NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Megan Hunt

Sen. Megan Hunt

District 8

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at mhunt@leg.ne.gov

New Online Public Input Option
February 16th, 2021
Friends, supporters, detractors, interested parties, I want to encourage you to utilize the Nebraska Legislature’s new online comment feature to make your voice heard and opinions known about our bills. Here are the main points:
  1. Submit an online comment on the bill page for any bill, at any stage of debate, by searching for it on nebraskalegislature.gov. To access this feature, search for the bill you wish to submit a statement on and click the corresponding button near the top of the bill page.
  2. These are super useful – I read the comments as we debate bills, and I think these are an important way to receive feedback from constituents during the pandemic.
  3. Please keep in mind that these comments *won’t* be recorded as part of the record on the bill. If you want your comments on the record, you must submit a letter to the committee by noon on the day before the hearing.
  4. I have two bills being heard in committee tomorrow. LB 121 would allow people with past drug convictions to receive SNAP if they are eligible, and LB 356 would prevent eligible SNAP recipients from being unnecessarily disqualified if they are found ineligible for some other assistance program. Please leave supportive comments on these bills and contact your senator, especially those on the Health and Human Services committee! Your voice matters and your support will help to advance these critical bills.
Community Vaccination Clinics
January 28th, 2021
The Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) and its community partners will host four community clinics beginning in February in an effort to provide Douglas County residents 80 years of age and older with the COVID-19 vaccine. The four sites are being coordinated by the DCHD in partnership with Nebraska Medicine, CHI Health, Creighton University, and Methodist Health System. The clinics will continue to operate until further notice. To register for the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://vaccinate.ne.gov.

The locations and times for the clinics are:

  • Christ Community Church – 404 South 108th Street, Omaha
    • Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. beginning on February 2nd.
  • CHI Immanuel Medical Center – 72nd Street and Sorensen Parkway, Omaha
    • Wednesdays and Fridays from  9 a.m.-5 p.m. beginning on February 3rd.
  • Nebraska Medicine Testing & Vaccination Clinic – 144th and Millard Avenue
    • Thursdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
    • Sundays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
    • Begins February 4th
  • Creighton Universit’s Rasmussen Center – 702 North 17th Street
    • Saturdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. beginning on February 6th.

Douglas County residents will have the opportunity to visit the clinic that is closest to them. This is the beginning of Phase 1-B of the vaccination rollout and will provide the first dose of the vaccine for this group.

In addition to the four community clinics, beginning on Monday, February 1st, DCHD will provide vaccines on a limited basis at OneWorld Community Health Center in South Omaha, Charles Drew Health Center, and the Fred LeRoy Health Center. Kohll’s Pharmacy will provide vaccinations to independent living and retirement communities, while the Nebraska Methodist College mobile diabetes unit will be serving vulnerable populations. 

Vaccine Registration

The DCHD Vaccine Registration Line will go live on Friday, January 29th at 9 a.m. DCHD’s Information Line at (402) 444-3400 will be taking reservations beginning Friday at 9 a.m. for those who do not have computer access. There is NO advantage to calling early or trying to register if you are not 80 years old. Vaccinations will be by appointment only.   

Those who have registered with the DCHD vaccine notification system can expect to be contacted about the next step in the process. You can register online for notifications here. Please wait for further information on that next step. These clinics are limited to Douglas County residents who are 80 years of age or older this year. If you were not born in 1941 or earlier, please do not attempt to attend a clinic. You will not receive the vaccine if you show up.

Age-based eligibility will start with over 80 years of age which has the highest mortality rate and then move down through lower age groups. This will be based on the year of birth in order to simplify the process. For example, people who were born in 1941 or before (or will turn 80 at any time during this calendar year) will be the first group to make appointments. Depending on demand and appointment availability, we will add groups in 5-year increments throughout the month of February.

