NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Health and Human Services Committee

NEW PUBLIC HEARING PROTOCOLS
January 22nd, 2021

Public Hearings—How to share your views with senators

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 considered and 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.

 

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 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 for Public Hearings during the 2021 Session:

As part of the Nebraska Legislature’s procedural modifications in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, during the 2021 Session, the standing committees will be accepting submitted written testimony for public hearings on a bill or resolution when the following specific procedures outlined below are met.

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, 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 emailed to the committee’s email account at hhspl@leg.ne.gov by 12:00 p.m. CST on the last work day 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 at hhspl@leg.ne.gov.

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:

In order to facilitate public input on legislation, 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 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 his or her 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.

 

LR 410 will begin at 1:30 P.M., with LR 422 beginning immediately thereafter.

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Wednesday, December 16, 1:30 P.M. 

LR 410 (HHS Committee) – Interim study to provide continued oversight of and updates regarding the contract between the Dept. of Health and Human Services and St. Francis Ministries for child welfare case management services

LR 422 (Arch) – Interim study to examine the modifications made to child welfare policies and practices during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020

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Due to health and safety concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic and technological constraints, invited testifiers only will be participating via teleconference.

If you have not been invited to testify, but would like to submit written testimony, please email sshaffer@leg.ne.gov one day prior to the hearing.

A direct link to the livestream of the hearing will be available here, and through NET’s website, found here.

The briefings will begin at 9:00 A.M. and proceed in the following order:

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Wednesday, December 16, 9:00 A.M. 

Office of Inspector General Child Welfare Briefing

Foster Care Review Office Briefing

Foster Care Rate Review Study/Nebraska Children’s Commission Briefing

___________________________________________________________________________

Due to health and safety concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic and technological constraints, invited testifiers only will be participating via teleconference.

A direct link to the livestream of the hearing will be available here, and through NET’s website, found here.

The briefing will begin at 1:30 P.M, followed directly by the hearing on LR 406.

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Tuesday, December 15, 1:30 P.M.

Senator Stinner Briefing Health and Human Services Committee on COVID-19’s impact on early childhood issues (Appropriations LR 390)

LR 406 (HHS) – Interim study to examine issues within the jurisdiction of the Health and Human Services Committee (Relating to COVID-19)

___________________________________________________________________________

Due to health and safety concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic and technological constraints, invited testifiers only will be participating via teleconference.

If you have not been invited to testify, but would like to submit written testimony, please email sshaffer@leg.ne.gov one day prior to the hearing.

A direct link to the livestream of the hearing will be available here, and through NET’s website, found here.

Hearing will begin at 10:00 A.M.

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Tuesday, December 15, 10:00 A.M.

LR 445 (Stinner) – Interim study to update data and review the potential impact on the state behavioral health system by expanding access to prescribing psychologists

___________________________________________________________________________

Due to health and safety concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic and technological constraints, invited testifiers only will be participating via teleconference.

If you have not been invited to testify, but would like to submit written testimony, please email sshaffer@leg.ne.gov one day prior to the hearing.

A direct link to the livestream of the hearing will be available here, and through NET’s website, found here.

LR 424 will begin at 2:00 P.M., with LR 348 beginning immediately thereafter.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2:00 P.M. 

LR 424 (Vargas) – Interim study to conduct a comprehensive review of maternal and child mortality 

LR 348 (Lindstrom) –  Interim study to examine service animal fraud and emotional support animal fraud

___________________________________________________________________________

Due to health and safety concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic and technological constraints, invited testifiers only will be participating via teleconference.

If you have not been invited to testify, but would like to submit written testimony, please email sshaffer@leg.ne.gov one day prior to the hearing.

This post will be updated with a recording of the hearings when they become available.

A recording of the hearing for LR 424 may be found here.

A recording of the hearing for LR 348 may be found here.

This joint hearing with the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee will begin at 1:30 P.M.

__________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, December 8, 1:30 P.M.

LR 350 (Arch) –  Interim study to examine the role of telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020

___________________________________________________________________________

Due to health and safety concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic and technological constraints, invited testifiers only will be participating via teleconference.

If you have not been invited to testify, but would like to submit written testimony, please email sshaffer@leg.ne.gov one day prior to the hearing.

This post will be updated with a recording of the hearing when it becomes available.

A recording of the hearing for LR 350 may be found here.

Hearing will begin at 10:00 A.M.

__________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, December 8, 10:00 A.M.

LR 404 (Morfeld) –  Interim study to provide continued oversight of and updates regarding the execution and administration of medicaid expansion by the Dept. of Health and Human Services 

___________________________________________________________________________

Due to health and safety concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic and technological constraints, invited testifiers only will be participating via teleconference.

If you have not been invited to testify, but would like to submit written testimony, please email sshaffer@leg.ne.gov one day prior to the hearing.

This post will be updated with a recording of the hearing when it becomes available.

A recording of the hearing for LR 404 may be found here.

Watch Health and Human Services Committee confirmation hearing

Hearing will begin at 2:00 P.M.

Due to health and safety concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic appointees will be participating via teleconference.

Friday, May 29th, 2:00 p.m.:
Ben Iske, Rural Health Advisory Commission
Dr. Sandra Torres, Rural Health Advisory Commission

Friday, May 29th, 2:30 p.m.:
Dr. Rui Yi, Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee
Daniel Rosenthal, State Board of Health
Carolyn Petersen, Board of EMS

Testimony regarding the appointments will be allowed at a later date, to be announced.

Watch Health and Human Services Committee confirmation hearing

Due to health and safety concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic appointees will be participating via teleconference.

Wednesday May 27, 9:00 a.m.:
Marty Fattig, Rural Health Advisory Commission
Dr. Lynette Kramer, Rural Health Advisory Commission
Jessye Goertz, Rural Health Advisory Commission
April Dexter, Rural Health Advisory Commission

Testimony regarding the appointments will be allowed at a later date, to be announced.

Committee Members
  • Sen. John Arch, Chairperson
  • Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh
  • Sen. Jen Day
  • Sen. Ben Hansen
  • Sen. Dave Murman
  • Sen. Lynne Walz
  • Sen. Matt Williams
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