Disability Rights Nebraska's Public Policy Team worked hard to protect the rights of people with disabilities during the 105th Legislature's 2nd Session. In 2018, we continued our public policy advocacy by providing analyses and testimony on issues that affect the disability community. We respond to “High-Priority” bills with testimony, personal contacts and education, and “Medium Priority” bills with letters, often in conjunction with other disability rights partners. View a complete list of our legislative priorities in 2018 to learn more about bills that might affect Nebraskans with disabilities.
On May 24, the Nebraska Legislature passed a bill to establish a trust fund for brain injury research and advocacy. LB 481 was originally introduced to state intent regarding how the state Department of Health and Human Services administers the federal Title X Program. LB 642 replaced those provisions, and the bill now creates the Brain Injury Trust Fund. Disability Rights Nebraska supported LB 642.
On Friday, May 24th, Nebraska lawmakers approved a bill that would make multiple changes to criminal justice statutes. Originally, LB686 would have imposed new requirements on the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services for declaring a prison overcrowding emergency. This bill was replaced with provisions of several other bills, including LB 739. This bill would prohibit the Department of Correctional Services from placing an individual who is a member of a vulnerable population in restrictive housing. Disability Rights Nebraska support LB 739.
On May 23, the legislature gave final approval to LB 15, which requires most health insurance plans to pay for hearing aids for Nebraskans younger than 19. Disability Rights Nebraska's Public Policy Intern, Olivia Versaw, testified in support of this bill.
Senators passed LB600 yesterday, which extends a time frame for the authority of the deputy public counsel for institutions from 12 months to 24 months. Disability Rights Nebraska supported this bill.