Policy Priorities

Count on us to help keep you informed about policies that affect our youngest Nebraskans.

Nebraska Early Childhood Legislation

Informed citizens and advocates play an important role in Nebraska’s political process. First Five Nebraska monitors and reports on legislation in the Unicameral related to the care and education of young children. This includes policy developments affecting child care, the early childhood workforce, economic development, maternal and child health, prenatal-to-age-3, K-3 education and a wide range of related issues.

2022 Policy Priorities

The second session of the 107th Nebraska Legislature convened January 5. A considerable number of bills introduced or carried over to this session affect the care and development of young children, strengthening the early childhood professional workforce and related issues. First Five Nebraska has identified the following as priority pieces of legislation for the 2022 Session.

LB137 (Carryover) | Require reporting to the Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System (NECPRS)
  • Introducer: Senator Tony Vargas (District 7)
  • Summary: Requires all licensed child care professionals to report educational degrees, professional training and work history to the Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System (NECPRS) beginning Sept. 1, 2022.
  • Status: General File
  • Resources: FFN Testimony (2021)
LB531 [Carryover] | Adopt the Nebraska Child Care Contribution Tax Credit Act
  • Introducer: Senator Tom Briese (District 41)
  • Summary: This bill will enable taxpaying individuals and businesses to claim a nonrefundable income tax credit for qualifying contributions that promote quality child care programs in Nebraska. The tax credit program will be available from Jan. 1, 2022 to Jan. 1, 2027; $15 million will be available for each taxable year.
  • Status: In Revenue Committee
  • Resources: FFN Policy Brief (2021)
LB702 (Amended into LB730)| Reauthorize the School Readiness Tax Credit
  • Introducer: Senator Matt Williams (District 36)
  • Summary: Reauthorizes the School Readiness Tax Credit for an additional five years, offering a nonrefundable tax credit to eligible child care providers and a refundable tax credit to eligible child care employees.
  • Status: Revenue Committee amended LB702 into LB730, a Committee priority bill on General File, the first round of debate.
  • Resources: FFN Policy Brief  |  FFN Testimony
LB741 | Provide for review of stillbirths under the Child and Maternal Death Review Act [Governor signed into law]
  • Introducer: Senator Wendy DeBoer (District 10)
  • Summary: Allows for sharing of data related to stillbirths in Nebraska. Fetal deaths were inadvertently omitted when revisions to the Maternal and Child Death Review Team were passed in 2013.
  • Status: LB741 is Senator Tony Vargas’s (District 7) priority bill. Passed by senators; presented to the Governor for his signature April 12. Governor signed into law April 18.
  • Resources: FFN Testimony
LB758 | Include early childhood programs in the Farm-to-School Program [Governor signed into law]
  • Introducer: Senator Tom Brandt (District 32)
  • Summary: LB758 adds early childhood programs to the Nebraska Farm-to-School program, allowing them access to fresh, minimally processed food from local farms as well as educational activities.
  • Status: Governor signed into law 3.3.22
  • Resources: FFN Testimony
LB782 | Increase funding for the Nebraska Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPQIC)
  • Introducer: Senator Tony Vargas (District 7)
  • Summary: Allocates an additional $130,000 in state funding to the Nebraska Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPQIC), a leader in addressing critical issues for Nebraska mothers and babies.
  • Status: The Appropriations Committee heard LB1131 on 3.1.22. The bill is in committee.
  • Resources: FFN Testimony

 