Additional Information

Until much more vaccine is available, healthcare providers and clinics will not be able to order it for their patients. Future clinics will address more tiered groups of residents over 65 years of age, a group that has suffered 82% of the COVID-19 related deaths in Douglas County

If you have any questions regarding the vaccine, the DCHD website has a comprehensive information page. If you would like to volunteer to assist with vaccination efforts, you can register with the Medical Reserve Corps here.

If you missed an opportunity to be vaccinated during phase 1a, you can call the DCHD COVID-19 Information Line at (402) 444-3400 for an appointment.

Dear friends and neighbors,

Nebraska’s unique Unicameral Legislature relies heavily on the “second house” – the citizens of the State of Nebraska. Ensuring that members of the public have the opportunity to have their voices heard is vital to the legislative process.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique health and safety concerns. The Legislature has adopted expanded methods by which the public can provide input into the legislative process so that citizens who have safety concerns about in-person testifying have multiple opportunities to have their voice heard as part of the legislative and committee process.

The following options provide ways for citizens to share their views on a bill with the Legislature. Please read each option carefully, as each has a different outcome as to how your input is recorded. Guidance on hearings may continue to change depending on COVID-19, but I will make sure that you hear of any changes and are able to testify on the bills that matter to you.

All the best,
Meg

Option 1: In-Person Testimony

As always, persons attending a public hearing in person will have an opportunity to present verbal testimony to the committee and be subject to questioning by the committee members. In-person testimony is generally limited to 5 minutes, although the chair of each committee has the discretion to modify that time limit.

Persons verbally testifying will be listed as a testifier on the committee statement as has been the practice, and have their position included within the official committee hearing record.

Option 2: Written Testimony In Lieu of In-Person Testimony

The intent of this option is to create a substitute for those who are concerned about safety by testifying in person but wish to have their testimony submitted, their name recorded on the committee statement, and included in the formal committee hearing record as if they had testified in person. Please note that the committee statement will note that the testimony was provided in writing with no opportunity for the committee members to question the testifier.

In order to take advantage of this option, the following four requirements must be met:

  1. Submission of written testimony will only be accepted the day of the hearing between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. in the committee room in which the hearing is scheduled.
  2. Individuals must present their written testimony in person during this time frame and sign the submitted written testimony record at the time of submission on the day of the hearing on the bill.
  3. The testifier must submit 12 copies. Failure to submit the required number of copies will result in the treatment of the submission as a position letter and not written testimony.
  4. The written testimony must be a written statement that is no longer than 2 single-spaced, typed pages or 4 double-spaced, typed pages in length.
  5. Only the written testimony from the person delivering the testimony will be accepted. No handouts, testimony, or letters from other individuals may be included outside of an individual’s written testimony.
  6. Written testimony will be handed out to each member of the committee during the hearing and made available as part of the hearing transcript when the transcript is made public.

Failure to meet all of these procedures for submitted written testimony will result in the person providing the testimony to not be listed on the committee statement as a written testifier, however, the testimony will be included in the official hearing record as an exhibit.

Option 3: Position Letter

If you are not testifying in person on a bill or resolution, or submitting written testimony in person on a bill (Option 2), but would like to submit a position letter to be included in the official hearing record as an exhibit, you must deliver your letter to the office of the committee chair or email it to the committee’s email account by 12:00 p.m. CST on the last workday prior to the public hearing.

Letters emailed (and not hand-delivered) will not be included as part of the public hearing record if sent to any email other than the committee’s email account. A list of these emails is included below.

Your letter must identify the bill or resolution, 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.

Please note that mass communications will also not be included as part of the official hearing record as an exhibit regardless of delivery time or requests to have the communication included.

Option 4: Online Database

A new feature has been added to the Nebraska Legislature’s website for submission of written statements on pending legislation on the Legislature’s website at any stage of the bill’s process.  (To access this feature, search for the bill you wish to submit a statement on and click the corresponding button near the top of the bill page.)

These submissions will not be considered testimony or part of the public hearing record, but the submitted statements will be available on the UniNet for access by senators and staff throughout the session.  Please note, there should be no expectation of privacy regarding comments submitted in this format. If a citizen uses the database to submit their views prior to the public hearing on a bill or resolution, this option will allow input to the members of the committee prior to any committee votes.

