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We had such an exciting week at the Legislature. We had many long, but worthwhile, nights and accomplished a lot. I was ecstatic to spend this Easter weekend with my family and hope that everyone enjoyed their Easter with loved ones as well.
On Tuesday, March 27th, the Business and Labor Committee approved amendments for Senator Ebke’s LB 791, Change Nebraska State Patrol employees’ bargaining rights, and voted to advance the bill to General File for debate. LB 791 is a bill to provide transparency and accountability in law enforcement and was chosen to be a Business and Labor Committee Priority Bill. It is expected that we will debate the bill early next week.
My 2018 Priority Bill, LB 1040 Provide for certificates of nonviable birth, was debated on the floor Tuesday and Wednesday nights. LB 1040 is a bill to help grieving families by creating an optional, commemorative certificate for mothers who lose a pregnancy prior to 20 weeks gestation. Following in the footsteps of Florida, this certificate allows mothers to acknowledge their loss by receiving an authentic certificate from the Department of Health and Human Services, something the Department already does for pregnancies that are lost at or after 20 weeks. This certificate has no legal standing and is simply a commemorative certificate of nonviable birth to help mothers and families through the healing process after experiencing a pregnancy loss. During debate, Senators Geist, Brasch, and Thibodeau bravely shared their stories of or experiences with pregnancy loss and I cannot thank them enough. I am proud that the bill passed General File with a 36 – 1 vote and advanced to Select File. I am thankful to have a part in helping women and families gain validation and recognition for their losses.
After multiple days of debate, the budget bill LB 944 finally passed Select File Wednesday night. Senators had been working around the clock to craft an amendment that would address concerns some senators had brought up during debate. The amendment slightly adjusted language in the original budget regarding Title X, pulling language from federal law and other states to ensure that women will not lose access to health care, while ensuring that no funds are used for abortion services. While Title X funds have always been intended to be kept separate and distinct from abortion-related activities, this new provision will provide accountability and ensure that this is the case. I am proud that Nebraska continued to prove that we are a pro-life state, and that we were able to pass a budget that addresses the current revenue shortfall we are facing.
Thursday morning, March 29th, Senator Brasch motioned to place her priority bill, LB 1069 Change provisions related to the Committee on Americanism, on to General File. Typically, bills are voted on by committee members and then moved to General File for debate in the full Legislature. Sometimes when a bill does not have support to come out of committee, senators may motion to have the bill pulled on the floor if they believe that the bill deserves to have a full debate on the legislative floor. LB 1069 requires that the committee on Americanism hold no fewer than three public meetings annually and ensure social studies curriculum adequately stresses American values that give students the opportunity to become competent, responsible, patriotic, and civil citizens. I supported LB 1069 and Senator Brasch’s motion to move the bill to General File, her motion prevailed and we expect to debate the bill next week.
Live coverage of the full session of the Unicameral is also available at www.netnebraska.org/capitol
I want to encourage my constituents to reach out to me at 402-471-2716, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to write me at:
Senator Joni Albrecht
State Capitol, Room 2010
PO Box 94604
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4604
I take into consideration every letter, email, and phone call my office receives when I consider legislation. I truly value your input and suggestions on the issues before the Legislature. It is of great importance that I hear from you in order to do my job.
I look forward to hearing from you!