Action Alert: Urge Your Senator to Vote No on LB 700

This is an Action Alert to contact your state senator and urge him or her to vote NO on LB 700. Please see the information below in a letter sent to the senators and plan to use one or two of the points when contacting your senator. 

The language of the bill would require wind energy companies to completely remove all concrete base material when decommissioning, rather than just the first four feet, which is standard practice nationwide.
It is on the legislative agenda for Monday, April 15, but may not come up for debate until Tuesday.

If you choose to send an email to your senator, make it short and succinct.  Vote NO on LB 700; it’s anti-clean energy and it’s anti-business.

– Sherry Miller, President, LWVNE

Nebraska Senators:  

The League of Women Voters of Nebraska urges you to vote No on LB 700.  
Nebraska ranks third in the country for wind energy potential, yet falls far behind in how much is actually produced.  In the two years since legislation lifted major barriers to wind energy, wind energy has already added hundreds of jobs, attracted new companies to our state that value sustainability and broaden our property tax base. At the same time, wind farms bring added income to agriculture producers who face difficult years due to tariffs and weather conditions.

LB 700 specifically targets wind energy development with unduly harsh restrictions related to decommissioning requirements.  These restrictions target clean energy, an industry that could be far more beneficial to Nebraskans.  It is an unwelcoming statement that closes the door to potential investment in a resource that we are rich in—wind.

The League urges you to vote No to LB 170 and leave the regulations regarding wind energy to the counties.  

Respectfully,
Sherry Miller, President, League of Women Voters of Nebraska

League of Women Voters Urges Support for HR4

March 21, 2019

TO:               Members of the U.S. House
FROM:         Chris Carson, President
RE:               Support the Voting Rights Advancement Act, H.R. 4

The League of Women Voters strongly urges you to support and pass HR4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, to modernize and repair the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

The legislation responds directly and responsibly to the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder and subsequent decisions by state and local jurisdictions to implement discriminatory practices connected to our elections. This legislation will update the coverage formula for preclearance to ensure it is based on contemporary acts of discrimination and provide mechanisms to prevent discrimination in voting nationwide.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) outlawed racial discrimination in voting and established procedures to protect equal access to the vote for every American citizen. But in 2013, the Supreme Court overturned the key provision of the VRA that triggered careful review of voting changes in political jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting before they could take effect. Since that decision, politicians in states, counties, cities, and towns across the country have passed laws and adopted practices that discriminate against voters of color and language minorities — making it harder for them to register and more difficult to vote and has shown the continued need for these protections.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act would accomplish three major goals:

1)    It re-establishes preclearance coverage for states and localities with a pattern of discrimination in voting with a contemporary look back period.
2)    It provides preclearance nationwide for political subdivisions with substantial minority populations for a limited number of voting changes based upon evidence of historic discriminatory, such as changes to election methods, changes to the qualifications to vote, and deviant polling location consolidation.
3)    It provides for greater transparency and public notice for late-breaking voting changes just before an election, changes in polling resources, and use of demographic and electoral data. 

For decades, ensuring that all eligible Americans have equal access to the ballot is a long-standing value supported by all sectors of our country. It is a value that has united our nation for more than 50 years and is why the League of Women Voters urges you to support the Voting Rights Advancement Act.  

Call to Action: Unicameral Debates and Hearings to Watch the Week of March 25

All the bills listed below will have hearings during the week of March 25 through March 29. 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, March 25

Business and Labor Committee

Committee members are Senator M. Hansen (Chair), Senator Chambers, Senator Crawford, Senator Halloran, Senator B. Hansen, Senator Lathrop, Senator Slama.

  • LB 19 – OPPOSE – Allow withholding from public of reports of injury under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act as prescribed and provide duties for the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court

Hearings on Tuesday, March 26

Appropriations Committee

Committee members are Senator Stinner (Chair), Senator Bolz, Senator Clements, Senator Dorn, Senator Erdman, Senator Hilkemann, Senator McDonnell, Senator Vargas, Senator Wishart.

  • LB 226 – State intent relating to appropriations for the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center-Kearney and the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center-Geneva
  • LB 485 – OPPOSE – State intent relating to an appropriation for the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center-Kearney

Hearings on Wednesday, March 27

Judiciary Committee

Committee members are Senator Lathrop (Chair), Senator Brandt, Senator Chambers, Senator DeBoer, Senator Morfeld, Senator Pansing Brooks, Senator Slama, Senator Wayne.