Committee Emails

Each committee has been assigned a new committee email. If you are submitting written testimony or a position letter, your testimony must be sent to one of the emails below to be included in the record.

Agriculture Committee

Appropriations Committee

Banking, Commerce & Insurance Committee

Business & Labor Committee

Education Committee

Executive Board Committee

General Affairs Committee

Government, Military, & Veterans Affairs Committee

Health & Human Services Committee

Judiciary Committee

Natural Resources Committee

Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee

Revenue Committee

Transportation & Telecommunications Committee

Urban Affairs Committee

Dear friends and neighbors,

Below you can find a brief overview of each of the bills I have introduced for 2021, as well as a few of the nearly 80 proposals I am co-sponsoring with my colleagues.

The text of these bills is available on the Nebraska Legislature’s website. This is a great tool to use to find information on hearing dates, the progress of a bill, and other relevant documents. If you are interested in testifying on any bills, you can find an overview of the process here. Note that this year, written testimony will need to be submitted by noon the day before the bill’s hearing, a change from 5 pm in previous years. Guidance on hearings may continue to change depending on COVID-19, but I will make sure that you hear of any changes and are able to testify on the bills that matter to you.

All the best,
Meg

2021 Legislative Agenda

LB 120 – Prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity

  • While the Supreme Court Bostock v. Clayton County case held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against this, it is still essential to pass this at the state level
  • Good governance to harmonize federal and state laws
  • Prevents employers and employees from wading through a patchwork of laws resulting in uncertainty and costly civil rights litigation

LB 121 – Expand access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for individuals with prior drug convictions 

  • Removes the lifetime SNAP ban for people with drug convictions who have either completed their sentence or are serving a term of parole, probation, or post-release supervision

LB 122 – Eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers

  • The tipped wage of $2.13/hour has not been updated since 1990, resulting in poverty rates 3 times higher for tipped workers than the general workforce. Eliminating the subminimum wage would put tipped workers at the standard state minimum wage of $9/hour.

LB 183 – Sexual Assault Emergency Care Act 

  • Require emergency rooms to provide information about emergency contraception to all victims of sexual assault, and to dispense emergency contraception upon request

LB 205 – Rental Housing Late Fees

  • Places reasonable limits on late fees or penalties that may be charged by a landlord and requires accurate and sufficient information to be provided in termination notices
  • Currently, there is no restriction on the amount of a late fee that can be charged for unpaid rent in Nebraska except that it cannot be “unconscionable.”  Data collected by the UNL Civil Clinic shows late fees often exceed the amount of rent due.

LB 229 – Gender Identity Hate Crimes

  • Provide for enhanced penalties and civil action for crimes committed because of a victim’s gender identity or association with a person of a certain gender identity.

LB 230 – LGBT Public Accommodation Equality

  • Prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in public accommodations and under the Nebraska Fair Housing Act.

LB 231 – Ban Conversion Therapy

  • Prohibits any person holding a credential under the Uniform Credentialing Act from advertising for and/or charging money for conversion therapy and prohibits performing conversion therapy on any individual under the age of 19.
  • This would not prevent faith leaders from preaching what they believe regarding gender issues.

LB 517 – Gender Neutral Option for ID

  • Driver’s license applicant’s gender shall be indicated as female, male, or not specified through an indication of “X”
  • Provides a simplified pathway for Nebraskans to amend their gender on official government documents, such as a driver’s license

LB 250 – Interior Design Voluntary Registration Act

  • Creates a voluntary registration to be administered by the Nebraska State Treasurer for those qualified interior designers in Nebraska to use the title “Registered Interior Designer”
  • Gives those registered the ability to stamp and seal their interior design construction documents for permits in code-regulated spaces
  • Creates reciprocity for the Nebraska registration for those interior designers who may be registered, licensed, or certified in another state
  • Establishes continuing education requirements for those who wish to become registered

