The past two weeks at the legislature have been a whirlwind and it’s set to continue. With 812 legislative bills and 31 legislative resolutions/constitutional amendments introduced, the unicameral has its work cutout. In Nebraska, every bill receives a hearing. This is where our job starts. Because we have a unicameral, the only one in the country, everyday Nebraskans are the second house. Our job is to weigh in on these important issues and let lawmakers know how these policies will impact our families, people we serve and our communities.
There were 58 rules changes submitted to the Rules Committee for a hearing that lasted nine hours. Only a handful of these rules advanced out of committee to be debated by the full legislature. At the end of the debate, there were eight rules changes adopted and unanimous support to approve the permanent rules.
Bill hearings are being scheduled. There will be two weeks of full day hearings from January 30th through February 10th. The committees only have to give a 7 day notice of when bill hearings are scheduled. You can stay up to date by checking the bill hearing schedules or sign up for our Advocacy Alerts to get up to date action alerts and information.
What’s Happening This Week?
The Judiciary Committee meets on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Friday each week in Room 1113 on the first floor of the capitol. This week is where RISE’s focus will be for hearings.
Bills that address the legislation that did not pass last year in the Criminal Justice Reinvestment bill LB920, will be heard on Wednesday at 1:30pm. LBs 50 (Geist), 352 (Wayne), and 432 (McKinney). LB50 brings all of the policy recommendations that the task force agreed upon. LB352 adds all of the policies dealing with sentencing restructuring, expanding parole for the geriatric population, but it also adds in new language to focus on using problem solving courts not only for pretrial diversion but also as a response to technical parole violations.
LB432 addresses all the policy recommendations from last year, but also adds new language around the Second Look Act which would provide individuals with an opportunity for resentencing or sentence reduction after serving a certain amount of time on their sentence.
If you want to testify on any of these bills and cannot make it in person, remember you can submit an online comment by Tuesday, January 31st at 12pm CT to have it included as part of the hearing record.
An ADA accommodation of public hearing written testimony has been established for qualified individuals with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A qualified individual can find this online submission link by going to the Hearing Schedule link and clicking on the ADA Accommodation Testimony button for the bill of interest. These testimonies must be submitted by 12pm Central Time on the last work day prior to the public hearing.
Turning Empathy into Action
Our 4th Annual Day of Empathy has been set! Join us on Friday, February 24th from 9:30a to 1:30p to create awareness and share information with our state senators about the impacts that introduced legislation has on the lives of justice-involved people. Influencing legislation with your voice and presence is critical in creating positive change. Register here by February 17th to join us for an impactful day at the Nebraska Legislature.