The 106th Nebraska Legislature has convened for its short, 60-day session, with April 23rd slated as the final day. Many priority issues and carryover bills from last session need to be addressed in this limited time, so it will be a very busy few months.
Property tax relief remains a top priority for nearly all Senators and the Governor. Finding an acceptable solution for all interested parties has proven difficult, and Senators will continue their effort this session. The same is true for LB720, the ImagiNE Nebraska Act, which would create a business development tax-incentive program that would eventually replace the Nebraska Advantage Act. First Five Nebraska supports the bill and testified at its hearing before the Revenue Committee last year. Read FFN's testimony supporting LB720. The time it takes to find resolution on these two issues will largely dictate how the session goes and how many other bills are heard.
This will be the final session for six term-limited Senators: Sue Crawford (Dist. 45); Sara Howard (Dist. 9); Rick Kolowski (Dist. 31); Jim Scheer (Dist. 19); Kate Bolz (Dist. 29) and Ernie Chambers (Dist. 11).
Early childhood policy
First Five Nebraska is committed to passing LB266, which fixes implementation problems with the School Readiness Tax Credit. This legislation is vital for Nebraska’s family home child care providers and the communities that rely on their important work. LB266 was voted out of the Revenue Committee last session and currently sits on General File. Read FFN's testimony in support of LB266.
First Five Nebraska is also supporting legislation to expand intergenerational care opportunities and income supplements for family home child care providers. These bills, yet to be introduced, represent an opportunity to support early childhood infrastructure, particularly in rural Nebraska. We’re likely to see early childhood workforce supports and child welfare policy among bill topics as well.
Avoiding the ‘cliff effect’
We anticipate there will be additional legislation and conversations around the cliff effect and how it relates to the child care subsidy. The cliff effect is the point at which an individual or family earns enough income that they no longer qualify for a benefit. If policy is not carefully crafted to avoid a cliff, earning more can actually mean a family has less disposable income, which disincentivizes career advancement. Nebraska took steps to address the cliff effect last year with LB341 (read FFN's testimony supporting LB341), which was amended into LB460 and passed.
Legislation to Watch list
Senators have the first 10 days of the session to introduce new legislation. We are identifying bills with potential to affect early childhood and will track them daily on our website’s Nebraska Legislation page, along with bills from last session. We’ll also identify bills of particular interest for our Legislation to Watch list. Other options to stay current with these bills are on our Facebook page, Twitter or via our newsletter.
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