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John Arch

Sen. John Arch

District 14

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End of Session 2020
August 17th, 2020

On August 13th, the 2nd session of the 106th Nebraska Legislature adjourned Sine Die.  The session, originally expected to adjourn in April, was delayed from early March until Mid-July due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In the past few months, we have seen a health emergency with societal and economic consequences unparalleled by modern events, the full impact of which we have yet to realize.  In response, the Legislature did meet in a very brief emergency session to appropriate $83.6 million to the governor’s emergency fund specifically for response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  In resuming our session, we returned to our legislative priorities set earlier this year, with an outlook inherently changed by the realities facing our communities, state, nation, and world.  We continued on in a manner responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic and with a forward-thinking mindset for the continued stability and growth of Nebraska.  My obligation, as it has been and will continue to be, is to represent you in our Legislature.

In this session, I introduced twelve legislative bills.  Of those twelve, eleven were passed or amended into other legislation that did pass. Some of the bills I proposed and had passed are:

  • LB837 will require the Department of Health and Human Services to seek available federal funds through the Family First Prevention Services Act to help childcare providers with the cost of federally-mandated fingerprinting and background checks for their employees. This is an important child safety issue as we have seen in the news over the past several years.
  • LB886 is a patient protection bill that will require providers to be clear about their participation in government and commercial programs. It prohibits using the terms “accepts” or “takes” as it relates to insurance unless the provider participates in the network or product. The use of the terms can be very misleading to patients.  They may believe that the provider participates in a network and will, instead, be responsible for the full bill, or higher portion of the bill, if the provider is out of network.
  • LB 1183 will create the Health Information Technology Board to provide very important and necessary oversight for health care data collection. Health information technology has become an integral part of our health-care system, with data giving providers the information needed to best serve their patients and researchers the information necessary to develop protocols to improve health-care outcomes.  An oversight board composed of health-care professionals and data-collection experts will guarantee sensitive data is protected and used appropriately.
  • LB1158 is designed to help adults who apply for Medicaid benefits to improve their employment status and income. This requires DHHS to ask anyone applying for the newly expanded Medicaid program if they would like assistance in career development (finding a job, or better job).  This is the first of what I hope will become a bigger effort of helping those in poverty improve their lives by providing opportunity.

Additionally, the Health and Human Services Committee passed a comprehensive set of bills (LB1144, LB1148, and LB1188) that will provide additional oversight, transparency, and improve the programming of Nebraska’s Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers (YRTC).  I am proud of the work the HHS Committee has taken forward this year and enjoyed my time serving as the Vice-Chair.

In terms of budgetary matters, we have been consistent in our fiscally responsible policies and continued to hold spending down, leaving us the latitude to provide funding for 2019 Flood recovery and COVID-19 Pandemic relief.  Despite the Pandemic resulting in a downturn of our budgetary outlook, we were able to pass a major legislative package, LB1107.  LB1107 provides performance-based incentives for Nebraska business development, funding for the UNMC NExT Project (which is expected to have an economic impact of $7.6 billion on Nebraska’s economy), and gives taxpayers much-needed property tax relief in the form of refundable income tax credits. In addition to the tax relief provided for in LB 1107, we also successfully passed LB 153, allowing our military retirees to exempt a portion of their retirement from state income tax starting in tax year 2022.

Over the legislative interim, I will be considering my legislative agenda for the next session and will be conducting studies on how the COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted our use of Telehealth with respect to the delivery of health care services and child welfare services. Though the 107th Nebraska Legislature doesn’t begin until January, you are always welcome to share your thoughts by sending me an email at or calling my office at (402) 471-2730.   Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you in the Unicameral Legislature.

Sen. John Arch

Sen. John Arch

Speaker of the Legislature
Room 2103
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2730
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