Disability Rights Nebraska's Public Policy Team is prepared to work hard to protect the rights of people with disabilities during the 1st Session of the 106th Legislature. In 2019, we plan to continue 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. Additionally, we help inform the public about the legislative process in Nebraska and upcoming legislation that may affect people with disabilities.
View a complete list of our legislative priorities to learn more about the bills that we are interested in this legislative session.
Learn more about Nebraska's legislative process or recap last year's session by visiting our 2018 Legislative Updates page.
Under LB739, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services could not place a member of a vulnerable population in restrictive housing. Disability Rights Nebraska Public Policy Director, Brad Meurrens, testified in support of this bill and was quoted in this article. “It does not require much of a stretch to understand that solitary confinement could create additional or exacerbate underlying mental health conditions for persons who are in one or more of those vulnerable populations [outlined in the bill],” Meurrens said.
Over the years, the use of seclusion and restraint in schools across the United States has drawn plenty of attention. Federal data indicates more than 122,000 students nationwide were secluded or restrained in the 2015-2016 school year and students with disabilities represent 12% of the student population. Nationally, they represent 71% of students who were restrained and 66% of those students who were secluded. Recently, there has been movement at the federal level to better understand and reduce the use of restraint and seclusion. Locally, however, a Nebraska state senator has proposed a bill, Legislative Bill 147, that leans the opposite direction.
Michael Warner, a Disability Rights Nebraska Board Member, spoke against LB 147 at its hearing. “Students are in school to learn,” he said. “They should not be fearful of retaliation from a teacher because they got frustrated.”
Our legislative calendar marks the dates of hearings for bills that Disability Rights Nebraska is interested in this session, from those that we provide testimony or letters on to those that we simply are monitoring. For more information about the bills or their hearings, please see our legislative agenda or visit the Nebraska Legislature's website.