Books After Dark: Join Us to Discuss ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama on April 2

“There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others.”

Michelle Obama in ‘Becoming’

Join us in discussion of Michelle Obama’s Becoming. The book club discussion will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 2 at Corkscrew Wine & Cheese, 10924 Prairie Brook Rd.

Becoming is the autobiographical memoir of former United States First Lady Michelle Obama published in 2018. Described by the author as a deeply personal experience, the book talks about her roots and how she found her voice, as well as her time in the White House, her public health campaign, and her role as a mother.

This event is open and free to the public. You can optionally RSVP on Facebook.

LWVNE Testimony in Support of LB 175

On Feb. 20, LWVNE submitted written testimony in support of LB 175, a bill to change provisions regarding candidate committee funds.

Download the submitted testimony or read the full text below.

Senator Tom Brewer, Chair

Government, Military, and VA Committee

State Capitol

Re:  Hearing for LB 175 (Chambers)  to change provisions regarding candidate committee funds

Dear Senator Brewer and Members of the Committee,

The League of Women Voters has worked on transparency in campaign finance since the early 1970s, spurred by spending abuses in congressional and presidential campaigns.  The Nebraska League has turned its attention to monitoring transparency in state level campaigns.  

We support Senator Chambers’  bill because of its solid protection for donors who wish to give to a particular candidate’s campaign with the expectation that their donation will support their candidate of choice.

We urge you to advance LB 175 to General File for full debate by the members of the Senate.

Respectfully submitted,

Lynne Elwood, Government Director                         

Sherry Miller, President

Lethal Injection & Legal Aspects of the Death Penalty

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha, first aired on June 28, 2016, Geri Simon and Professor Eric Berger from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln discuss lethal injection and other legal aspects of the death penalty.

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. You can also listen to these episodes as podcasts on Podbean.

LWVNE Testimony in Support of LB498

On Feb. 20, the League of Women Voters of Nebraska submitted testimony in support of LB498, a bill to provide for medical assistance coverage of family planning services as prescribed.

Download the submitted testimony or read the full text below.

February 20, 2019

Senator Sara Howard, Chair

Health and Human Services Committee

State Capitol

Re:  LB 498 (Wishart) Provide for medical assistance coverage of family planning services as prescribed

Dear Senator Howard and Members of the Committee,

Based on the following positions, the League of Women Voters strongly supports Senator Wishart’s bill:

“The League believes that one of the goals of good 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.”

As part of this desirable goal, “the League believes that every one should have access to a basic level of health care that includes:  the prevention of disease; health promotion and education; and primary care, including prenatal and  reproductive health).”

Family planning services described on pages 4 and 5 of the bill could well be instrumental in reducing poverty among Nebraskans whose income and/or lack of insurance coverage prevent access to regular preventive or supportive health care for women of child-bearing age.

The additional coverage for cancer screening, birth control methods, and domestic violence screening can diagnose cancer earlier, prevent unwanted pregnancies, and stop domestic abuse; these steps are also part of a path out of poverty.

Dollars spent to anticipate, treat, and prevent health issues in human reproduction are dollars wisely allocated, freeing dollars to go to other social needs of our state, including schools.

We urge you to advance LB 498 without delay to General File for full debate by the Senate.

Respectfully submitted,

Phyllis Salyards, M.D.
League of Women Voters of Nebraska
Sherry Miller, President
League of Women Voters of Nebraska


LWVNE Testimony Supporting LB 43

On Feb. 20, the League of Women Voters of Nebraska submitted testimony in support of LB43, a bill to adopt the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act.

Download the submitted testimony or read the full text below.

February 20, 2019

Senator Steve Lathrop, Chair

Judiciary Committee

State Capitol

Re:  LB 43 (Bolz)  Adopt the Sexual Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act

Dear Senator Lathrop and Members of the Committee,

The League of Women Voters of Nebraska strongly supports LB 43 and its long overdue protections for survivors of sexual assault.  Too often the shame of being such a victim has debased that victim’s ability to believe herself or himself worthy of restorative measures.

The U.S. League of Women Voters adopted its position on human trafficking in 2014.  Part of the position states that “Extensive essential services for victims should be applied where needed.”  The LWV of Nebraska believes that Senator Bolz’s Bill of Rights accurately defines those essential services that will help bring healing, along with justice, to all victims of sexual assault.

We urge you to advance LB 43 to General File for full debate by the members of the Senate.

Respectfully submitted,

John Else, Social Policy Director
Sherry Miller, President


How Bills Become Laws in Nebraska

Ever wonder the steps required for an introduced bill to become a Nebraska law? We’ve got a quick explanation below. We hope to empower Nebraskans to be active observers and even participants in the process!

Unicameral 101: How Bills Move through the Lawmaking Process

An Idea Becomes Introduced Text

Each Senator has 10 days from the start of the session to introduce as many bills as they would like. The deadline this year was Jan. 23, so all the bills that will be considered in this session have been introduced. You can find them all on the Nebraska Legislature website.

Bill Gets Assigned to a Committee

The Reference Committee assigns each bill to one of the Standing Committees.