  • LB 578 – Provide for venue of legal proceedings challenging laws regarding redistricting

Call to Action: Unicameral Debates and Hearings to Watch the Week of March 18

All the bills listed below will have hearings during the week of March 18 through March 22. 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, March 19

Education Committee

Committee members are Chair Senator Groene, Senator Brewer, Senator Kolowski, Senator Linehan, Senator Morfeld, Senator Murman, Senator Pansing Brooks, Senator Walz.

  • LB 351 – Provide for school district levy and bonding authority for cybersecurity and violence prevention
  • LB 683 – Provide for a work plan under the Class V School Employees Retirement Act relating to a one-time lump sum payment to certain retirement system members (oppose)

Hearings on Wednesday, March 20

Judiciary Committee

Committee members are Senator Lathrop (Chair), Senator Brandt, Senator Chambers, Senator DeBoer, Senator Morfeld, Senator Pansing Brooks, Senator Slama, Senator Wayne.

  • LB 209 – Require information regarding reversal of medication abortion (oppose)
  • LB 503 – Eliminate requirement that physician be physically present in same room when an abortion is performed

Hearings on Thursday, March 21

Health and Human Services Committee

Committee members are Senator Howard (Chair), Senator Arch, Senator Cavanaugh, Senator B. Hansen,Senator Murman, Senator Walz, Senator Williams.

  • LB 629 – Provide criteria for recipients of Title X grant funds

Call to Action: Unicameral Debates and Hearings to Watch the Week of March 11

All the bills listed below will have hearings during the week of March 11 through March 15. 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.

Bills Being Debated on Tuesday, March 12: General File

  • LB 400 – Change the minimum wage for persons compensated by way of gratuities
  • LB 217 – Prohibit retaliation against employees for communicating about wages

Hearings on March 12

Banking, Commerce and Insurance

Committee members are Senator Williams (Chair), Senator Gragert, Senator Howard, Senator Kolterman, Senator La Grone, Senator Lindstrom, Senator McCollister, Senator Quick

  • LB 295 – Adopt the Unsecured Consumer Loan Licensing Act and clarify licensing provisions under the Delayed Deposit Services Licensing Act and the Nebraska Installment Loan Act (oppose)
  • LB 379 – Change provisions under Delayed Deposit Services Licensing Act (OPPOSE)

Education

Committee members are Senator Groene (Chair), Senator Brewer, Senator Kolowski, Senator Linehan, Senator Morfeld, Senator Murman, Senator Pansing Brooks, Senator Walz

  • LB 702 – Change provisions under Delayed Deposit Services Licensing Act

Hearings on March 13

Appropriations

Committee members are Senator Stinner (Chair), Senator Bolz, Senator Clements, Senator Dorn, Senator Erdman, Senator Hilkemann, Senator McDonnell, Senator Vargas, Senator Wishart

  • LB 531 – Creates Motor Voter Fund for improvement of voter registration process

Judiciary

Committee members are Senator Lathrop (Chair), Senator Brandt, Senator Chambers, Senator DeBoer, Senator Morfeld, Senator Pansing Brooks, Senator Slama, Senator Wayne

  • LB 164 – Prohibit electronic transmission or online posting of certain photographs or videos, redefine sexual exploitation, & provide registrable offense under the Sex Offender Registration Act
  • LB 173 – Define/redefine terms of coercion & w/out consent & provide for applicability with respect to sexual assault
  • LB 475 – Create offense of sexual extortion, redefine sexual exploitation, & provide registrable offense under the Sex Offender Registration Act
  • LB 519 – Change statutes of limitations for certain sexual & trafficking offenses & authorize interception of communications relating to such offenses
  • LB 630 – Create offense of sexual extortion & change elements & penalties for sexual offenses

Hearings on March 14

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs

Committee members are Senator Brewer (Chair), Senator Blood, Senator M. Hansen, Senator Hilgers, Senator Hunt, Senator Kolowski, Senator La Grone, Senator Lowe

  • LB 687 – Provide for voter registration of applicants for driver’s licenses and state identification cards

