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ALL the Hearings

3 weeks ago

815 words

Well, this week is going to be a doozie in the Unicameral. Take your vitamins, do some self-care, have another cup of coffee, we are on the offensive this week! Clear your calendar, write your testimony, let’s get fired up!

Offense! Offense!

Read on for a day by day summary of bills to support.

Wednesday: Increase pay for State Senators

On Wednesday, February 6th, LR 12CA will be in front of the Executive Board. This Constitutional amendment would raise the salary of our State Senators from $12,000 annually to “equal to 50% of the median household income for the State of Nebraska.” (According to the most recent Census estimate the median household income is $56,675). To read the exact language, you can go here. This is an important amendment to support since we get the representation for which we pay.

Who can afford to quit working for 5 months to come to Lincoln to govern?

Who can afford to rent an apartment here for 5 months if they come from Western Nebraska?

Who can afford the gas to drive to Lincoln daily if they live within driving distance of the Capitol?

Apart from the venerable Ernie Chambers, this is mostly who you get…[

Dennis, of course his name is Dennis

So if we want working and middle class people to represent us, we need to pay our Senators a living wage.

Thursday: The motherload of awesome bills

Let’s start with the Health and Human Services Committee…

They will hear LB 255, which would support people receiving SNAP by allowing for them to accept promotions or pick up extra shifts without penalizing them by taking away their SNAP when they make just a few extra dollars. If we want to help people to get off assistance, we need to support them while they move up in their careers, not dissuade them from trying out of fear of losing their ability to feed themselves and their families.

LBs 402 and 169 aim to ensure people convicted of certain felony offenses can receive SNAP assistance. Reducing recidivism requires that we help people meet their basic needs rather than returning to the black market to make ends meet. They have served their time for their crimes, and yet we continue to punish them in big and small ways for years to come. SNAP benefits is a small step towards changing this and helping people get back on their feet.

Still with me?

The Judiciary Committee is where I would really like to draw your attention for  Thursday. There will be SIX pro-LGBTQIA+ bills in front of the Committee and our LGBTQIA+ friends will really need our support. They will be expending a lot of emotional labor on Thursday trying to make sure that their elected officials see and value their humanity. Let’s make sure we roll out and support them. Here’s a list to help you do just that:

LB 166 prohibits a defendant’s ability to use “gay/trans panic” as a defense in court. You can read more about this disgusting “defense strategy” here.

LB 167 and LB 168 prohibit conversion therapy and adds subjecting children to conversion therapy to the definition of child abuse. Please read more about the harmful practice of conversion therapy here, here, and a survivor story here.

LB 426 would allow for adoption by two adults regardless of marital status.

LB 504 would allow for civil action for crimes committed because of a victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

LB 627 would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Show up or send in your testimony, but most importantly, check in on your LGBTQIA+ friends. They’ll need your support Thursday night.

And next Monday, three bills that would materially improve the lives of Nebraska’s working poor

And if you are still standing, next Monday, February 11th, three important bills that stand to improve the material well being of workers in Nebraska that will be heard. Which means if you can’t be there in person, you need to get your testimony in by 5:00 pm on Friday, February 8th. They are:

LB 217: Prohibit retaliation against employees for communicating about wages. This bill is important for labor in Nebraska, especially fighting for gender and racial parity in pay and for building labor solidarity.

LB 383:Provide for an annual adjustment to the minimum wage. This bill would provide a mechanism for the State Treasurer to annually increase the minimum wage based on the consumer price index. This would be a huge win for the working poor of Nebraska, of which there are many.

LB 400 :Change the minimum wage for persons compensated by way of gratuities. Another bill that would increase the pay of hard working Nebraskans in food service, hospitality, and other tipped industries.

Congratulations, you made it to the end! Now, get that testimony ready so we can crush it with a strong showing of progressive Nebraskans who support all of our neighbors.