LB838 | Health care benefits for child care providers
  • Introducer: Senator Mark Kolterman (District 24)
  • Summary: Lack of benefits—including health care coverage—is a major obstacle to attracting and retaining talent in Nebraska’s early childhood professional workforce. Under LB838, eligible licensed child care professionals would have access to health care coverage options through a fund established at the Nebraska Dept. of Education.
  • Status: In Education Committee. A second hearing, for AM1889, was held 2.22.22.
  • Resources: FFN Testimony | FFN Testimony on AM1889
LB854 (Amended into LB1173) | Require intra-agency notice within Department of Health and Human Services in certain cases of alleged out-of-home child abuse or neglect [Governor signed LB1173 into law]
  • Introducer: Senator Jen Day (District 49)
  • Summary: Requires Nebraska Dept. of Health and Human Services to notify the director of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health Licensure Unit of any alleged cases of out-of-home child abuse or neglect by a licensed child care provider. The notification will include whether an investigation is being undertaken by law enforcement of the department. In addition, Senator Day has introduced an interim resolution (LR266) to examine Nebraska’s processes relating to investigation of reports of child abuse or neglect in licensed child care facilities.
  • Status: Amended into LB1173 under AM1959. LB1173 is a child welfare omnibus bill that has been designated a Health and Human Services Committee priority; on Final Reading. Governor signed into law April 19.
  • Resources: FFN Testimony
LB865 | Change provisions relating to reimbursement for child care and state intent to appropriate federal funds [Governor signed into law]
  • Introducer: Senator Wendy DeBoer (District 10)
  • Summary: Appropriates American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the Nebraska Dept. of Health and Human Services to set child care reimbursement rates at the 75th percentile as determined by the market rate survey for FY2022-23 and FY2023-24.
  • Status: LB865 was included in a committee amendment to LB1011, the mainline budget bill. Governor signed the bill April 4, but returned line-item vetoes on some of the proposals.
  • Resources: FFN Letter of Support
LB868 | Change provisions relating to a classification system administered by the State Department of Education
LB890 | Change the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Act (TEEOSA)
  • Introducer: Senator Lynne Walz (District 15)
  • Summary: Changes the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act (TEEOSA), including increasing state aid reimbursement for children in qualifying preschool programs from 60% to 100%.
  • Status: On General File | Education Committee priority bill
  • Resources: FFN Testimony
LB905 | Provide for perinatal / maternal depression screenings [Governor signed into law]
  • Introducer: Senator Lynne Walz (District 15)
  • Summary: Recommends maternal depression screenings during the perinatal period and at well-child visits during a baby’s first year. Nebraska is one of seven states with nothing in statute regarding maternal depression screenings.
  • Status: Passed by senators; presented to the Governor for his signature April 12. Governor signed into law April 18.
  • Resources: FFN Testimony |  Blog post
LB929 | Extend postpartum health care coverage for new mothers
  • Introducer: Senator Anna Wishart (District 27)
  • Summary: Requires the Nebraska Dept. of Health and Human Services to seek federal approval for matching Medicare and Medicaid funds to extend postpartum coverage for beneficiaries from 60 days to 12 months.
  • Status: In Health and Human Services Committee
  • Resources: FFN Testimony
LB1014 Appropriate federal ARPA funds
  • Introducer: Speaker Mike Hilgers (District 21)
  • Summary: Appropriate federal to the State of Nebraska pursuant to the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
  • Status: Presented to the Governor for his signature April 7 with AM2580 which allocates $4 million to Nebraska communities to establish and/or expand child care.
LB1024 | Appropriate federal funds for the North Omaha Recovery Grant Program
  • Introducer: Senator Justin Wayne (District 13)
  • Summary: Appropriates federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to create the North Omaha Recovery Grant Program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Child care components include forgivable loans to support new and existing child care businesses and stipends to help defray child care costs for individuals who participate in job training. A portion of the requested funding was included in LB1014, the state’s ARPA funding bill.
  • Status: Passed by senators; presented to the Governor for his signature April 12.
  • Resources: FFN Testimony
LB1107 | Allow providers to bill for up to 5 absent days per month for children served through the Subsidy
  • Introducer: Senator Jen Day (District 49)
  • Summary: Codifies current regulations that allow child care providers to bill for up to five absent days a month for children served through the child care subsidy. It’s intended to stabilize providers’ monthly income and support care for children who face obstacles to healthy development.
  • Status:  Health and Human Services Committee heard LB1107 February 23. The bill is currently in Committee.
  • Resources: FFN Testimony
LB1131 | State intent to appropriate federal funds for bonus payments to teachers, child care workers and health care workers
  • Introducer: Senator Adam Morfeld (District 46)
  • Summary: Appropriates federal ARPA funds to provide bonus payments of $1,000 for every Nebraska teacher, child care worker and health care worker.
  • Status: LB1131 was heard on 3.1.22 in the Appropriations Committee. The bill is currently in committee.
  • Resources: FFN Testimony

 

LB1203 | Appropriate federal ARPA funds for child care programs
  • Introducer: Senator Tom Briese (District 41)
  • Summary: Appropriates approximately $100 million of Nebraska’s allocation of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to strengthen multiple aspects of the state’s early childhood system. The bill directs funding to 16 separate initiatives focused on attracting and retaining talent, developing Nebraska’s early childhood professional workforce, increasing child care capacity in areas of need, and other efforts.
  • Status: LB1203 was heard in the Appropriations Committee on 3.1.22. The bill is in committee.
  • Resources: FFN Press Release  |  FFN Testimony  |  FFN Policy Brief