Bill Gets a Hearing

Every bill gets a public hearing at the committee level. You can see the schedule for hearings on the Nebraska Legislature website. (The weekly schedule even has a handy “Add to Calendar” button.) You can watch hearings live or on-demand via NET.

Committee Considers the Bill

You can attend committee hearings in person (the calendar has location information) and optionally participate to support or oppose the bill.

You can also express support or opposition to a bill (while it’s in committee) by submitting written testimony to the committee chair.

If you are not testifying in person on a bill and would like to submit a written position letter to be included in the official hearing record as an exhibit, the letter must be delivered to the office of the committee chair (or emailed to the committee chair) of the committee conducting the hearing on the bill by 5:00 p.m. on the last work day prior to the public hearing.

Additionally, the letter must include your name and address, state a position of for, against, or neutral on the bill in question and include a request for the letter to be included as part of the public hearing record.

from the Nebraska Legislature website

The committee hears testimony about the bill and then can vote to:

  • indefinitely postpone the bill (“IPP” in the graphic below), effectively “killing the bill” as it won’t advance to general file this session; or
  • take no action; or
  • amend the bill; or
  • advance the bill to general file, meaning that all senators will vote on it.

(To be clear, they can vote to advance without amending, or can amend and then advance, or even amend but not advance.)

Bill Gets to General File (and Possibly Floor Debate)

If the introduced and/or amended bill gets sent to general file by the committee, then it may or may not be debated and voted on by all the senators from across the state.

The speaker can decide to block the bill from floor debate, meaning no action is taken, or can advance the bill to floor debate.

Senators can offer floor amendments during discussion of a bill. Amendments to bills are voted upon separately. A bill will move to select file if at least 25 senators vote to advance it.

Bill Gets to Select File (and Possibly More Floor Debate)

Once at the select file stage, senators can continue floor debate before voting again to advance, or not advance, the bill.

Bill Gets to Final Reading

Final reading is usually non-controversial. The clerk reads the entire bill, or, if a bill is unusually lengthy, the senators may vote to dispense with reading the entire bill.

If, following the final reading, a majority of senators vote for the bill, the bill passes and then goes to the governor.

Bill Goes to the Governor

The governor has 5 working days to sign the bill, veto the bill, or let the bill pass without his signature. If the governor vetoes the bill, the legislature can override the governor’s veto with 30 votes.

Bill Becomes a Law

If a bill has an “emergency” clause, it becomes law immediately upon the governor’s signature. If not, a bill becomes law 90 days after the last day of the session.

Legislative Process: The Flowchart

Download this graphic as a PDF: Bill-to-Law Process

For even more info, see all of our Unicameral 101 posts, including a video explanation of how a bill becomes a law.

Recapping the 2018 Elections with the Douglas County Election Commission

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha, LWVGO member MaryLee Moulton interviews Douglas County Election Commission Director Brian Kruse and Deputy Director Chris Carithers about the recent election, how votes are counted, shifts to early vote by mail, and other election topics.  

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. You can also listen to these episodes as podcasts on Podbean.

LWVNE Testimony Supporting LB 230

On Feb. 13, the League of Women Voters of Nebraska submitted testimony in support of LB 230, a bill to provide for room confinement of juveniles as prescribed.

On Feb. 14, members of the Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the bill, but did not take any immediate action.

Download the submitted testimony or read the full text below.

Dear Senator Lathrop and Members of the Committee,

We write in support of Senator Pansing Brooks’  LB 230. The League of Women Voters of Nebraska supports a correctional system that provides for humane treatment of an accused or incarcerated offender, both juvenile and adult.

This seems to be a simple bill that provides important and humane constraints on the use of room confinement for juvenile offenders living in confinement facilities.  These limitations are critically important to the mental health and development of youth. The required report and rigid timeline will assure that there is timely awareness of the use of such confinement in youth facilities and will enable the Legislature to hold facilities accountable.  

We hope this bill receive Committee approval and broad support by the Legislature.  

Sincerely,

John F. Else, Director of Social Policy                                                        

Sherry Miller, President

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

LWVNE Testimony Supporting LB 391

On Feb. 13, the League of Women Voters of Nebraska submitted testimony in support of LB 391, a bill to change duties of peace officers taking juveniles into custody or interrogating juveniles and prohibit use of statements taken in violation of the rights of a juvenile

Download the submitted testimony or read the full text below.

Dear Senator Lathrop and Members of the Committee,

We write in support of Senator Pansing Brooks’s LB 391.  The League of Women Voters of Nebraska supports a correctional system, including initial arrest, that provides for humane treatment of an accused offender, both juvenile and adult. 

LB 391  is a straight-forward bill that assures that arrested juveniles receive the same legal protections as adults, but including, in these cases, requirements that the parent, guardian, custodian, or relatives be informed so that they are able to provide advice and counsel to the youth.  It also requires access to an attorney, either paid by the arrested person (or adults in his/her life) or by the State.

It also provides for limits on use of adult facilities for youth.  It excludes use of such facilities for youth under 16 and places time limits (of time and location, and requires significant supervision) on use of such facilities for youth 16 years of age or older. 

All of these provisions seem basic and appropriate.  We hope the bill will receive Committee approval and broad support in the Legislature.     

Sincerely,

John F. Else, Director of Social Policy

Sherry Miller, President