Okay, Nebraskans, the time to start making your voices heard at the Unicameral is here! Beginning Tuesday, January 22nd, committees will begin their hearings for the bills that have been introduced in the last two weeks of session. Every bill that is introduced will get a hearing, so this is just the beginning.
First up, Senator Erdman’s bill requiring “In God We Trust” to be prominently displayed in every school in Nebraska. Much to Erdman’s chagrin, not all Nebraskans believe in God. Many believe in a different god than he does. And all of those Nebraskans should be able to feel safe, welcomed, and supported in their school. LB 73 will be before the Education Committee on Tuesday, January 22nd at 1:30pm. The Education Committee is split fairly evenly between Liberal- and Conservative-leaning senators. So your voice can really make a big difference on whether this bill makes it to the floor or dies in committee. Obviously, we’re hoping for the latter.
Friday, January 25th is a BIG day for hearings. Medical Cannabis, tax exemptions for menstrual products and breastfeeding supplies, and blocking public breastfeeding from being charged as public indecency are all going before their respective committees.
LB 110 from Senator Wishart will go to the Judiciary Committee on the 25th at 1:30pm. This is an opportunity for Nebraskans to advocate for Medical Cannabis which would help with numerous health conditions. Any Nebraskan that could personally benefit, or know people who could, should make sure to reach out to the Committee and urge them to SUPPORT! The Judiciary Committee is very liberal-leaning with only two Conservative senators sitting on the Committee. Senators Brandt and Slama are both new to the Unicameral this session. But that should not stop you from contacting the committee in support! They need to hear from all of you that Nebraskans want Medical Cannabis to be available to those that need it.
LB 13 and LB 170 will both be in the Revenue Committee on the 25th at 1:30pm. These bills are important because Nebraska’s tax code is unfairly targeting people that menstruate and breastfeed. It’s time for our misogynistic tax code to be updated. The makeup of the Revenue Committee is a bit of toss up. While many of the Senators on the Committee lean to the right, some of them truly value the nonpartisan nature of our Unicameral and seem willing to reach across the aisle. Since it is a toss up though, its especially important for them to hear that these policies are popular in Nebraska and necessary!
Anyone that can go to the Capitol to testify, should. But it’s unrealistic that everyone can take an undetermined amount of time off in the middle of a weekday afternoon to testify. You can still tell the Committee how you feel about these bills.
If you can’t make it to a hearing and want to submit a letter to be read into the record you can see how to do so here.
Because of Monday’s holiday, it is too late to submit a letter for the record for Tuesday’s hearings, but it’s NOT too late to call or email all of the members of the Committee to urge them to vote the way you want them to on these bills.
If you’ve never called a Senator’s office before, its very easy! The point of these calls is just to tell the Aide how you would like the Senator to vote. You are not calling to argue and *most* Aides won’t expect you to. Personal stories are always helpful, but definitely not required if you don’t feel comfortable sharing over the phone. Here is a very basic script to get you through your first few calls:
Hello, my name is ________. I live at __(address)__ in __(city/town)___, Nebraska __(zip code)__. I am calling today because I would like for Senator ______ to [oppose/support] LB ___ which is before the _______ Committee today.
It’s really THAT easy. You may decide to elaborate, but the Aide on the phone is just collecting tallies for people that call in support and in opposition. Unless you have a really impactful story, they likely won’t pass it on to the senator.
These Committee hearings are an important opportunity for Nebraskans to make their voices heard. They are also an opportunity for bad bills to be killed on the spot and for senators to see the support for good bills. For a full list of this week’s hearings you can go here.