by Adam Feser, First Five Nebraska Policy Advisor
The 2nd session of the 106th Nebraska Legislature resumes Monday, July 20, with safety measures in place providing for social distancing and reduced contact due to COVID-19. The Legislature suspended its session in March because of the public health emergency.
Seventeen legislative days remain in the session, leaving senators little time to negotiate property tax relief, business development tax incentives and state support for the University of Nebraska Medical Center expansion project. Looming over everything is the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The expected revenue loss means many bills that were likely to pass prior to the pandemic now face an uncertain future.
LB266, First Five Nebraska’s top priority, is one of those bills. LB266 fixes statutory language to allow family child care home providers and S corporations to access the School Readiness Tax Credit. The intent of the original legislation was that these providers receive the tax credit, and FFN continues work to pass LB266.
FFN supports LB837, a bill requiring the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to maximize federal funding to help child care providers pay for background checks. LB837 was amended into LB1185, a bill requiring any license-exempt child care provider to meet federal background check standards, which FFN also supports. LB1185 is on Select File, the second round of debate, and is one of Speaker Jim Scheer’s 25 priority bills. FFN is hopeful there will be time to pass this important legislation.
FFN is tracking many other bills that are either in committee or have fiscal notes, making their advancement unlikely. Bills can still be voted out of committee and amended into other bills, however, so be sure to follow First Five Nebraska’s Nebraska Legislation and blog pages for updates on legislation important to early childhood.
Two interim studies
Legislative resolutions calling for interim studies must be introduced by the 50th day of the session, which is July 28, in even-numbered years. FFN has helped develop language for interim studies looking into financing for Nebraska’s child care system, and Early Development Network services for children ages 0-3 with a substantiated case of abuse or neglect. We’ll keep the early childhood community updated as these two important studies move forward during the remainder of this year.