LB 260 – Unemployment for Caregivers 

  • Allows people who have made every effort to preserve employment but who have to leave work for temporary family caregiving needs to be eligible for unemployment

LB 276 – Telemedicine Abortions

  • Allows for medical abortions, or abortions administered via medication, to be administered through telemedicine
  • Eliminates the current statutory requirement that a physician be physically present in the same room when medical abortions are performed

LB 277 – Mobile Home Landlord-Tenant Update

  • In 2019, LB 433 amended the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act but it did not update the Mobile Home Landlord and Tenant Act to match it
  • This bill harmonizes the two acts to ensure uniformity in our state law with regard to the landlord-tenant issues addressed by LB 433

LB 356 – SNAP Comparable Disqualification

  • Prevents SNAP benefits from being cut if an individual fails to meet any requirements under some other federal benefit program such as TANF
  • This bill would opt the state out of this comparable disqualification option, meaning that if someone is to be disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits, it must be for reasons only related to failure to meet eligibility requirements for THAT program – not for some other public assistance program

LB 357 – Youth in Care Bill of Rights

  • Ensures that youth in our foster system and YRTC system are given notice of their rights related to services, connection to family, and transition planning
  • Ensures that caseworkers are trained on the rights and regularly discuss these rights with young people, and strengthens youths’ awareness of the grievance process through DHHS if they believe their rights have been violated

LB 358 – Tenant Anti-Retaliation 

  • Prohibits a landlord from retaliating against a tenant if the tenant has made a good faith complaint to the landlord of a violation of the housing code or noncompliance with the lease agreement or if the tenant has exercised or attempted to exercise a right or remedy under the lease agreement or law

Co-Sponsored Legislation

  • LR 10CA (Cavanaugh, M.) – Restore voting rights for felons, except if convicted of treason
  • LR 2CA (Wayne) –  Legalize cannabis for persons twenty-one and older and to require legislation
  • LB 20 (Blood) – Insurance coverage & Medicaid access to prescribed contraceptives
  • LB 56  (Lathrop) – Improve parole eligibility & accountability
  • LB 72 (Geist) – Provide for sale of alcoholic liquor not in its original package
  • LB 83 (Flood) – Allow Videoconferencing in the Open Meetings Act
  • LB 107 (McCollister) – Adopt the Redistricting Act to provide for fair redistricting
  • LB 109 (Pansing Brooks) – Provide that photographing or recording a peace officer is not an obstruction of justice
  • LB 110  (Pansing Brooks) – Change and provide duties relating to the use of force in law enforcement
  • LB 114 (McCollister) – Seal criminal records by adopting the Clean Slate Act
  • LB 125 (McCollister) – Ranked-Choice Voting
  • LB 128 (McCollister) – Seal eviction records
  • LB 134 (Brandt) – Require the posting and reporting of tax incentive information
  • LB 171 (Hansen, M.) – Increase unemployment benefits by 5% per dependant
  • LB 196 (Vargas) – Prohibit housing discrimination based on income source
  • LB 241 (Vargas) – Adopt the Meatpacking Employees COVID-19 Protection Act
  • LB 258 (Vargas) – Adopt the Healthy & Safe Families and Workplaces Act for safe and sick leave
  • LB 264 (Stinner) – Cultural district funding
  • LB 266 (McCollister) – Adopt the Renewable Energy Standards Act
  • LB 278 (Wayne) – Change the penalty for having residue of a controlled substance from a felony to a misdemeanor
  • LB 306 (Brandt) –  DHHS must allocate at least 10% of funds for the low-income home energy assistance program
  • LB 321 (Cavanaugh, J.) – Prohibit defendant’s discovery of victim’s actual or perceived gender or sexual orientation as a defense to a crime
  • LB 396 (Brandt) – Adopt the Nebraska Farm-to-School Program Act
  • LB 419 (Cavanaugh, J.) – Right to counsel in evictions
Dear friends and neighbors,

Today I requested State Auditor Charlie Janssen to perform a financial audit and investigation of the operation of Test Nebraska in order to ensure that the state funds are being properly and judiciously spent.

