Last legislative session, we analyzed hundreds of new bills and sorted civil rights priorities into our top categories. As bills are introduced during this year's legislative session, we will share which bills we have identified as top priorities or top threats. As state senators face key issues, we need them to make the right choices and your advocacy can help.
ADDRESSING THE PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS
As public health officials continue to guide us through this pandemic, one thing is clear: Nebraska families need to be able to do what's right for their families without worrying about where their next paycheck is going to come from. As many Nebraskans care for sick family members, paid leave could not be more important.
Related legislation from 2021 that can still be debated and passed in 2022: LB290
A LIVING WAGE & THE PAY GAP
Many Nebraskans were already struggling to get by before the pandemic. Nebraska's minimum wage of $9/hour does not reflect the cost of living. Nebraskans of color are far more likely to be living below the poverty line than white Nebraskans. State senators should approve a minimum wage increase, eventually indexed for inflation, and also pass a bill that would prohibit employees from requiring job applicants to report their wage history. The latter bill would be an important step toward erasing the pay gap. Despite having equal pay laws in Nebraska and on the federal level for decades, persistent disparities remain. If state senators don't have the political will to pass a minimum wage increase, voters will do it this fall. Learn more about how you can help raise the wage in Nebraska.
WORKPLACES & PROGRAMS FOR ALL OF US
It's past time to make sure our workplaces and our support programs reflect common-sense, empathetic values. We strongly support a change that would make unemployment benefits available to DACA workers and an expansion of the Bridge to Independence program for undocumented youth.
In 2020, Nebraska added a Commission on African American Affairs, mirroring similar commissions for representing the needs and priorities of Native American Nebraskans and Latinx Nebraskans. We also support proposals to add racial impact statements to bills, a commonsense tool for evaluating legislation, and a bill that would create El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz Malcolm X Day. Malcolm X, who was born in Omaha, is one of the best known figures of the Civil Rights Movement. Recognizing his legacy would recognize the importance of the movement and the need for continued action addressing systemic racism in our communities.
About this series
These lists are not exhaustive and only reflect bills we've identified as top priorities or top threats from the 2021 legislative session that have carried over into the new year. We encourage you to find your senator and tell them your priorities.