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High school students are invited to take on the role of state senators at the Unicameral Youth Legislature from June 12-15. At the State Capitol, students senators will sponsor bills, conduct committee hearings, debate legislation and discover the unique process of the nation’s only unicameral. The Unicameral Youth Legislature gives behind-the-scenes access to students who have an interest in public office, government, politics, law, public policy, debate or public speaking. Students will learn about the inner workings of the Legislature directly from senators and staff.
The Office of the Clerk of the Nebraska Legislature coordinates the Unicameral Youth Legislature. The University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Extension 4-H Youth Development Office coordinates housing and recreation activities as part of the Big Red Summer Camps program. To learn more about the program, go to www.nebraskalegislature.gov/uyl or call 402-471-2788. The registration deadline is May 20th.
CONTACT: Lillian Butler-Hale, Communications Director
Office: (402) 471-2725
Senator Jen Day Designates Disabled Veterans Homestead Exemption Bill as Personal Priority
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[LINCOLN, NE] February 23, 2022 – On Thursday, Senator Jen Day of District 49 designated LB 853 as her personal priority bill for the 2022 legislative session. LB 853 provides for an expansion of the Homestead Exemption to veterans who are at least 50% disabled to 100% disabled due to a service-related disability.
The Nebraska homestead exemption program is a property tax relief program for six categories of homeowners: persons over age 65, veterans totally disabled by a non-service connected accident or illness, qualified disabled individuals, qualified totally disabled veterans and their widows, veterans whose home was substantially contributed to by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and their widows, and individuals who have a developmental disability. If passed, LB853 would expand the fourth definition to include qualified partially disabled veterans of 50% or higher. Currently, Alaska, Illinois, Kansas and Vermont include this definition in their homestead exemptions.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to introduce LB853 this session and am grateful to Chairwoman Linehan and members of the Revenue Committee for advancing it. I believe we must always be striving to do better for our veterans and am proud of this bill for being a part of that effort,” said Senator Day.
When this legislation comes up for debate on General File, it will be debated by the full body for the first time in a long while.
“The DAV is extremely grateful to Senator Day for introducing LB853 and for selecting it as a priority bill. LB853 would grant a partial homestead exemption on a sliding scale for veterans with a disability rating of 50 to 90 percent for approximately 15,500 of Nebraska’s 46,000 disabled veterans,” said Jim Shuey, Benefits Protection Team Leader of the Disabled American Veterans of Nebraska and a long-time advocate for this legislation. “Its passage will no doubt help in the retention of veterans residing in Nebraska and will further its reputation as a veteran-friendly state. This has been a DAV priority for several years now and we look forward to seeing its passage.”
The bill was heard on January 21st before the Revenue Committee and advanced unanimously. Updates on the bill will be posted on the Nebraska Legislature website.
Senator Jen Day of District 49 represents north-central Sarpy County, including the areas of Chalco, western Papillion and La Vista.
On Wednesday, January 5th the 107th Legislature 2nd Session began. Committee hearings are in now in full swing and we are working away on the 17 bills I introduced this session. Those bill numbers and a short summary of what they will do if passed is included below.
This session is what we call a “short session” which means that it lasts 60 legislative days instead of 90 days. Even-numbered years are always short sessions and odd-numbered years are long sessions. There is a great deal of work to be done over the next few months before we are projected to finish up in late April.
Just like last year, I sit on the Education Committee and Health and Human Services Committee. My focus in the Education Committee is on mental/behavioral health of students and pandemic support for educators. In the Health and Human Services Committee, I hope to see legislation advanced on the topics of disability rights, mental health and health care expansion and accessibility.
I am proud of the work that we did as an office over the interim, communicating with constituents about concerns and brainstorming bill ideas and language. One bill that I’m particularly passionate about this year is LB 854 which requires the director of the Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health be notified of alleged out-of-home child abuse or neglect by a childcare provider or staff member. The idea for this bill arose last spring after conversations with a handful of parents whose children attended Rosewood Academy. Our LB854 Fact Sheet that my legislative aide put together can be found here and even more info is linked here.
Below are the rest of the bills I introduced this session. As my office creates fact sheets and the bills progress I will update this page. More frequent updates can be found on my Twitter and Facebook.
LB 770 (LB770 Fact Sheet) changes membership on the Board of Dentistry to include one licensed dental assistant and one public member.
LB 771 (LB771 Fact Sheet) provides for the regulation of electric bicycles, something that has been done in surrounding states but not yet in Nebraska.
LB 772 (LB 772 Fact Sheet) prohibits healthcare providers from referring bills for injuries arising from sexual assault, domestic assault or child abuse to a collection agency.
