In 2019, Disability Rights Nebraska's Public Policy Team worked hard to protect the rights of people with disabilities during the 1st Session of the 106th Legislature. Our public policy work will continue this decade, starting with the 2nd Session of Nebraska's 106th Legislature.
Each year, we publish our Legislative Priorities Chart listing the public policy issues we will be focusing on during the session. The chart consists of three categories:
- "High Priority" legislation receives the most attention from our public policy team. We provide testimony at the hearing, collaborate with policymakers and partners, and educate community members on the issue.
- For "Medium Priority" legislation, we write letters to policymakers, often times in conjunction with other disability rights partners.
- We track the progress of legislation in the "Monitor" category but have decided not to take any action on these bills at the time.
The 2020 Legislative Priorities Chart is currently in development. Check back in a few weeks to learn more about legislation that has the potential to affect Nebraskans with disabilities during this session. In the meantime, brush up on your knowledge of Nebraska's legislative process, visit our 2019 Legislative Updates page for a recap of our work during last year's session, or review our 2019 Legislative Bill Chart for the end-of-session statuses of last year's priority legislation.
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.