The first session of the 108th Nebraska Legislature adjourned sine die on June 1, two legislative days earlier than the scheduled 90-day session. The volume of legislation hit near-historic highs with more than 800 measures introduced amid controversial topics, sparking month-long procedural delays and divisive debate. Despite these challenges, the Legislature passed a $10.7 billion biennium budget that kept existing early childhood funding lines intact, implemented tax relief measures and increased investments in education. In total, Nebraska lawmakers passed 291 pieces of legislation this session, with the remaining bills to be carried over to next year.
Key themes this session focused on improving maternal health outcomes, alleviating financial pressures on parents and child care providers and strengthening availability and access to child care. We commend lawmakers for voting unanimously in support of LB227, an important bill that expands Medicaid postpartum coverage to at least 6 months, leverages maternal morbidity data to improve prevention efforts and extends the less-restrictive family income eligibility requirements for the child care subsidy to 2026.
We also thank members of the Legislature for supporting LB754. This tax reform bill incorporates a historic child care tax credit bill that will benefit families with children in care, child care professionals and programs. It will also encourage private sector contributions to help build local child care infrastructure, especially in communities facing significant economic challenges.
Legislation addressing home visiting, child care expansion grants, early childhood workforce development and child abuse complaint tracking that did not advance this year will carry over to the 2024 session.
First Five Nebraska worked closely with several senators to introduce legislative resolutions for four upcoming interim studies:
- LR151 (Senator Wendy DeBoer, District 10) Examine the results of the Nebraska Child Care Cost Model developed through the Preschool Development Grant.
- LR154 (Senator Jen Day, District 49) Examine Nebraska’s maternal care deserts.
- LR191 (Senator Teresa Ibach, District 44) Examine the process for conducting the statutorily required fingerprint-based national criminal history record information check for the child care workforce.
- LR251 (Senator Robert Dover, District 19) Explore the development of registered apprenticeship program sponsors within Nebraska’s education system for early childhood care and education.
First Five Nebraska will publish updates about the interim studies on our website, social media channels and in our monthly newsletter in the months ahead. As always, we look forward to our ongoing work with lawmakers on well-informed policies that promote the healthy development of our youngest children and create opportunity and a stronger quality of life for all Nebraskans.