- 1 Ways to Resist
- 2 Updates
- 3 Actions Taken by the State Government
- 4 Key Upcoming Elections
- 5 Healthcare
- 6 Policing
- 7 Immigration
- 8 Voting Rights
- 9 Mass Incarceration
- 10 Benefits / Tax Cuts
- 11 Housing/Infrastructure
- 12 Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- 13 LGBTQ+ Issues
- 14 Educational Justice
- 15 Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- 16 Climate / Environment
- 17 Disability Rights
- 18 Organizations
- 19 Local News Sources
- 20 Relevant City and County Information
Ways to Resist
- Contact your elected officials:
- Get involved with local organizations.
- Find organizations with state and local presences working in your area.
- Check out our Tools of Resistance.
- Look for upcoming state and local events and local event calendars.
There are no recent updates.
To see past updates for Nebraska, click here.
Actions Taken by the State Government
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by Nebraska lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:
- LB75 would restore felons' voting rights upon completion of their sentence or probation for a felony, rather than waiting two years to restore their rights.
- LB 173 would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Harmful bills proposed by Nebraska lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:
- LR1CA Constitutional Amednment to require voter identification.
See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.
Key Upcoming Elections
Click here to find out if you're registered to vote. Register to vote here. The deadline is 18 days before Election Day by mail and online, and 11 days in person. Bring proof of identification the first time you vote. No document is required to vote.
- Senator Deb Fischer (R) is up for reelection in 2018.
2018 Competitive House Districts
- Nebraska District 2 is a competitive district with the potential to flip to blue. Representative Don Bacon (R) won the 2016 election with 49.4% of the vote. Trump won the district in the 2016 presidential election with 48.2% of the vote.
- Nebraska's Republican governor will be up for reelection in 2018.
- Omaha's Mayoral race against a Republican incumbent will be held in 2017; the primary election date is April 4, with general elections on May 9.
- Omaha City Council elections will be held in 2017; the primary election date is April 4, with general elections on May 9.
- Lincoln City Council elections will also be held in 2017.
- If there is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, 84,000 people in Nebraska (or 4.4% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 165,000 people (or 8.7% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/28/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.) This is because with a full repeal, premiums will not increase the way they would under a partial repeal, since insurance companies will be able to discriminate on the basis of preexisting conditions and won't be required to provide essential health benefits. Not covering preexisting conditions will disproportionately affect people with disabilities.
- The number of uninsured people in Nebraska is predicted to be 154,000 by 2021 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to rise to 248,000, a 61.1% increase.
- The reason that more people don't stand to lose coverage in Nebraska is because the state government, for political reasons, did not take the free money offered to it by the federal government to help expand Medicaid to more of its low-income citizens. This decision also disproportionately disadvantaged Black citizens.
- Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in Nebraska could pay up to 53% more for the same coverage as men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.
- Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 14,000 jobs could be lost in Nebraska in the event of repeal. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.
- Nebraska is among the many states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage, because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.
- Republican Senator Deb Fischer, who is up for reelection in 2018, voted to repeal the ACA with no replacement.
- Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay strategy, young adults in Nebraska could pay $986 more in 2018.
- 30 people have been killed by police in the state of Nebraska from 2013 through 2016.
- 20% of the people killed by police were black.
- Omaha Police Department has a homicide rate of 31.79 for all people, and 72.56 for black people. Lincoln Police Department has a homicide rate of 19.35 for all people, and 104.81 for black people..
- In 2013, Nebraska had 123,182 immigrants, making up 6.6% of the population.
- There are estimated to be 45,000 undocumented immigrants in Nebraska, making up 2.5% of the population.
Rights of Non-Citizens
- Nebraska does not allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers’ licenses.
- Nebraska allows undocumented immigrants to attend public college at the same in-state tuition rate as legal residents and citizens.
- In 2012 President Barack Obama signed an executive order (DACA) that defers deportation for children who were brought to the country as children. The action allows them to work lawfully but does not create a pathway to citizenship or give them legal status in the United States. In Nebraska, 5,348 individuals have benefited from this executive action.
- 6.7% of K-12 students in Nebraska had undocumented parents in 2014.
- Undocumented immigrants in Nebraska made up 3.2% of the labor workforce in 2014.
- If all undocumented workers were removed from Nebraska, the state would lose $852.4 million in economic activity.
- Undocumented immigrants paid $44.4 million in state and local taxes in Nebraska in 2012.
- Nebraska introduced a bill in 2011 that would have required police to check people's immigration status, but it failed to pass.
- Nebraska has several counties with sanctuary policies. These cover Omaha and Lincoln.
- In 2016, Nebraska ranked first in per-capita refugee resettlement, with 76 refugees resettled per 100,000 residents.
