Monday is a recess day for the Unicameral, but we’re gearing up for another great week for our team in the legislature.
A move towards living wages for tipped employees
Tuesday morning, Senator Hunt’s bill to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers is on the agenda for the first round of debate. This legislation is incredibly important because the minimum wage for tipped workers hasn’t been raised in Nebraska since before this writer was even born!
Currently, servers make $2.13 an hour before tips. Senator Hunt’s LB 400 is not a radical change from what we have today and it will not solve the problems of having a different minimum wage for tipped workers in the first place- like servers being forced to grin and bear it when they are being sexually harassed by their customers, for example. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction to ensuring all Nebraskans earn a living wage for their labor. Starting January 1, 2020 the wage would go up to $3.60/hour and in 2021 it would be raised to $4.50/hour. These changes are small but important steps. Make sure to call your Senator on Tuesday morning and urge them to SUPPORT LB 400.
And protections for campus sexual assault survivors
Also on Tuesday, the Education Committee will hear Senator Cavanaugh’s
LB 702. The bill would ensure protections and services for students that are sexually assaulted or have experienced domestic violence. If you have a story of campus sexual assault to share, and you feel comfortable doing so, you can testify on Tuesday afternoon.
Constitutional convention, oh my!
Wednesday will bring us yet another Article V Convention hearing. Yet another senator thinks that it would be a good idea to hold a convention of the states in order to rewrite portions of the Constitution. This time it is LR 9 from Senator Wayne. And while I don’t disagree with his position as vehemently as I do Senator Halloran’s, a convention is still just a bad idea! Even when the reason for the convention is a completely legitimate one (campaign finance reform) that is called in good faith– as I believe Senator Wayne’s would be– its still a terrible idea, especially in the current national political climate. LR 9 will be heard in front of Government, Military, and Veterans’ Affairs. Tell the Committee NO to ANY Article V Conventions!
And bills addressing sexual assault
There are 6 really important bills in Judiciary on Wednesday and they all deal with sexual assault to some degree. Several of them (LB 164, LB 475, and LB 630) address the issue of revenge porn. I’ve included the schedule here. All of the revenge porn bills have their strong points as well as their weak ones. Do a little research on them and write to the committee about the bill that you are most in favor of. Revenge porn is seriously hurting our young people and Nebraska is one of the last states to address this problem.
Finally, the bill that is closest to my heart, LB 173. Yes means yes! So often, victims of sexual violence are made to believe that they were not assaulted because they didn’t explicitly say no. They may have cried, yelled, screamed, hit, pushed, etc. but if they did not say no, and keep saying no, it can be interpreted that they consented. Consent is NOT the lack of a no. Consent is a verbal, sober, enthusiastic, informed, and continual YES! It is far past time for our laws to reflect that. And just for fun, go watch this video.
For a full list of this week’s hearings, you can go here.