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My priority bill, LB 260 passed on final reading today, with a veto-proof number of affirmative votes. (33 yes, 11 no, and 5 present-not voting) I am proud to have 25 cosponsors on this and a broad base of bipartisan support.
LB 260 adds “caring for a family member with a serious health condition” to the list of reasons that are considered “good cause for voluntarily leaving employment” in our Employment Security Law. In other words, it would allow 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 if and when they are ready and willing to look for new work.
Voting NO: Albrecht, Clements, Erdman, Friesen, Groene, Halloran, Hansen, B., Hughes, Lowe, Moser, Slama
Present – Not Voting: Arch, Bostelman, Brewer, Lindstrom, Lienhan
Voting YES: Aguilar, Blood, Bostar, Brnadt, Briese, Cavanaugh, J., Cavanaugh, M., Day, DeBoer, Dorn, Floor, Geist, Gragert, Hansen, M., Hilgers, Hilkemann, Hunt, Kolterman, Lathrop, McCollister, McDonnell, McKinney, Morfeld, Murman, Pahls, Pansing Brooks, Sanders, Stinner, Vargas, Walz, Wayne, Williams, Wishart
Under current law, employees who leave work due to family caregiving demands are not able to collect unemployment benefits that they have earned throughout their years in the workforce. This would cover situations in which someone had to leave one job, then they have a temporary period where they’re providing care and are out of work, and then they’re ready to get back in the workforce. For example, an employee may have a parent that suddenly becomes seriously ill. It may take weeks for the employee to make suitable arrangements for the parent’s long-term care, or until the parent might be admitted into a care facility. This bill would provide a safety net until the need for full-time caregiving passes.
The coronavirus pandemic has made this bill even more important. Many jobs don’t grant workers enough flexibility to care for a sick loved one. Closures, capacity restrictions, and fear of infection have caused a strain on the availability of skilled care, and facilities are experiencing high rates of infection spread. Vulnerable individuals may have more demanding and long-term care needs following infection with the virus. These factors in combination with increased unemployment and the difficulty of finding new jobs as a result of COVID-19 make it harder than ever for working Nebraskans who have family caregiving needs.
24 states have adopted this change.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2021
Contact: Cassy Ross, Communications Director
firstname.lastname@example.org / (402 471 2722)
Senator Megan Hunt Introduces Legislative Resolution Affirming Nebraska’s Commitment to Preserving Voting Access
Resolution introduced in response to LR 107, a blatantly partisan resolution signed by 31 state senators
Lincoln, Nebraska – State Senator Megan Hunt is concerned but amused by the precedent set by Senator Mike Groene and the thirty other state senators who cosponsored LR 107. LR 107 is a blatantly partisan and frivolous resolution, which relates to subjects including election laws and voting rights, free exercise of religion, federalism and sharing of powers with the federal government, states’ rights as provided in the 9th and 10th Amendments, First Amendment rights, Second Amendment rights, healthcare and vaccines and the right to assemble and travel, a rejection of “vaccine passports,” and the private use of land and water. In keeping with this precedent set by Senator Groene and the thirty cosponsors of LR 107, Senator Hunt has introduced LR 135 to condemn attempts to erode the right of all Americans to participate equitably in elections.
LR 135 is the fourth in a series of legislative resolutions Senator Hunt is introducing in response to LR 107. “I ask the members of the body who signed onto LR 107 to read it carefully and remove their names, and I call on the members of the Executive Board to exercise integrity and keep this bad resolution from advancing to the floor”, said Hunt. A hearing on LR 107 was held last Thursday.
“Resolutions are not frivolous, and any resolution passed by the Nebraska Legislature may have consequential legal significance. We do not know how or whether another governmental body will interpret any given resolution we pass, whether that body is another state legislature, a state or federal court, or a governor or attorney general. Resolutions we pass, including the embarrassing and poorly-written LR 107, could be interpreted by courts as binding, or at a minimum, as formal findings of the Legislature on the particular subjects implicated in the resolution. For that reason, the thirty-one senators who sponsored LR 107 should be aware of the precedent they are setting and the door they are opening for blatantly partisan governance that does not reflect the values of Nebraskans,” Hunt said.
Additionally, LR 107 raises concerns about legislative leaders circumventing rules and procedures in the officially nonpartisan Unicameral. LR 107 was originally correctly referenced to the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs committee according to legislative rules and established history. However, the Executive Board, which has the final word on where bills and resolutions are referenced, moved LR 107 to their committee in an apparent attempt to route the measure away from the Government Committee, where LR 107 would not have garnered the votes necessary to advance. The introduction of LR 135 follows a motion by Hunt to re-reference LR 107 in accordance with good governance, which failed to gather enough votes to pass. Nebraskans should be concerned about this precedent of “committee shopping,” moving bills and resolutions into committees where the political majority is likely to get a favorable outcome.
Sponsors of LR 107 include: Senators Mike Groene (introducer), Ray Aguilar, Joni Albrecht, John Arch, Bruce Bostelman, Tom Brandt, Tom Brewer, Tom Briese, Rob Clements, Myron Dorn, Steve Erdman, Mike Flood, Curt Friesen, Suzanne Geist, Tim Gragert, Steve Halloran, Ben Hansen, Mike Hilgers, Robert Hilkemann, Dan Hughes, Brett Lindstrom, Lou Ann Linehan, John Lowe, Mike McDonnell, Mike Moser, Dave Murman, Rich Pahls, Rita Sanders, Julie Slama, John Stinner, and Matt Williams.
A copy of the resolution is attached.
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