TestNebraska is comprised of a number of out of state companies with little prior experience in mass testing, contact tracing, or pandemic treatment. TestNebraska promised to administer 3,000 tests a day. However, throughout June, the average daily test rate has been 1,200 – considerably less than half of the stated goal of 3,000 daily tests.

I appreciate that we are in an unprecedented time in our state with respect to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. But in our current budget situation, a $27 million award with barely any debate and no competitive bidding needs to be looked at closely. In short, I want to know whether Nebraskans are getting their money’s worth and whether the millions we are paying these companies are actually going to testing Nebraskans for COVID-19.

A report generated by the Iowa State Auditor of their similar TestIowa program, which is administered in partnership with the same companies behind TestNebraska, found that TestIowa took “pointless risks” and increased liabilities to the state. Related to the claims of accuracy, in mid-June of 2020 a number of investors sued one of the TestNebraska companies (Co-Diagnostics) in Utah federal court alleging that executives had misrepresented their Logix COVID-19 test as being “100% accurate” and that company directors, officers and scientists “made continual, knowing and willful misstatements” about their COVID-19 test to inflate the Co-Diagnostics’ stock price.

I have urged the State Auditor to consider these areas of focus in any audit performed of Test Nebraska:

  • Is the quantity, or rate, of testing sufficient to justify our state spending this kind of money to TestNebraska
  • Is the quality, or accuracy of the testing similar to or consistent with other testing being done in Nebraska by area hospitals or clinics?
  • What is the actual rate of accuracy of the testing of TestNebraska?
  • What measures or efforts were taken to protect Nebraskan’s private health information that is collected by TestNebraska?
Read the Request to the Nebraska Auditor
 

As always, please let me know if I can be of any more assistance. Email is the best way to get in touch with me, at mhunt@leg.ne.gov. Please continue to wear a mask, maintain a 6′ social distance between others, and stay home as much as possible. I will continue to do everything I can through policy to keep you and your family safe, but without wider government leadership, you must choose to do what’s best for your own health.

Keep safe,
Meg

Changes to Unemployment
July 12th, 2020
Dear friends and neighbors,

Last week, Governor Ricketts announced that he was bringing back job search requirements for unemployed Nebraskans earlier than planned. Is that great? No — during this pandemic, this is not what’s best for Nebraskans. In the most economically robust of times, many people make convincing arguments for the need to ensure that the unemployed are motivated to continue to seek jobs, but that is not where we are today. My office has been contacted daily by Nebraskans who are confused and distraught about these new requirements. For example, many workers who are temporarily laid off with the expectation that they will be rehired do not want to waste time searching for jobs they do not intend to keep. On the flip side, employers don’t want the hassle of processing applications and training new employees who may not intend to stay. With this order, Governor Ricketts has introduced unnecessary friction into an already anxious economy. It doesn’t help.

But it’s where we are. And here is no hope for the Legislature to do anything to stop this. So let me help you understand it.

The Department of Labor has put together a helpful FAQ for workers who have been furloughed or have been working intermittently for their employer during this pandemic. It also includes Q&A for employers on how they can let the department know if they have employees on furlough that they want to bring back, and includes a form that employers can use to ask for an extension if needed.

Work Search FAQs for Workers
Form for Employers to Request an Extension
 

As always, please let me know if I can be of any more assistance. Email is the best way to get in touch with me, at mhunt@leg.ne.gov. Please continue to wear a mask, maintain a 6′ social distance between others, and stay home as much as possible. I will continue to do everything I can through policy to keep you and your family safe, but without wider government leadership, you must choose to do what’s best for your own health.

Keep safe,
Meg

Community Cares Act Grants
June 29th, 2020

Grants Available to Community Orgs

Dear friends and neighbors,

The Department of Health & Human Services is pleased to announce three funding opportunities for charitable organizations and providers. Please share this information with anyone who you think could benefit from it. The first grant application opens on Monday, June 29.