Health and Human Services

Committee members are Senator Howard (Chair), Senator Arch, Senator Cavanaugh, Senator B. Hansen,Senator Murman, Senator Walz, Senator Williams

  • LB 555 – Adopt the Sexual Assault Emergency Care Act and provide for disciplinary action against hospitals

Hearings on March 15

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs

Committee members are Senator Brewer (Chair), Senator Blood, Senator M. Hansen, Senator Hilgers, Senator Hunt, Senator Kolowski, Senator La Grone, Senator Lowe

  • LB 709 – Provide for a place to express breast milk in the State Capitol

Judiciary

Committee members are Senator Lathrop (Chair), Senator Brandt, Senator Chambers, Senator DeBoer, Senator Morfeld, Senator Pansing Brooks, Senator Slama, Senator Wayne

  • LB 176 – Eliminate certain mandatory minimum penalties

Revenue

Committee members are Senator Linehan (Chair), Senator Briese, Senator Crawford, Senator Friesen, Senator Groene, Senator Kolterman, Senator Lindstrom, Senator McCollister

  • LB 535 – Prohibit employment discrimination by qualified businesses under the Nebraska Advantage Act

Urge Your Representative to Vote Yes on HR1 This Week

Voters across the country voted for democracy reform up and down the ballot in 2018, sending the 116th Congress a clear message that the country is ready for bold, comprehensive democracy reforms.

And now, HR1, the For The People Act is on the verge of passing the House of Representatives – THIS WEEK the House will vote on this historic piece of legislation.

Call your Representative TODAY through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to vote to pass H.R. 1 – the  “For The People” Act.

HR1 is the biggest democracy reform agenda many of us have seen since the Voting Rights Act. This bill will revamp our voting system, implement fair redistricting, and crack down on dark money in elections so that voters have a stronger voice at the ballot box.

We must get this bold, transformative set of reforms to strengthen our democracy and return political power to the people over the finish line but we cannot do it without your help!

Call your Representative TODAY through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to commit to vote YES on  H.R. 1.

Call to Action: Unicameral Debates and Hearings to Watch the Week of March 4

Bills Being Debated on Monday, March 4: General File

The following bills will be on general file starting Monday, March 4:

  • LB 627 – Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or sexual identity
  • LB 141 – Provide for the offense of assault by strangulation or suffocation
  • LB 400 – Change the minimum wage for persons compensated by way of gratuities
  • LB 217 – Prohibit retaliation against employees for communicating about wages

Hearings on March 4

Business and Labor Committee

The following bills will have hearings in the Business and Labor Committee on Monday, March 4. Committee members are Senator M. Hansen (Chair), Senator Chambers, Senator Crawford, Senator Halloran, Senator B. Hansen, Senator Lathrop, Senator Slama.

  • LB 526 – Change provisions relating to compensation for temporary disability under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act
  • LB 487 – Require the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court to adopt an evidence-based drug formulary (oppose)

Hearings on March 5

Education Committee

The following bills will have hearings in the Education Committee on Tuesday, March 5. Committee members are Chair Senator Groene, Senator Brewer, Senator Kolowski, Senator Linehan, Senator Morfeld, Senator Murman, Senator Pansing Brooks, Senator Walz.

  • LB 534 -Require public postsecondary educational institutions to conduct an annual sexual assault climate survey

Hearings on March 6

Health and Human Services Committee

The following bill will have a hearing in the Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday, March 6. Committee members are Senator Howard (Chair), Senator Arch, Senator Cavanaugh, Senator B. Hansen, Senator Murman, Senator Walz, Senator Williams.

  • LB 518 – Adopt the Support for Trafficking Survivors Act

Judiciary Committee

The following bills will have hearings in Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 6. Committee members are Senator Lathrop (Chair), Senator Brandt, Senator Chambers, Senator DeBoer, Senator Morfeld, Senator Pansing Brooks, Senator Slama, Senator Wayne.

  • LB 179 – Authorize the appeal of certain motions as final orders (oppose)
  • LB 231 – Change provisions relating to legal defense of juveniles
  • LB 690 – adopt the healthy pregnancies for incarcerated women act

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs

The following bills will have hearings in the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday, March 6. Committee Members are Senator Brewer (Chair), Senator Blood, Senator M. Hansen, Senator Hilgers, Senator Hunt, Senator Kolowski, Senator La Grone, Senator Lowe.

