Action Alert: LB 1106

ALL MEMBERS-CALL TO ACTION! LB 1106 

ACTION ALERT: Earlier in the legislative session LB974 was introduced as a property relief tax bill. The statement of intent can be found on the Nebraska Legislature’s website under bill search. LB 974 was a proposal developed by the Revenue Committee chaired by Senator Lou Ann Linehan. It was not supported by any of the state education lobby and did not receive unanimous support for advancement to General File. 

The bill was debated on general file for three hours without a vote taken. Under the rules for debate a bill that has been debated for three hours and not voted on cannot be placed back on the agenda unless the sponsoring Senator can guarantee to the speaker that they have 33 votes to break cloture. 

This week the Revenue Committee advanced LB1106 which was originally written as a bill to clean up language in the state sales tax statutes. LB 974 was amended into LB1106 with some minor changes. Again, the committee did not unanimously agree on advancing LB 1106. 

Some minor changes were made to the bill, but it still will be problematic for Nebraskas public-school funding if it is passed. 

  • LB 1106 provides $520 million for state aid for public K-12 schools over the next three years. There are concerns regarding whether the state can sustain that level of funding given the ups and downs of state tax revenue and the potential Covid 19 pandemic. Historically, state funding has been reduced when revenues decrease or there is an emergency. This happened during the last economic recession. 
  • The plan reduces option enrollment aid which is sent to a school district when a student enrolls in that district as an option to the district in which the student resides. Currently $10,000 per student is sent to the option district. LB 1106 drops it to $8000 per year in the second year of enrollment and $6730 in year three. This is a burden for school districts with a high number of option students. 
  • The proposed budget lid on school spending drops from 2.5% to 2% under 1106. 
  • LB 1106 cuts in half the special building fund levy over a four-year period, from 12 cents to 6 cents. 
  • Foundation state aid would be sent to each district on a per-pupil basis beginning with $703 per student in year one and increasing to $2341 in year three. Remember that the state has historically cut state aid (foundation aid in 1106). 
  • The bill would reduce property tax rates as follows: Ag land would be reduced from 75% of actual value to 55%. Residential and commercial property rates would be reduced from 100% of actual value to 87%. 
  • Some transition aid is provided for one year based for school districts impacted by the proposed changes. 

Please contact your state senator ASAP and respectfully urge them to oppose LB 1106. The education community has concerns that this plan is not financially sustainable for the state and the hands of local boards of education are tied when state aid is reduced by the proposed lids. 

Action Alert: LB 1207 Redistricting Reform Bill

LB 1207 REDISTRICTING REFORM BILL TO BE DEBATED SOON! WRITE/CALL/EMAIL YOUR STATE SENATORS 

Hey, we need some help. As you may know, LWV-NE’s Redistricting Committee has been urging the Executive Committee to bring Senator John McCollister’s redistricting bill, LB 1207, to the floor for debate. A couple of weeks ago, we learned that wasn’t likely. Consequently, in an attempt to effect redistricting reform, we turned our attention to a petition drive to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November. The proposed amendment would support an independent commission of nine members to decide district lines. 

All that said, things changed late in the week when several civic organizations formed a new coalition. On March 5, that coalition, Nebraskans for Independent Redistricting (NIR), announced the petition drive to eliminate political gerrymandering in Nebraska. (More info.)

Nebraska’s constitution designates that the responsibility of drawing district lines is the duty of the legislature, so creating an independent commission would require an amendment to make that possible. (As this process goes forward, LWV-NE will be participating in meetings the week of March 9 to define our role in the petition process.) 

Shortly after the NIR’s announcement, an article appeared in the March 7th Lincoln Star Journal announcing that, surprisingly, Senator McCollister’s LB 1207 would be debated on the floor of the legislature. This bill would give lawmakers a chance to achieve redistricting reform as well as maintain control over drawing district lines as the constitution specifies. 

Voting to advance the bill with Sen. McCollister were Omaha Senators Ernie Chambers and Tony Vargas, Lincoln Sen. Kate Bolz and Sen. Mark Kolterman of Seward. Opposing the bill were Speaker Jim Scheer, Lincoln Sen. Mike Hilgers, and Sens. John Lowe of Kearney and Dan Hughes of Venango. (More info.)

So here we are – hoping to accomplish real reform one way or another. Please email, call or write your senator and urge support of LB 1207. Find your senator’s phone number and.or email address on the Unicameral website. Thanks! 

Why Redistricting Reform? Check out fairmapsne.org to learn more about redistricting and gerrymandering topics! 

  • Gerrymandering is undemocratic and goes against Nebraska’s traditions of nonpartisanship and fair play. 
  • When districts are gerrymandered, our elected representatives have been allowed to choose their voters instead of the voters choosing them. 
  • When Nebraskans are included in the process of drawing new election district maps, their fundamental right to choose who represents them is preserved. Voters feel like their vote makes a difference. 
  • When maps are drawn without political bias they represent minority groups more fairly. 

