|January 21, 2021 Dear friends and neighbors,|
Below you can find a brief overview of each of the bills I have introduced for 2021, as well as a few of the nearly 80 proposals I am co-sponsoring with my colleagues.
The text of these bills is available on the Nebraska Legislature’s website. This is a great tool to use to find information on hearing dates, the progress of a bill, and other relevant documents. If you are interested in testifying on any bills, you can find an overview of the process here. Note that this year, written testimony will need to be submitted by noon the day before the bill’s hearing, a change from 5 pm in previous years. Guidance on hearings may continue to change depending on COVID-19, but I will make sure that you hear of any changes and are able to testify on the bills that matter to you.
All the best,
2021 Legislative Agenda
LB 120 – Prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity While the Supreme Court Bostock v. Clayton County case held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against this, it is still essential to pass this at the state level Good governance to harmonize federal and state laws Prevents employers and employees from wading through a patchwork of laws resulting in uncertainty and costly civil rights litigation
LB 121 – Expand access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for individuals with prior drug convictions Removes the lifetime SNAP ban for people with drug convictions who have either completed their sentence or are serving a term of parole, probation, or post-release supervision
LB 122 – Eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers The tipped wage of $2.13/hour has not been updated since 1990, resulting in poverty rates 3 times higher for tipped workers than the general workforce. Eliminating the subminimum wage would put tipped workers at the standard state minimum wage of $9/hour.
LB 183 – Sexual Assault Emergency Care Act Require emergency rooms to provide information about emergency contraception to all victims of sexual assault, and to dispense emergency contraception upon request
LB 205 – Rental Housing Late Fees Places reasonable limits on late fees or penalties that may be charged by a landlord and requires accurate and sufficient information to be provided in termination notices Currently, there is no restriction on the amount of a late fee that can be charged for unpaid rent in Nebraska except that it cannot be “unconscionable.” Data collected by the UNL Civil Clinic shows late fees often exceed the amount of rent due.
LB 229 – Gender Identity Hate Crimes Provide for enhanced penalties and civil action for crimes committed because of a victim’s gender identity or association with a person of a certain gender identity.
LB 230 – LGBT Public Accommodation Equality Prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in public accommodations and under the Nebraska Fair Housing Act.
LB 231 – Ban Conversion Therapy Prohibits any person holding a credential under the Uniform Credentialing Act from advertising for and/or charging money for conversion therapy and prohibits performing conversion therapy on any individual under the age of 19. This would not prevent faith leaders from preaching what they believe regarding gender issues.
LB 517 – Gender Neutral Option for ID Driver’s license applicant’s gender shall be indicated as female, male, or not specified through an indication of “X” Provides a simplified pathway for Nebraskans to amend their gender on official government documents, such as a driver’s license LB 250 – Interior Design Voluntary Registration Act Creates a voluntary registration to be administered by the Nebraska State Treasurer for those qualified interior designers in Nebraska to use the title “Registered Interior Designer” Gives those registered the ability to stamp and seal their interior design construction documents for permits in code-regulated spaces Creates reciprocity for the Nebraska registration for those interior designers who may be registered, licensed, or certified in another state Establishes continuing education requirements for those who wish to become registered
LB 260 – Unemployment for Caregivers Allows people who have made every effort to preserve employment but who have to leave work for temporary family caregiving needs to be eligible for unemployment
LB 276 – Telemedicine Abortions Allows for medical abortions, or abortions administered via medication, to be administered through telemedicine Eliminates the current statutory requirement that a physician be physically present in the same room when medical abortions are performed
LB 277 – Mobile Home Landlord-Tenant Update In 2019, LB 433 amended the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act but it did not update the Mobile Home Landlord and Tenant Act to match it This bill harmonizes the two acts to ensure uniformity in our state law with regard to the landlord-tenant issues addressed by LB 433
LB 356 – SNAP Comparable Disqualification Prevents SNAP benefits from being cut if an individual fails to meet any requirements under some other federal benefit program such as TANF This bill would opt the state out of this comparable disqualification option, meaning that if someone is to be disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits, it must be for reasons only related to failure to meet eligibility requirements for THAT program – not for some other public assistance program
LB 357 – Youth in Care Bill of Rights Ensures that youth in our foster system and YRTC system are given notice of their rights related to services, connection to family, and transition planning Ensures that caseworkers are trained on the rights and regularly discuss these rights with young people, and strengthens youths’ awareness of the grievance process through DHHS if they believe their rights have been violated
LB 358 – Tenant Anti-Retaliation Prohibits a landlord from retaliating against a tenant if the tenant has made a good faith complaint to the landlord of a violation of the housing code or noncompliance with the lease agreement or if the tenant has exercised or attempted to exercise a right or remedy under the lease agreement or law.
LR 10CA (Cavanaugh, M.) – Restore voting rights for felons, except if convicted of treason
LR 2CA (Wayne) – Legalize cannabis for persons twenty-one and older and to require legislation
LB 20 (Blood) – Insurance coverage & Medicaid access to prescribed contraceptives
LB 56 (Lathrop) – Improve parole eligibility & accountability
LB 72 (Geist) – Provide for sale of alcoholic liquor not in its original package
LB 83 (Flood) – Allow Videoconferencing in the Open Meetings Act
LB 107 (McCollister) – Adopt the Redistricting Act to provide for fair redistricting
LB 109 (Pansing Brooks) – Provide that photographing or recording a peace officer is not an obstruction of justice
LB 110 (Pansing Brooks) – Change and provide duties relating to the use of force in law enforcement
LB 114 (McCollister) – Seal criminal records by adopting the Clean Slate Act
LB 125 (McCollister) – Ranked-Choice Voting
LB 128 (McCollister) – Seal eviction records
LB 134 (Brandt) – Require the posting and reporting of tax incentive information
LB 171 (Hansen, M.) – Increase unemployment benefits by 5% per dependant
LB 196 (Vargas) – Prohibit housing discrimination based on income source
LB 241 (Vargas) – Adopt the Meatpacking Employees COVID-19 Protection Act
LB 258 (Vargas) – Adopt the Healthy & Safe Families and Workplaces Act for safe and sick leave
LB 264 (Stinner) – Cultural district funding
LB 266 (McCollister) – Adopt the Renewable Energy Standards Act
LB 278 (Wayne) – Change the penalty for having residue of a controlled substance from a felony to a misdemeanor
LB 306 (Brandt) – DHHS must allocate at least 10% of funds for the low-income home energy assistance program
LB 321 (Cavanaugh, J.) – Prohibit defendant’s discovery of victim’s actual or perceived gender or sexual orientation as a defense to a crime
LB 396 (Brandt) – Adopt the Nebraska Farm-to-School Program Act
LB 419 (Cavanaugh, J.) – Right to counsel in evictions
You can watch the Legislature live on NET TV or find NET’s live stream here.