Press, Revenue, Medicaid

Press Round Up

ICYMI: Last week, there was an incident causing the Speaker of the Legislature to stand up “on the floor” and defend the Unicameral, its members, and its traditions in light of some comments made by another Senator.  Both the OWH  and the LJS  covered the unusual event. You won’t find a link to the originally “authored” op-ed in this blog, but it is available online.

Revenue Defense

During the LB 959 hearing in the Education Committee, Governor Ricketts touted the bill as “cattle farmer common sense” while school officials and teachers lined up against the property tax plan. LB 959 was introduced by Senator Sullivan on behalf of the Governor. It is the sister bill to Senator Gloor’s LB 958 in the Revenue Committee, also introduced on the Governor’s behalf.

Medicaid Expansion

Nearly 40 testifiers went to the LB 1032 hearing to make the case for Medicaid expansion in front of the Health and Human Services Committee on February 10th. LB 1032 was introduced by Senator McCollister and is the latest attempt at passing a form of Medicaid Expansion. The hearing kicked-off in an unusual way with the Chair of the Committee reading a paragraph from the bill’s fiscal note into the microphone. She read this excerpt from the original fiscal note:

“Rule 5 Section 7(h) which states: ‘If after investigation, it is determined that no dollar estimate is possible, the fiscal note shall contain a statement to that effect, setting forth the reasons why no dollar amount can be given.’ A definitive fiscal note is not possible at this time due to the late delivery of the agency fiscal note and supporting documentation. A fiscal note will be supplied at a later date once information is fully analyzed.”

The Legislative Fiscal Office is tasked with putting together a fiscal note for every bill that is introduced. The Fiscal Note has an estimate of the fiscal impact of the Legislation to the state, and sometimes includes costs to political subdivisions like cities. The fiscal analysts work hard to estimate the fiscal impact or cost for each bill, using their own knowledge, the bill language, and estimates received from the state agency or agencies where the jurisdiction of the legislation falls.

In the case of LB 1032, the Department of Health and Human Services is the primary agency. The Department of Health and Human Services opposed LB 1032 during the public hearing and cited cost estimates from at outside source during their testimony. An updated fiscal note for LB 1032 can be found here.

DACA

On February 11th, the room was packed for the LB 947 hearing in the Judiciary Committee.  Senator Mello introduced the legislation that would ensure that most work-authorized DACA youth can obtain professional licenses to practice their profession in Nebraska.

The youth voice was in full force as students and young adults shared their plans with Committee Members and made the case for why this change is needed. Several of the Committee members commended the youth for coming in person and sharing their story. The youth were joined by other supporters like Heartland Workers Center, Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska Cattlemen, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and Justice for Our Neighbors.

Late in the hearing, the power went out throughout the entire Capitol building, leaving no time for opponents.  Turns out, there weren’t any anyway!

Next Up

LB 782, introduced by Senator Schumacher will have a public hearing February 18th in the Health and Human Services Committee. This bill would provide for a Medicaid state plan amendment relating to coverage for family planning services.

LB 966, introduced by Senator Kintner will have a public hearing February 19th in the Judiciary Committee.  This bill would adopt the Refugee Resettlement Agency Indemnification Act.

LB 510, introduced by Senator Cook is a carry-over bill that would provide an income tax credit to employers of public assistance recipients. The bill is on the list because it made it onto the Agenda for Tuesday 2/16.  However debate is unlikely because of the long list ahead of it.

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