  • LB 163 – Opens vote by mail for any sized county in lieu of establishing precincts.
  • LB 711 – Change provisions relating to voting qualifications for any person convicted of a felony
  • LB 211 – Make elections for county offices non-partisan (oppose)

Unicameral Considers Redistricting Bills

Last week, the Nebraska state legislature’s Executive Board considered four proposals regarding the Legislature’s redistricting process.

Two of these bills — 253 and 466 — are among LWVNE/LWVGO’s 2019 priority bills.

The committee took no immediate action on any of the proposals.

LWNE President Sherry Miller encourages all LWVNE/LWVGO members to contact their state senators to urge them to support LB 253 and LB 466.

The members of the executive committee are: Hilgers (Chair), Vargas (Vice Chair), Bolz, Chambers, Hughes, Kolterman, Lowe, McCollister, Scheer, Stinner

Our 2019 Priority Bills

The League of Women Voters of Nebraska and League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha have considered all legislation introduced in this Unicameral term and determined the organizations’ priority bills for 2019.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes political parties or candidates. We are a political organization that has guiding values and policy recommendations. Using our programs — the list of political positions adopted by the national, state and local organizations — as a guide, LWVNE and LWVGO have adopted the following as priority bills.

We Support:

We Oppose:

Read on to find out more about these bills and how our organization came to support or oppose them.

Support

Redistricting Reform

LB 253 and LB 466

LB 253, introduce by Sen. John McCollister (LD 20), is a reintroduction of Sen. Harr’s LB 216 from last year, which we also supported.

LB 466, introduced by Sen. Sara Howard (LD 9) is a reintroduction of her bill from last year, which we also supported.

Why do we support redistricting reform as presented in LB 253 and LB 466?

The basic commonalities and differences in the bills are:

  1. Most important, in both bills, neither the Independent Commission nor the Legislative Redistricting Committee draw the maps.  The maps are prepared by the Legislative Research Office (LRO) using a software it prepares and approves—except in LB 466, third drawing of maps is done by the Legislature’s Executive Board.
  2. Voting in Legislature:  LB466 no amendments any of the three times the bills could come to the Legislature; LB 253 no amendments for first two times but amendments third time.
  3. Both set dates, chair, and report on 3 Public Input Hearings (one in each Congressional District): LB 253: Commission (composed of 3 Republicans, 3 Democrats, and one non-partisan elected by the 6); LB 466 the Legislative Redistricting Committee.
  4. LB 253 does not allow packing or cracking to dilute voting rights of voting majority or minority based on race or language; LB 466 doesn’t address this issue.

We are anticipating that one bill come from the Executive Board combining these bills. We believe that it is critical that the Senator supports:

  1. Critical to assure that the maps are drawn by the Legislative Research Office (LRO) using a software it prepares and approves.  (This avoids use of pre-existing software prepared by groups with political orientation.)
  2. Best to have no amendments on the floor of the Legislature during any of the three times the bills come to the floor.  (There is a period after the first and second votes for members of the Legislature to communicate to the LRO reasons for their votes against the bills, so that future maps may (but will not necessarily) address those issues.
  3. Setting dates, chairing, and reporting on public hearings could be done by either the Commission or the Legislative Committee.  Having hearings in all three Congressional Districts will be important to assuring public input.
  4. Language excluding packing and stacking are important to include in the bill.  

Read more about this bill in the citizen lobbying guide prepared for Legislative Day 2019.

Adopt the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act

LB 311

LB 311, introduced by Sen. Sue Crawford (LD45), creates a paid family and medical leave insurance program to provide partial wage replacement for eligible workers to care for themselves or a family member following a serious illness or to care for a  new child through birth, foster care or adoption. Leave can also be taken for military exigency.

Why do we support LB 311 and paid family medical leave?

The League of Women Voters believes that one of the goals of social policy should be to promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families and that the most effective social programs are those designed to prevent or reduce poverty.

In addition:

  • Paid Family Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) prevents choosing between the job and caring for a family member.
  • PFMLA provides for a healthy launch into family life for a newborn.
  • PFMLA guarantees leave without having to quit a job, leading to dependence of social services and that social cost to a community.
  • PFMLA benefits employers who can retain an experienced worker, a plus in an era of worker shortage in certain fields.