DHHS says they are committed to prioritizing funds for underserved communities, including areas of high poverty and areas disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Community CARES Stabilization Grant

  • One-time payment of at least $12,000 for charitable organizations and eligible provider organizations. Applicants must have sustained increased costs and/or lower revenue/income due to COVID-19. Total allocation: $40 million
  • Applications open: June 29-July 6, 2020
  • To apply: http://dhhs.ne.gov/CommunityCares

Community CARES Response and Recovery Grant

  • Competitive grant opportunity for non-profits and eligible provider organizations that will help children, families and communities respond to and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Funding can be used for homelessness prevention assistance, shelters, meal delivery for individuals with food access barriers, telehealth resources, PPE, community health services, behavioral health services, sanitation of public spaces, and more. Applications must include measurable outcomes. Funding is subject to federal grant subrecipient requirements and must be expended by December 30, 2020.
  • Awards expected to be in the range of $50,000-$2,000,000.
  • Total allocation: $43 million
  • Applications open: July 1-8, 2020
  • To apply: http://dhhs.ne.gov/CommunityCares

Community CARES Healthy Places Grant for Child Care Centers and Places of Worship

  • Funds will be used for the purchase of PPE and cleaning supplies. These health and safety supplies will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 across Nebraska. Total allocation: $2 million
  • Applications open: July 6-12, 2020
  • To apply: http://dhhs.ne.gov/CommunityCares
As always, please let me know if I can be of any more assistance. Email is the best way to get in touch with me, at mhunt@leg.ne.gov.

Keep safe,
Meg

Dear friends and neighbors,

Hello Nebraskans, and especially my friends in District 8. Are you looking for an opportunity to serve? In Nebraska, our Governor has the power to appoint leaders for many of the state’s agencies, boards, and commissions. Those organizations may be as large as DHHS or the Department of Education, and as small as the Brand Committee or the Boiler Safety Code Advisory Board.

Each appointment is confirmed by the Legislature during a confirmation hearing. In my committees of Government, Military, and Veteran’s Affairs, Urban Affairs, and General Affairs, we have held confirmation hearings for several appointed positions. These hearings go through the same process as bills: the appointee answers questions from senators on the committee, and then members of the public are invited to testify in support, opposition, or in a neutral position on the appointment. The committee then votes on whether to send the appointment to the full Legislature, which debates the appointment and then votes on final confirmation. Most appointees are very well-qualified and well-vetted and sail through the process to begin serving the public.

These appointments on commissions and boards are an important way for citizens across the state to bring their expertise to policies and decisions made by our state government. I encourage you to consider serving, and to occasionally check the Governor’s webpage to see if there is an opening that is a good fit for you or someone you know. A list of current vacancies and the application form can be found at the following link! I would love to see more of my constituents, and more Nebraskans statewide, active in their local governments.

Please check this list out! See a complete list of the openings currently seeking applicants here.

Complete an online application for a board or commission here.

As always, please let me know if I can be of any more assistance. Email is the best way to get in touch with me, at mhunt@leg.ne.gov.

Keep safe,
Meg

Dear friends and neighbors,

Today brings us historic news from the Supreme Court. In a landmark ruling, our nation’s highest court affirmed the rights of LGBTQ+ workers by finding that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of sex discrimination prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. That means that a person cannot be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a big deal.

Today is a victory for LGBTQ+ workers all over our country, especially in Nebraska where we have fought for years at the state level to enshrine these protections into law. We owe our gratitude to Aimee Stephens, Donald Zarda and Gerald Bostock, the LGBTQ+ workers who brought these cases all the way to the top. Sadly, only one of the three plaintiffs is still with us today — Don passed away in 2014 and, just this May, we lost Aimee, too. They deserved to be a part of this moment and we owe them so much thanks.

