Learn More About the 2018 Omaha Public Schools Bond Issue

Voters in the Omaha Public Schools district will see a school bond issue on the 2018 primary election ballot. Election Day is May 15. Find out more about how and where to register and vote via the Douglas County Election Commission.

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha!, host Geri Simon discusses the proposal with Mark Evans, the Superintendent of Schools, and Marque Snow, President of the Omaha School Board.

You can find out more from the school district — including details of their upcoming information sessions — on the OPS website.

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or CenturyLink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube.

Action Alert: Oppose LB295, A Bill Opening the Door to Charter Schools

LB 295 would allow for the adoption of the Opportunity Scholarships Act. STATUS:  PRIORITY BILL ON GENERAL FILE. Introduced by Smith; heard Jan. 26, 2017.

Under the act, individual and corporate taxpayers would qualify for a non-refundable tax credit equal to the amount the taxpayer contributed to a scholarship-granting organization. Each nonprofit, scholarship-granting organization certified by the Nebraska Department of Revenue shall provide education scholarships to assist eligible students to attend a qualified, nonprofit, private elementary or secondary school. The Act defines an eligible student as a dependent member of a household that has a gross income that does not exceed two times the required level for the federal reduced-price lunch program. This is 370% of the poverty level which is far higher than allowed for breakfast and lunch programs for students in poverty.

The League supports a free public school education through 12th grade, age not a limiting factor.  The League opposes any attempts to legislate the funneling of public tax funds toward charter schools and private schools.

Loss of funds for support of public schools will be significant, estimated to be $10 million the first year and rising to $15.6 million by 2020-21.  This at a time when the state is struggling to maintain a healthy General Fund.

Loss of support from the General Fund will put pressure on local taxing bodies to increase levies (on property taxes) or lose vital services offered by public schools.

The bill would benefit wealthier families the most, who could probably already afford private school tuition.  The 370% of poverty level is a distinct gift to 40% of families earning more income compared to all other Nebraskans.

It bestows a definite tax benefit to those donors, who can claim a tax credit up to $10,000.

Of greater concern is the tax benefit to businesses, trusts and estates, and corporations, all of which can contribute up to $50,000, $50,000, and $150,000 respectively, all of which could be described as “dark money.”

IT’S TIME TO STOP THIS SLIPPERY SLOPE TO CHARTER SCHOOLS.

— Sherry Miller, League of Women Voters of Nebraska President

Millard Levy Override Vote

In this episode of Go Vote Omaha, Kathy Bass talks with Mike Kennedy, president of the Millard School Board, about the request for a levy override.

Millard residents have already received ballots for the levy override vote. To vote, voters must mark their ballots, sign the envelopes and return the ballots to the election commission, 225 North 115th Street, by no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 14.

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or Centurylink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube.

Charter School Forum

Katie Linehan is the Executive Director for Educate America, an advocate of charter schools. Ann Hunter-Pirtle is the Executive Director for Stand for Schools, an advocate for public schools. In this episode of Go Vote Omaha, Geri Simon moderates as they provide some of the pros and cons on this topic.

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or Centurylink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube.

Discussion of Immigration Issues in Omaha (Spanish)

Laura Torres conversa con Diana Morales McFarland, abogada con Curley Law en Omaha, sobre temas de inmigración actuales.

(This episode is also available in English.)

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or Centurylink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube.

Discussion of Immigration Issues in Omaha (English)

In this episode of Go Vote Omaha, Geri Simon talks with Diana Morales McFarland, an attorney with Curley Law in Omaha, about current immigration issues.

(This episode is also available in Spanish.)

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or Centurylink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube.

Unicameral Update

Most of the bills that we were following (supporting and opposing) did not make it out of committee. Here is a brief list of bills we supported or opposed that advanced far out of committee.

Bills we supported that were signed by the governor (did become law):
LB 289 – Increase penalties to human traffickers and help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault 

Bill we supported that did not become law:
LB 75 – Elimination of the two-year wait for returning citizens; Passed by legislature, not approved by governor, and legislature failed to override governor

Bills we opposed that advanced:
LB 333 – Eliminate an independent review of denial of aid to the disabled; Signed by governor

LB 68 – Prohibit certain regulations of firearms, ammunition and accessories by counties, cities and villages; Placed on select file and enrollment and review filed

Bills that we opposed that did not pass:
LR 1CA – Constitutional amendment to require voter ID in order to vote; Failed on floor 
LB 190 – Provide for limit on tax on cigars, cheroots and stogies; Indefinitely postponed,
LB 461 – Sales and income tax legislation contained language which would basically have defunded Planned Parenthood in Lincoln); Failed on floor