Read more about this bill in the citizen lobbying guide prepared for Legislative Day 2019.

Provide for Restoration of Voting Rights Upon Completion of a Felony Sentence or Probation for a Felony

LB 83

LB 83, introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne (LD 13), removes the arbitrary two-year waiting period between the completion of felony restitution and the restoration of citizenship rights.

Current Nebraska law prevents someone with a felony conviction from voting for two years following their release and completion of all required probation. Many ex-felons/returning citizens welcome the right to vote again as part of their re-assimilation into society, along with obtaining a driver’s license, getting a job, opening a bank account, etc.

Why do we support LB 83 and the removal of the waiting period?

The League of Women Voters believes voting is a fundamental citizen right that must be guaranteed. Citizens should have full rights following the completion of their sentence and should not be continued to be punished/removed from society.

Read more about this bill in the citizen lobbying guide prepared for Legislative Day 2019.

Criteria for Recipients of Title X Funds

LB 629

LB 629, introduced by Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks (LD 28), changes what kind of entitities can receive Title X funding.

Under the bill, the Department of Health and Human Services shall only grant funds received under 42 U.S.C. 300 (Title X) for voluntary family planning programs to entities that are:

  • licensed under the Health Care Facility Licensure Act and provide service to recipients of medical assistance under the Medical Assistance Act;
    •  compliant with the provisions of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and any regulations promulgated under such federal act;
  • able to diagnose and treat sexually transmitted diseases and infections; and
    • able to provide gynecological exams.

Why do we support LB 629 and requiring that recipients of Title X funds must be clinics with real medical personnel and facilities?

The League of Women Voters of Nebraska supports Title X funding, which provides family planning and reproductive health care services to low income individuals and families.

The intent of LB 629 is to ensure that Title X funds are distributed only to those family planning services which are staffed with medical personnel trained and licensed to diagnose and treat STDs and infections and to provide gynecological exam.  Family planning services without such medical personnel will not qualify for the grants.

Read more about this bill in the citizen lobbying guide prepared for Legislative Day 2019.

Oppose

Public Funds for Private Schools

LB 670

LB 670, introduced be Sen. Lou Ann Linehan (LD 39), is a reincarnation of LB 295 from the 2017-18 session. It provides for the creation of scholarship-granting organizations, which shall be certified by the Department of Revenue, and can provide educational scholarships to students attending a qualified school. 

Why do we oppose LB 670?

The League of Women Voters of Nebraska believes in a public educational system financed by a combination of local and state revenues.

The League opposes state aid to non-public schools. 

Read more about this bill in the citizen lobbying guide prepared for Legislative Day 2019.

Read More

Follow the Unicameral Update for news about the legislature and the progress of bills.

LWVNE Testimony in Support of LB 182

On Feb. 11, the League of Women Voters of Nebraska submitted written testimony in support of LB 182, a bill to adopt the School District Local Option Income Surtax Act.

The revenue committee will hold its hearing on LB 182 at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 in Room 1524 at the Unicameral.

Read LWVNE’s testimony below.

Re:  LB 182 (Bolz) Adopt the School District Local Option Income Surtax Act

Dear Senator Linehan and Committee Members,

The League of Women Voters of Nebraska believes in a public educational system financed by a combination of local and state revenues.  Since state government has created the public schools by law, it has a responsibility to aid local school districts in providing adequate and equitable school financing while letting school districts maintain local control (adopted 1981).

Further, the League supports shifting the tax burden from heavy reliance on the local property tax to increased state support while maintaining local control of school district budgets.  The League also supports the provision of adequate revenue from sales and income taxes, both individual and corporate, to support educational services.

On this position, the League endorses Senator Bolz’s LB 182 which lets school districts maintain local control of their budgets while proposing a means of raising revenue that provides relief to property owners tax burden.  It should be stressed that increasing a sales tax to provide relief must be approved by a vote of the electors of those school districts, putting this effort squarely in the hands of the local school district residents.

Real property tax relief has eluded the senate for several years.  This seems to be one common sense step toward providing some relief to those most closely affected by high property assessments.

We urge you to advance LB 182 to General File for debate by the full Senate.

Respectfully submitted,

Sherry Miller, President

Mary Ann Sturek, Education Director