Action Alert: LR294, Resolution on Climate Change

LR 294, the resolution written by students at Prairie Hill Learning Center concerning human caused effects on climate, was heard by the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee on Feb. 20. There it sits yet!
 
“LR 294 is an official acknowledgement of scientific information declaring climate changes and predicting further changes and devastation in the climate and economy of Nebraska, particularly for the agricultural sector.
 
“LR 294 would mandate the State of Nebraska to create an action plan to combat the climate and ecological crisis  in process.” 
 
 (The full text of the resolution can be found on the Nebraska Legislature website.)
 
If your senator sits on the Natural Resources Committee or is one of the co-signers of LR 294, PLEASE contact them immediately and as a constituent of the senator, strongly urge that LR 294 be advanced to General File for full debate by the senate.
 
Natural Resources Committee:  Senators Albrecht, Bostelman, Geist, Gragert, Halloran, Hughes, Moser and Quick.
 
Co-signers of the resolution:  Kolowski (introducer), Bolz, Brandt, Cavanaugh, Chambers, Crawford, Hunt, McCollister, Morfeld, Pansing Brooks, Quick, and Wishart.
 
You can reach your senator by email or by calling the Capitol switchboard at 402 4721-2311 and asking for your senator.
 
Emphasize the urgency of the students’ concerns and YOUR concerns regarding our climate.

Action Alert: Contact Your Senator to Urge Support of LB1207

Redistricting bill LB1207 will go to the full Unicameral for debate. Read more at the Lincoln Journal-Star website.

LWVGO supports LB1207, the Redistricting Act, and urges all members to contact your state senator to urge them to vote for it. Find your senator’s contact information on the Unicameral website.

Go Vote, Omaha: 2020 Legislative Preview

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha!, MaryLee Moulton talks with Linda Duckworth, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Nebraska, about the League’s priority bills for the 2020 Nebraska Legislative Session.

LWVNE’s priority bills are:

  • LB996 – Broadband improvement study
  • LB1207 – Redistricting (FairMapsNE.org)
  • LB932 – Enforce the Medicaid Expansion as previously approved by the voters
  • LB283 – Climate Change study.

Track these bills on the Nebraska Legislature website, and subscribe to updates. LWVNE also posts action alerts on their website, lwv-ne.org.

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or CenturyLink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube. You can also listen to these episodes as podcasts on Podbean.

Dine & Discuss: 2020 Legislative Issues Discussion – Join Us on Jan. 27

 

Nebraska 2020 Legislative Issues

Monday, January 27th
5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
AIM Building, 7th floor
1905 Harney St., Omaha

Join us for a discussion with our Co-Directors of Public Policy, Terri Crawford and Darci Garcia, on the topic of Nebraska’s 2020 Legislative Issues.

Don’t forget the RSVP for the Dine and Discuss. To RSVP please email candide@lwvgo.org.

Missing Native American Women and Children

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha, Geri Simon talks with Renee San Souci, Colette Yellow Robe, and Lin Quenzer of the Nebraska Native Women’s Task Force about NE LB 154 and the issues of missing Native American women and children. NE  Bill 154 was approved to study to improve the reporting and investigation of missing Native American women and children.

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or CenturyLink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube. You can also listen to these episodes as podcasts on Podbean.

Job Licensing Reform in Nebraska

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha!, LWVGO Vice President MaryLee Moulton discusses job licensing reform in Nebraska with Laura Ebke, Platte Institute’s Senior Fellow for Job Licensing Reform.

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or CenturyLink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube. You can also listen to these episodes as podcasts on Podbean.

Call to Action: Unicameral Debates and Hearings to Watch the Week of April 29

All the bills listed below will have hearings during the week of April 1. Unless otherwise stated, the League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha supports these bills.

Find your senator via the Unicameral website, and contact them to urge them to support these bills. Follow the Unicameral Update to find out what happens next with these bills.

Hearings on Monday, April 29

General File

  • LB 209 – Require information regarding reversal of medication abortion (oppose)
  • LB 532 – Change provisions relating to harassment protection orders, sexual assault protection orders, and domestic abuse protection orders
  • LB 690 – Adopt the Healthy Pregnancies for Incarcerated Women Act

Call to Action: Unicameral Debates and Hearings to Watch the Week of April 1

All the bills listed below will have hearings during the week of April 1. Unless otherwise stated, the League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha supports these bills.

Find your senator via the Unicameral website, and contact them to urge them to support these bills. Follow the Unicameral Update to find out what happens next with these bills.

Hearings on Tuesday, April 2

Select File

  • LB 217 – Prohibit discrimination against an employee for communicating about employee compensation