LB 852 (LB852 Fact Sheet) requires behavioral health points of contact for school districts.
LB 853 (LB853 Fact Sheet) provides a homestead exemption for certain disabled veterans, with percentage of benefit equivalent to percentage or disability.
LB 855 (LB855 Fact Sheet) amends statute to include rural health clinic services and federally qualified health center services (FQHCs).
LB 856 (LB855 Fact Sheet) provides for partnering organizations under the Aging and Disability Resource Center Act. A partnering organization can contract with an area agency on aging or with DHHS.
LB 857 (LB857 Fact Sheet) ensures that children receiving SNAP benefits do not need to submit separate applications for Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).
LB 888 (LB888 Fact Sheet) redefines multicultural education for school districts to include the Holocaust and other acts of genocide. Former Senator Sara Howard brought this bill in 2019 but it did not make it out of the Education Committee despite bipartisan support.
LB 997 (LB997 Fact Sheet) creates a standardized screening for autism prior to starting school.
LB 1104 (LB1104 Fact Sheet) expands access to emergency services by ensuring that those services are accessible by those with disabilities.
LB 1105 (LB1105 Fact Sheet) creates license plates for autism inclusion and raises funds for nonprofit organizations.
LB 1106 (LB1106 Fact Sheet) designates school psychologists as Medicaid-approved providers in order to expand access to mental/behavioral health care for students.
LB 1107 (LB1107 Fact Sheet) allows a child care provider to bill the full authorized amount for times that a child is absent under the Federal Child Care Subsidy program.
LB 1108 extends authority to Sanitary and Improvement Districts (SIDs) to enact ordinances that could regulate fireworks.
LB 1202 (LB1202 Fact Sheet) provides for the utilization of $5M of Nebraska’s $1B ARPA allocation to assist the Omaha Storm Chasers and Union Omaha.
Have an idea for a bill, a concern or a question about legislation? I’d love to hear from you! You can give us a call at 402-471-2725 or reach out by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONTACT: Lillian Butler-Hale, Communications Director
Office: (402) 471-2725 email@example.com
New Report Highlights Challenges in Providing Mental and Behavioral Health Care in Nebraska Schools
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[LINCOLN, NE] January 3, 2022 – Nebraska faces a shortage of mental and behavioral health services in schools, while student demand for these services has steadily increased, according to a new report published by the Nebraska School Psychologists Association. These shortages are exacerbated by a lack of access to school-based mental health professionals. Currently, only 61.6% of students needing treatment received necessary levels of care (pg 21).
“Mental and behavioral health impacts every aspect of a child’s life inside and outside of school. School based services provide access to effective interventions for students and collaborative partnerships with the adults in the lives of children that support healthy growth and learning,” said Katie Bevins of the Nebraska School Psychologists Association. “School psychologists have unique training to provide these comprehensive services; however, there are simply not enough of us to meet the growing needs of our students. As a practicing school psychologist, I see the impact every day in my work.”
The report was published as part of LR213, an interim study introduced by Senator Jen Day to examine the mental and behavioral health needs of Nebraska students.
In the upcoming session, Senator Day will be introducing legislation to address the shortage of mental health professionals in schools, “We’re currently experiencing a youth mental health crisis and that combined with the already existing shortage of providers in Nebraska underscores the importance of acting now to get kids the care they need,” said Senator Day. “Making sure our schools are adequately staffed with behavioral health professionals who understand the unique circumstances facing students these days is the first step.”
Findings in the LR213 report include:
Challenges related to a shortage of mental health professionals
During the 2019-20 school year, Nebraska had a ratio of 987 students to 1 school psychologist (987:1), nearly double the recommended ratio for 500 students to 1 school psychologist (pg 27).
Challenges related to state Medicaid regulations
Nebraska is one of only 15 states where school psychologists are not a Medicaid approved provider, which prevents schools from being able to be reimbursed for school psychological services provided for Medicaid eligible students (pg 15). The lack of Medicaid reimbursement for eligible services provided by school psychologists has created challenges in financing for mental health services in Nebraska schools.
Among the solutions offered in the report include changing the Nebraska Medicaid State Plan to add school psychologists on the approved provider list (pg 17), a comprehensive internship or loan forgiveness program to increase Nebraska’s school psychology workforce (pg 19), and allowing school psychologists to apply for provisional licensed mental health provider (PLMHP) credential (pg 16).
The report will be hosted on Senator Day’s legislative page, which can be accessed at: http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist49/files/2022/01/LR213-Data-Report.pdf
Senator Jen Day of District 49 represents north-central Sarpy county, including the areas of Chalco, western Papillion and La Vista.
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