Nebraska Association
of Public Employees

Legislative Session Update

The Nebraska Legislature is back in session! NAPE’s lobbying team closely monitors bills that may affect our members. It is important that members stay informed and engaged in the legislative process. Below is a summary of bills that are being considered that have the potential to impact state employees. Members can view detailed information and proposed legislation on the Unicameral’s website by clicking here.

LB491 Since 2008, many jobs within Nebraska’s child welfare system have been outsourced to third parties. Many of these third-party providers are far removed from Nebraska’s issues, especially as they are located around the country. Moreover, these agencies often serve throughout the nation, meaning that Nebraska’s children were not properly prioritized. Through LB491, this outsourcing would be eliminated from Nebraska’s welfare system, bringing jobs back to the state and providing quality care for Nebraska’s underserved children in our communities. 

LB660 would amend the State Employees Collective Bargaining Act to further clarify bargaining units at the University of Nebraska and Nebraska State College System. The proposal would allow faculty and academic staff to organize and seek recognition by the Commission of Industrial Relations (CIR) to be represented by a union.

LB975 closely reflects the disposition of Nebraska’s state legislature as well as one of NAPE’s fundamental beliefs; members of the public deserve to have their voices heard during the legislative process. In the past, employees of state agencies, typically agency heads and their deputies, would voice their concerns and personal opinions at public hearings during paid work time. Senator Justin Wayne (Omaha), feles it is important to prevent agency heads and other employees from testifying at these hearings during paid work time. While an initial draft of the bill would have prohibited state employees from testifying on any paid time, Senator Wayne met with NAPE leaders and agreed to amend the bill to allow testimony on paid leave time. It is important to understand that any testimony stated at these hearings is a matter of personal opinion. It should not be misconstrued, inadvertently or not, that the testimony of the individual reflects the views and beliefs of the state or agency that they are a part of. LB 975 simply prohibits state officials and employees of any state agency, besides the Legislative Council, from testifying at a public hearing before the Legislature while on the clock. 

LB717 favorably amends an important bill regarding Nebraska’s In the Line of Duty Compensation Act. The In the Line of Duty Compensation Act provides assistance to the families and loved ones of first responders that pay the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our great state. Initially set at fifty thousand dollars, the bill was amended in LB 717 to increase the total to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, an important proposed change for the families of Nebraska’s fallen heroes. While nothing can make up for the loss that the loved ones endure, NAPE must continue to assist and advocate for the employees of this state and ensure that we continue to support the brave men and women that protect Nebraska. NAPE represents both firefighters and some law enforcement officers at multiple state agencies. 

LB1011 is the governor’s mainline budget bill introduced by Speaker Mike Hilgers (Lincoln). The bill contains over $47 million in appropriations to fund salaries negotiated by NAPE. NAPE continues to encourage Senators to support deficit budget requests from state agencies to fully fund state employee salaries. 

LB1029 clarifies that no employer may discriminate or harass employees on the basis of protected status, including disability. This offers additional protection for employees who may be of a protected status. Most notably, this bill outright prohibits any form of discrimination based on race, gender, nationality, sexuality, or disability, which would help to retain and support Nebraska’s workforce. 

LB1085 would appropriate $5 million to the state’s Department of Education. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, educators and students alike have been impacted significantly. This allotment would provide for improved staff retention, increased support for school capacity, and provides incentives for new teachers to remain in the classroom, and in Nebraska.

NAPE also continues to monitor various bills that would change taxation rates and levels that could affect the way that state government is funded. Members should keep an eye on their email for important legislative updates.

Nebraska Association of
Public Employees