This much-needed win also comes in the midst of two epidemics: COVID-19, and racial violence, answered by the Black Lives Matter movement. A guarantee of employment protections like these couldn’t come at a better time, but it is not enough. I find myself happy about this Supreme Court decision, but not resting and not even really relieved. This is one long-overdue step in the fight for equality and fight against violence toward the LGBTQ+ community, which disproportionately affects Black people and people of color. We have to recognize and dismantle all policies that embolden those who stand on the side of inequality, and that work is not done.

I am the first openly LGBTQ+ person elected to the Nebraska Legislature in its 165-year history. To me, that is a dubious honor, because that much time should not have passed before we had a single person offering representation to our community at the state level. In 2020, we must elect more people from our LGBTQ+ community and continue to expand the diversity of representation across all intersections of identity and experience at the state and local level. The government doesn’t work for all the people until it reflects all the people.

In Nebraska, we must still pass LB627, Senator Patty Pansing Brooks’s priority bill to enshrine LGBTQ+ workplace protections at the state level and mirror federal law. This will be my expectation of my colleagues in the Nebraska Legislature.

Every person should have the freedom to work hard, earn a decent living, and provide for their families. Those aren’t just Nebraska values – they are American values.

As always, please let me know if I can be of any more assistance. Email is the best way to get in touch with me, at mhunt@leg.ne.gov.

Keep safe,
Meg

Dear friends and neighbors,

It’s hard to believe that we are now in our fourth month of social distancing. It is extremely important that we continue to follow the guidelines put forth by public health experts as we slowly begin to re-open parts of our state. By following these health directives with continued social distancing and the wearing of masks in public, we can prevent more infections and death.

Nebraska is currently in Phase II of reopening. Is that great? No, but it is what it is, and that’s the Governor’s choice. I’m emailing you today to update you with the most current directives and guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Governor for COVID-19 in Nebraska. Please feel free to share this email and any of these resources with caregivers, business owners, workers, and anyone else who may benefit.

Besides the health impacts of the Coronavirus, we know that the economic devastation will not only be lasting, but it will affect the health of Nebraskans as well. Omaha has record unemployment, nearly 50,000 people without healthcare, and families and workers are facing hardship like our community has never seen. There are resources available for workers, families and small businesses to help deal with the financial insecurity that has impacted so many Nebraskans.  Below are links to resources available to help people in need of assistance.

The Speaker announced that we will be returning to complete the final 17 days of our Legislative Session on July 20. The Lancaster County Public Health Department has worked with capitol staff to make the Chamber as safe as possible for our return, including spreading out our seating arrangement, plastic dividers, and masks.

My colleagues and I have spent a lot of time over this legislative suspension discussing how to move policy concerns forward when we return, especially given the drop we expect in revenue for the year and the likelihood that we will experience at least two years of economic downturn from this pandemic. I am learning a lot from the experience of my senior colleagues and doing everything I can to make sure we do not forget about marginalized groups and how they will be impacted.

While we are not in session, the Governor has addressed several issues related to the pandemic through executive orders. He also has broad discretion to spend CARES Act dollars. Consequently, much of our efforts to directly address pandemic concerns in the immediate term have been through advocating the Governor to act. Ongoing conversations have also been occurring over how CARES Act funding could be used including helping to fund front line services in our cities and counties and provide relief to small business owners and families who have been hardest hit economically. I signed onto a letter sent by Senator Kate Bolz recommending more public input and transparency with how CARES Act dollars will be spent. There will be opportunities for legislative oversight when we return to session.

When we return, the same bills will be up for discussion. New legislation cannot be introduced unless we suspend the rules (which is unlikely, but possible). Nebraskans can expect several amendments to be introduced addressing new needs brought to us by both COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement.

I know that working together we will get through this pandemic and be stronger for it.

As always, please let me know if I can be of any more assistance. Email is the best way to get in touch with me, at mhunt@leg.ne.gov.

Keep safe,
Meg

Sen. Megan Hunt

District 8
Room 1523
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2722
Email: mhunt@leg.ne.gov
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