- The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services offers services to refugees.
- Nebraska allows early voting and no-excuse absentee voting. Nebraska citizens can also register to vote online, and voters are not required to show identification at the polls. Nebraska has also implemented Automatic Voter Registration..
- Nebraska was one of the first states to pass a felon re-enfranchisement law, allowing those with a felony to regain their voting rights two years after completing their sentence. The Nebraska State Senate recently voted 28-8 to do away with the two-year waiting period.
- Despite progress in some areas, Nebraska is one of nine states currently considering strict voter ID laws.
- In 2014, Nebraska had 8,827 incarcerated people, plus a probation population of 13,545 and parole population of 1,235.
- 0 people are incarcerated in private prisons in Nebraska.
- 411 juveniles are in custody in Nebraska.
- Of the prison population, 331 people were serving life sentences, and 236 were serving life sentences without parole.
- In Nebraska, a black person is 8.4 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person.
- Corrections expenditures in 2014 were $259 million.
Benefits / Tax Cuts
- Nebraska residents who face a tax increase under Trump’s plan:
- Households: 50,000
- Adults and children: 172,000
- Children: 104,000
- In 2015, an average of 77,755 households and 174,092 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in a given month in Nebraska. In 2011, approximately 9% of the population of Nebraska was receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps). The average monthly benefit per Nebraska household was $258 per household and $114 per person in 2016.
- In 2016, an average of 10,718 households, including 4,549 families and 9,187 children, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in a given month. The average monthly benefit for a single parent with three children residing in Nebraska was $436 in 2014. Average benefits in Nebraska have fallen in value by 21.5% since 1996.
- In 2016, an average of 8,599 women received funds from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in a given month.
- In December 2015, there were 2,217 Social Security recipients in the "aged" category who received $355.43 per person on average, for a total of $788,000.
- 53,000 low-income families spent more than half of their income on housing.
- In 2014, Nebraska had 36 units of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of area median income.)
- In Nebraska, there were 2,754 homeless people in 2016.
- Of the homeless population, there were 280 families, 219 veterans, 198 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 233 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Nebraska received $135 million in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.
- In Nebraska, more than 28,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.
- Nearly all Nebraska households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.
- Nebraska does not have a 2015 infrastructure score from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
- Nebraska has 136 high-hazard dams and $1.8 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. Nebraska's railroad system is nationally ranked 19th by mileage, and its inland waterways are nationally ranked 25th.
- In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 24.5% of Nebraska's bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 59% of Nebraska's roads were in poor or mediocre condition.
- Driving on these roads leads to an additional $282 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.
- According to Governor Pete Ricketts (R), improving roads and bridges is a major infrastructure goal for Nebraska.
Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- Nebraska has two Planned Parenthood centers.
- In 2015, no centers were in rural, medically underserved, or health-provider shortage areas.
- On average, there is one Planned Parenthood for 183,000 women of reproductive age.
- There were five abortion providers in Nebraska in 2015.
- In 2014, 9.1 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in Nebraska had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.
- There is a 24-hour waiting period required after mandatory counseling.
- Parental consent is required for minors.
- Ultrasound requirements exist.
- Abortion is prohibited after 20 weeks except in cases of life or health endangerment.
- Mandated counseling includes misleading information.
- Medical abortion is limited.
- Private insurange coverage is limited.
- State Medicaid does not fund most abortions.
- TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws exist.
Women and Wages
- In Nebraska, 12.8% of women live in poverty. 38% of single mothers live in poverty, as do 9% of women age 65 and older.
- For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.79, which is one cent below the national average of $0.80.
- African American women are paid $0.62 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.54 for every dollar made by white men.
- In 2013, 483 calls were documented by the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Nebraska ranks 39th in terms of call volume.
Religious freedom law
Nebraska does not have any state religious freedom laws. Religious freedom laws protect people's right to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities. However, after same-sex marriage was legalized, conservative states have attempted to enact similar laws with provisions that allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.
Nebraska lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, adoption, jury selection, insurance and credit. The State Senate rejected a bill banning discrimination in employment in March 2017.
Nebraska allows de-facto parent recognition, but lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in foster care, surrogacy, parental presumption for same-sex couples, and second-parent adoption. In April 2017, the Nebraska Supreme Court confirmed the decision to strike down a 1995 law barring same-sex couples from becoming foster parents.
Hate crime laws
Nebraska requires reporting of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people, but only includes sexual orientation (not gender identity) in applying hate crime protections.
Nebraska does not have laws protecting youth, such as transgender inclusion in sports, protection from conversion therapy, laws to address LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education laws, or LGBTQ+ inclusive juvenile justice policies.
