Nebraska Legislature adjourns with significant gains for early childhood

Nebraska Legislature

The Nebraska Legislature adjourned sine die Thursday, April 18, ending this year’s 60-day session. First Five Nebraska was fortunate to work with state senators and Governor Pillen to introduce and pass several pieces of early childhood legislation that will positively impact the lives of Nebraska families and children. Included in this list are the following bills:

LB856, as amended, will allow a child care program to receive subsidy reimbursement for children under the direct care of their own parents who are employed by the program. This is particularly common in smaller programs with limited staff when employees cannot be reasonably kept separate from their own children. The amendment also allows licensed child care providers who meet the subsidy eligibility requirements to enroll their own children in other programs to receive subsidized care.

LB857 offers additional services to mothers receiving Medicaid coverage who are at risk of an adverse birth outcome. Among other components, the bill identifies which mothers are eligible for Prenatal Plus services, offers additional services including targeted case management and allows the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to offer an enhanced payment structure to providers. LB857 sunsets June 30, 2028.

LB874 clarifies a number of state licensing requirements to allow for a more seamless operation of child care and requires a report to the Legislature on licensing regulations promulgated by state agencies. It also standardizes a number of local regulations regarding oversight of child care and provides for consistency in the permissive exemption of property taxes for educational purposes.

LB904 allows the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to determine child care subsidy reimbursements by assessing both market rates and costs of providing care. The bill also establishes the 75th percentile of the market rate as the baseline for subsidy reimbursement. LB1178  was amended into LB904.

LB1178 creates the Intergenerational Care Facility Incentive Grant Program that allows eligible applicants to make capital improvements and purchase materials or equipment necessary to co-locate child care programs with nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

LB1124, which was amended into the budget bill, LB1412, appropriates $900K per year over two fiscal years from the Medicaid Managed Care Excess Profit Fund to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for evidence-based early intervention home visiting programs. 

LB1125, also amended into the budget bill, LB1412, appropriates $500K from the Medicaid Managed Care Excess Profit Fund to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for evidence-based early intervention nurse home visiting programs.

LB1416 creates the Child Care Capacity Building and Workforce Grant Program and the Family Child Care Home Grant Program to support the child care workforce, child care programs and working families. AM3104, which amended LB1416 to LB164, removes funding provisions for the original bill.

Now that the legislative session is over, policymakers are focused on interim studies, the May primary and November general election, and next year’s 109th legislative session.

Thank you to departing senators
This session, there were 13 term-limited state senators and two senators who decided not to run for re-election. Senator Joni Albrecht (Dist. 17), Senator Carol Blood (Dist. 3), Senator Bruce Bostelman (Dist. 23), Senator Tom Brewer (Dist. 43), Senator Steve Erdman (Dist. 47), Senator Steve Halloran (Dist. 33), Senator Lou Ann Linehan (Dist. 39), Senator John Lowe (Dist. 37), Senator Mike McDonnell (Dist. 5), Senator Tony Vargas (Dist. 7), Senator Lynne Walz (Dist. 15), Senator Justin Wayne (Dist. 13), Senator Anna Wishart (Dist. 27), Senator Fred Meyer (Dist. 41) and Senator Julie Slama (Dist. 1) will be missed. First Five Nebraska thanks them for their years of dedication and service to the great state of Nebraska.

The 109th Nebraska Legislature will convene Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2025. As always, First Five Nebraska will continue to work with the Legislature to promote sound, fiscally responsible policies that promote quality early learning experiences for children in Nebraska.

Learn more about First Five Nebraska’s priority legislation


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