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Civic Engagement Nebraska Politics

Lincoln Policy Summit – Melody’s Takeaways

I just had my socks knocked by an event called simply, “Lincoln Policy Summit.” It was put on by several organizations in Lincoln that believe in the power of women; Planned Parenthood, YWCA, Women’s Foundation, and League of Women Voters of Nebraska. The day was jam-packed, and included voices from policy leaders, elected officials, and fellowship with the most inspiring people in and around Lincoln.


Here are my takeaways:

Be a Candidate

Right now is the time to put together a kitchen table of your trusted friends. Interview current policy makers, look at election data, and step into your next role as a candidate. 2020 will be here faster than you think. And you know what’s on the line? REDISTRICTING!!!!  Everyone voted into the state legislature will be part of this process after the census. If you care about gerrymandering and fair elections, you need to be the candidate that’s going to get elected to ensure only thoughtful and even-handed people like you draw the districts.  

Abortion Access

I already knew that federal funds cannot be used for abortions. I already knew that Nebraska money cannot be used for abortions. I already knew that certain religious “health” providers let their faith in controlling women limit access to healthcare, including abortion.

What I learned that is new to me was this; in Nebraska, PRIVATE HEALTHCARE is prohibited from funding abortions. How is it possible that the GOP in one breath screams about deregulation of all sectors in the vision of profit over people/environmental/justice/humanity while at the same time supports prohibitions on private companies to serve women’s health?

Another new thing I learned is that when abortions are sought, providers are required to give “health” information written by legislators (not doctors) and 24% of it is inaccurate.

Nebraska is in a good place compared to similar states because of our state’s tradition of populist and non partisan partnerships at the state level. Although we’re going to have to keep fighting, should Roe vs. Wade be overturned, abortion access in Nebraska has a fighting chance of being protected.

Medicaid

Hopefully the legislature will do their duty and fund Medicaid expansion. If, after that, we don’t actually expand the program, there will be a court case. Maine is a good state to look up to see what could happen in Nebraska (at great expense to the taxpayer) if Ricketts or the legislature doesn’t honor our election wishes.  

To give a little context, after Pete Ricketts personally funded a ballot initiative to get the death penalty back, he chose to act above the law and taxpayers are receiving huge bills in lawyer and court fees to force him to follow the law like this one for 60k (and lest you forget, the original 50k from the illegal drugs he bought before the death penalty was overturned). I expect we’ll see similar dirty tricks about Medicaid expansion. Spoiled boy, Governor Ricketts, will do anything he can to kill Nebrakans and he’ll surely delight in withholding life saving healthcare from people.

Keynote – Dr. Deb Turner

If you get a chance to hear her speak, RUN to the event. She’s inspiring and well worth your time. Here are a few gems I picked up:

  • Children are people, not property.
  • Because children are people and not property, school funding that is tied to property value instead of the needs of children isn’t logical.
  • No child should ever be a victim to the circumstances of their birth.
  • Women stepping into leadership is what is needed to move the world forward.
  • Individuals aren’t diverse. They are individual beings with unique identities. Groups are diverse.
  • Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being asked to the dance.
  • Diversity doesn’t guarantee inclusion.
  • In America, inequity is the face of white privilege.
  • Avoid using the word “marginalized”. Nobody likes the feeling when this label is placed on them. It’s not inclusive language and specifically identifies who is excluded. We put people in margins by exclusive systems. People aren’t on or outside the margins because margins are a construct.
  • Understand your privilege.

Children

Kidscountnebraska.com has policy briefs and data to educate from a place of data and facts.  

Currently, Nebraska’s child welfare policies encourage parents to turn down pay raises and work fewer hours than they would otherwise.

We can expect to see legislation around children’s food insecurity and paid family and medical leave.

Juvenile Justice policy is also likely to be proposed, including policies like:

  • Every child has a right to legal council
  • Protections around interrogations of children
  • Automatic record sealing
  • Oppose a 4 million fence around a youth treatment center and advocating instead for more treatment of youth