Health and safety laws
Nebraska lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting the health and safety of its LGBTQ+ citizens, including nondiscrimination protections in the ACA exchanges, a ban on insurance exclusions for trans health care, trans-inclusive health benefits for state employees, gender marker changes on identification documents, or gender-neutral single occupancy restrooms. Nebraska does have laws that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in ensuring their health and safety, such as transgender exclusions in state Medicaid and laws criminalizing HIV/AIDS.
- HIV criminalization laws are those that make it illegal for an HIV-positive person to “knowingly expose” another person to HIV—in some states, this means that it is illegal not to disclose HIV-positive status to a sex partner, but many laws criminalize behaviors that are unlikely to lead to transmission. Because the laws focus on disclosure, not actual transmission, they serve no real purpose. All states have other, non-HIV-specific laws that can be used to prosecute transmission of HIV, so these laws just needlessly single out and stigmatize HIV-positive people and reinforce the image of them as “dangerous.” It also allows the saliva or blood of an HIV-positive person to be classified in court as a “deadly weapon.” HIV criminalization laws also disproportionately target people of color, mainly African Americans, and gay men.
- Nebraska is ranked 14th in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $7,646 per student.
- As of 2013, Nebraska ranked 34th in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $48,931 per year.
- 86% of students in Nebraska attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private school families earning an average 49% higher income.
- As of 2014, public charter school enrollment accounted for 0% of total public school enrollment.
- Nebraska's overall graduation rate is 90%, which is significantly above the national average. By subgroups, four-year graduation rates are as follows:
- White: 93%
- Latino: 83%
- Black: 81%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 78%
- American Indian: 69%
- Economically Disadvantaged: 82%
- Limited English Proficient: 60%
- Students with Disabilities: 72%
Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- Nebraska has a minimum wage of $9.00.
- Nebraska has no state law for paid sick leave.
- Nebraska has no state law for paid family leave.
- Nebraska has Right-to-Work laws, which means that the state can prohibit unions that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all workers they represent. Such laws are designed to reduce unions' income and power.
- Nebraska is a state with an at-will exemption. "At-will" means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
- Nebraska also has a public policy exemption, meaning that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).
- Nebraska does allow for implied contract exemptions.. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor; or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer. This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements. As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.
- Nebraska does not support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Courts have interpreted the covenant in different ways, from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.
Climate / Environment
- Just under 15% of Nebraska's electricity generation is from nuclear power; 67.5% is from fossil fuels (mostly coal); and the rest is from renewable sources.
- Nebraska has 16 sites on the National Priorities List.
- Approximately 1.36% of Nebraska’s land is federally owned.
- In 2014, the Black population had the highest air pollution exposure indices—of 43—compared to an overall index of 27 and a White index of 25.
- In 2012, Native American and Black adults in Nebraska were most likely to have asthma—12.5 and 12.0%, respectively, compared to 7.5% overall.
- The environmental agency in Nebraska is the Department of Environmental Quality.
- Nebraska has no state climate action plan.
- Nebraska has no renewable/alternate energy portfolio standards.
- 11.2% of Nebraska's residents are disabled, compared with the national average of 12.6%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1810]
- The employment rate among disabled adults in Nebraska is 48.6%, compared to the national average of 34.9%. People without disabilities in Nebraska have a 83.4% employment rate. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Tables R1811 & B18120]
- Approximately 12.7% of eligible voters in Nebraska have one or more disabilities, compared to a national average of 15.7%.
- Of adults with disabilities in Nebraska, 25.3% live in poverty, as opposed to 10.7% of non-disabled adults. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B23024] The poverty rate for disabled children under 5 is 55.6%, as opposed to 18.8% for non-disabled children.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18130]
- In Nebraska, 3.8% of adults between 18 and 64 receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), compared to the national average of 5.4%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B19056]
Find state/local chapters of national organizations here.
- Bold Nebraska
- Nebraska Appleseed, a group that fights for justice and opportunity for all Nebraskans
- Nebraska Democrats: Blue Bench Project
- Nebraska Grassroots Progressives
- Progressive Nebraska
- Progressive Nebraska (not the same as above)
- Nebraska Greens
State and Local Disability Rights Organizations
- Brain Injury Association of Nebraska
- Disability Rights Nebraska, Nebraska's P&A (Protection and Advocacy) agency
- LDA Nebraska (Learning Disabilities Association of America)
- NAMI Nebraska (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
- Nebraska ADRC (Aging and Disability Resource Center)
- Nebraska MFP (Money Follows the Person -- assistance with transitioning from institutions back into the community)
- Nebraska Statewide Independent Living Council
- OlmsteadRights list of Nebraska disability organizations
- Swing Left events for Nebraska's 2nd district (helping elect progressives to the House)