers to qualify for mental health benefits under workers' compensation
- LB 1066 & 1067 (Stinner) - Direct federal funds to behavioral health care services
- LB 1075 (Stinner) - Direct federal funds to youth mental health services
- LB 745 (Cavanaugh, M.) - Update marriage language to "spouses" to make it more inclusive
- LB 881 (McKinney) - Provide for a sale tax exemption for feminine hygiene products and require detention facilities to provide such products
- LB 940 (Hansen, M.) - Direct federal funds for housing
- LB 1002 (McDonnell) - Direct funds to low-income home energy assistance
- LB 1142 (Vargas) - Direct federal funds to affordable housing
- LB 1052 (Cavanaugh, J.) - Direct federal funds to a homeless assistance program
- LB 1070 & 1071 (Williams) - Direct federal funds to rural affordable housing
- LB 1073 (Wayne) - Create the Department of Housing and Urban Development to address affordable housing needs
- LB 1252 (Vargas) - Direct federal funds to middle-income housing
- LB 991 (Morfeld) - Direct funds to conduct a feasibility study for a high-speed commuter rail between Omaha and Lincoln
- LB 1024 (Wayne) - Adopt the North Omaha Recovery Act and state intent regarding appropriation of federal funds
- LB 1114 (McKinney), LB 1116 & 1117 (Wayne) - Encourage business/development in areas of high poverty and/or unemployment
- LB 1141 (Vargas) - Direct federal funds to legal civil representation for financially struggling clients
- LB 1201 (Deboer) - Use federal funds on expanded food assistance
- LB 1203 (Briese) - Use federal funds on child care assistance
- LB 1238 (Vargas) - Use federal funds on South Omaha Recovery Grant Program
Criminal Justice Reform
- LB 920 (Lathrop) - Create the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Task Force
- LB 946 (Wayne) - Prohibit state agencies from prescribing off-label medications to certain juveniles
- LB 952 (Cavanaugh, J.) - Provide Medicaid enrollment assistance to inmates prior to release
- LB 1111 (McKinney) - Designate funding for reentry and restorative justice programming
- LB 1154 (McKinney) - Smart justice reform to support reentry and rehabilitation
- LB 1155 (Cavanaugh, J.) - Smart justice assessment of pretrial release, supporting bond reform
- LB 1276 (McKinney) - Allow for civil actions against police officers who commit misconduct
- LB 793 (McCollister) - Provide for ranked-choice voting
- LB 768 (Albrecht) - Ban health and sex education in public schools
- LB 781 (Slama) - Ban abortion at six weeks, before many Nebraskans even know they're pregnant
- LB 785 (Groene) - Shortens the window of when ballots can be mailed out to voters
- LB 859 (Clements) - Prohibit health departments from implementing directed health measures without approval from DHHS
- LB 933 (Albrecht) - Ban abortion entirely if the Supreme Court overturns Row vs. Wade
- LB 938 (Linehan) - Reduces corporate income tax rates
- LB 963 (Murman) - Allows for healthcare workers to deny almost any kind of care based on personal beliefs, creating a sweeping license to discriminate
- LB 1011 (Budget proposal) - Continued push for a $240+ million new prison, instead of investing in smart justice solutions
- LB 1077 (Hansen, B.) - Classroom censorship bill to restrict discussions of race and gender in K-12 classrooms, higher education, and government agencies' professional development training
- LB 1078 (Hansen, B.) - Prohibit students from having cell phones in classrooms
- LB 1181 (Groene) - Adds new mail voting restrictions
- LB 1086 (Geist) - Further restricts medication abortion, a safe, effective, and FDA-approved method of care
- LB 1179 (Groene) - Allow for teachers to use physical intervention in classrooms
- LB 1213 (Albrecht) - Digital censorship in schools
- LR 282CA (Slama) - Undoes the nonpartisan nature of our unique Unicameral elections
- LR 278CA (Linehan) - Eliminate the State Board of Education
District 8 Events
- Douglas County has several locations you can visit to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine.
Benson First Friday Art Walk
- Supporting the emerging artistic community in Omaha and our surrounding areas starting Friday, February 4th.
Hand Up Food Pantry
- January 27 at 3:30 pm - 5:15 pm at First Presbyterian Church’s on 216 S 34th St, Omaha. This is a recurring event every Thursday.
Season of Lights
- Experience a winter’s night and stroll in the glow of a cherished holiday tradition – tens of thousands of white LED lights strung throughout Turner Park and along Farnam Street. Happening now through February 14, 2022.
Valentine's Day Pop-Up Events with Mauve Moon Florals
- February 6th embrace your inner goddess pop-up at Bellevue Social Center
- February 12th Galentine's Day Pop-Up at Shop Five Nine (Benson)
Our Office in the News
Lincoln Journal Star - Sen. Megan Hunt proposes expanded access to abortion care as Legislature returns
Omaha World-Herald editorial - Midlands Voices It’s vital for Nebraska leaders to stand up for all women by Megan Hunt
3 News Now - School choice bill fails in Nebraska Legislature despite unlikely political alliances
ACLU of Nebraska - Advocates announce new bills to protect abortion rights
KETV Omaha - Abortion stakes high in upcoming legislative session
Lincoln Journal Star - Social Security tax repeal bill delayed by fiscal uncertainty
Connect with Me
- Please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Youtube to stay up to date with my latest activities.
- I invite you to visit my office in Lincoln at the 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.