NSLHA Legislative Update
The 110th Nebraska Legislature convened on January 6th. This year is a 90-day session and is scheduled to adjourn by June 10th.
American Communications Group, Inc., NSLHA's lobbying firm, provides weekly legislative updates about bills they are monitoring on behalf of you and the speech-language hearing industry. Weekly email updates are being sent to the membership with copies of letters and testimony given at a specific legislative committee hearing. You will also receive action alerts by email when it’s time to call or email your state senator and ask them to support one of the priority bills when the legislature is ready to debate a particular bill.
The Legislative Affairs Committee met January 25, 2021 to review a list of bills being monitored by ACG, and made decisions about which bills NSLHA will support, oppose or monitor.
Nebraska Speech-Language Hearing Association Weekly Legislative Update for the week of April 26-30
A copy of the NSLHA weekly report, generated by our partners at American Communications Group, Inc., and our lobbyist Julie Erickson, is available here with priority bills listed in green.
On Thursday, LB411, to require sharing of information with the designated health information exchange and change provisions related to the Health Information Technology Board, was placed on Final Reading with ST16.
Last week the Legislature approved the $9.7 Billion biennium budget with an emergency clause on Final Reading by a 47-0-2 vote and Gov. Ricketts signed the state budget with no vetoes on Monday. The budget includes a 2% Medicaid provider rate increase.
In what many Capitol observers deemed “Revenue Week”, the Legislature conducted General File debate on several proposals for new tax credits or exemptions this week.
There is potential for the legislature to recess later in May and reconvene in the fall to finish the session focusing on redistricting. A second option is to adjourn early and call a special session in the fall. Either way, there will be a fall continuation of the legislature to reconfigure district boundaries in preparation for the 2022 elections. Although this timeline has not been finalized, we wanted to give you a heads up. Yesterday the State Forecasting Board met and their new projections on state revenue give the legislature another $38M to spend on bills being passed with a fiscal impact over the two year biennium.
Sometime in May the state will be receiving additional guidance on distribution of federal COVID relief funds. We are currently researching details on these dollars and have talked with the Chair of the Appropriations Committee on the legislature’s participation in appropriating these very significant dollars. Although they are one time dollars, this funding would have significant impact on key areas of the state including health care, economic development, housing, capital construction, children needs, education and local community recovery. There is reason to be encouraged after recent discussions with senators that the legislature will play a key role in this funding distribution through public hearings during the interim and legislation in 2022.
We did not see LB100 on the agenda this past week for Final Reading. After talking to the Speaker’s office yesterday, it appears the reason is related to scheduling. On the days the Speaker has planned for final reading in the past several weeks, either Senator Walz or Senator Blood have been absent. We will keep you updated on when it does get scheduled.
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If you have any questions about any bills that may be of particular interest to you, or if you would like additional guidance on how to be involved, please contact me at Adrian@assocoffice.net.
Bills of support and Status:
LB14 - Adopt the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact - Signed by Gov. Pete Ricketts
LB15 - Adopt the Occupational Therapy Practice Interstate Compact - Committee
LB135 - Change special education reimbursements- General File
LB314 - Change provisions related to insurance coverage of telehealth - Committee
LB400 - Change requirements related to coverage of telehealth by insurers and Medicaid - Signed by Gov. Pete Ricketts
LB411 - Require sharing of information with the designated health information exchange - Final Reading
Bills being monitored:
LB52 - Provide for immunity for injury or death resulting from COVID-19 exposure
LB53 - Provide immunity for health care providers acting in conformance with the crisis standard of care during a COVID-19 state of emergency
LB69 - Adopt the Student Loan Repayment Tax Credit Act
LB139 - Adopt the COVID-19 Liability Protection Act (Sen. Slama Priority Bill)
LB153 - Include virtual school students in the state aid to schools formula
LB263 - Require occupational boards to issue certain credentials based on credentials or work experience in another jurisdiction
LB364 - Adopt the Opportunity Scholarships Act and provide tax credits
LB390 - Provide for credentials based on reciprocity and change requirements for credentials under the Uniform Credentialing Act
LB540 - Change terminology related to disability in civil rights provisions
LB623 - Adopt the Remote Instruction Act