The bills we’re watching this week are all about implementing health care reform and pipeline oversight. To view the full schedule of bills that have hearings this week, check out the official schedule on the Unicameral’s website.
If you’re interested in what bills Bold is watching, our “Bill Roundup” covers lots more energy, accountability and healthy communities bills. You can go on the Bill Roundup page and get details on all the bills we are tracking, the ones below are for this week only.
You can watch the hearings online (just go to the linked site and then at the time of the hearing choose the proper room #).
You can also follow us on twitter as we live tweet the bills.
If you plan on testifying in person, bring 12 copies of your written testimony and keep your testimony to 3 minutes.
LB 835–“Nebraska-Run Insurance Exchanges”
Hearing: Tues, Feb. 21st, 1:30pm, Room 1507
As part of the Affordable Care Act, states are encouraged to set up their own exchanges where citizens can shop for health insurance. If states do not implement their own exchangs, citizens are referred to a national health exchange run by national, not local, institutions. Governor Heineman has already accepted $6 million to research setting up a Nebraska exchange and said he does not want to give the Feds control, however he is telling state senators he does not want to implement a state-based exchange? Double-Talk Dave strikes again. We support this bill!
Action: Contact members of the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee in advance, letting them know you support a Nebraska-controlled exchange.
LB 756–“Siting Pipeline with Transparency”
Hearing: Wed, Feb 22nd, 1:30pm, Room 1525
Avery’s bill would require that the Public Service Commission not withold any documents from the public (with a few exceptions on national security) during the pipeline siting process. This is a great sunshine bill. We support this bill!
Action: Contact the Natural Resources Committee in advance to let them know you support transparency in the pipeline siting process.
LB 1044–“PSC Creates Pipeline Rules and Hires Local Control”
Hearing: Wed, Feb 22nd, 1:30pm, Room 1525
Under Haar’s bill, the Public Service Commission would be able to hire pipeline safety inspectors to enforce federal and state law. Having state-hired inspectors that report to a state agency gives us more local control. Thanks to current national law, the Feds pick up 80% of the cost through this partnership program. We support this bill!
Action: Contact the Natural Resources Committee in advance to let them know you support Nebraska having more local control over pipeline safety inspections.
LB 712–“Your Birth, Your Way”
Hearing: Wed, Feb 22nd, 1:30pm, Room 1510
Right now, Nebraska is one of two states that do not allow Certified Nurse Midwives to attend homebirths. Physicians are allowed to attend homebirths, but most do not want to. Nebraska women deserve safe options to have our babies the way we choose. We support this bill!
Action: Contact the HHS Commitee in advance and tell them Nebraskans deserve to choose how they give birth.
LB 753–“Pop Is Not Food”
Hearing: Wed, Feb 22nd, 1:30pm, Room 1524
Senator Avery’s bill would revoke the free ride sugary drinks have gotten in our state. Right now pop and energy drinks are exempt from sales tax because they’re considered food. Reclassifying soda as a drink and not food would bring in $11 million that Avery would divert to preventing obesity in Nebraska. We support this bill!
Action: Contact the Revenue Committee in advance and let them know you support revoking pop’s free ride.
LB 912–“Stop Equal Protection Ordinances”
Hearing: Wed, Feb 22nd, 1:30pm, Room 1113
Omaha and Lincoln are both making big strides to include LGBT people in their employment non-discrimination protections. Senator McCoy is trying to stop this progress with his bill that says discrimination policy can only be set by the state. We thought conservatives like McCoy loved local control? We oppose this bill!
Action: Contact the Judiciary Committee in advance and let them know you support cities and towns’ right to expand discrimination protections.