Difference between revisions of "Nebraska"

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== [[File:Rainbowflag.png | left | 50px | LGBTQ Issues / link= ]] LGBTQ Issues ==
 
== [[File:Rainbowflag.png | left | 50px | LGBTQ Issues / link= ]] LGBTQ Issues ==
 
===Religious Freedom Law===
 
===Religious Freedom Law===
Nebraska does not have any Religious Freedom Laws. [http://time.com/3766173/religious-freedom-laws-map-timeline/]
+
Nebraska does not have any State Religious Freedom Laws. [http://time.com/3766173/religious-freedom-laws-map-timeline/]
 +
Religious Freedom laws were first introduced in response to the 1990 ''Employment Division v. Smith'' Supreme Court decision, in which the Court ruled against Oregon drug rehab counsellors who had used peyote (a prohibited drug) in a Native American ceremony. This decision was highly unpopular as many argued that it trampled Native Americans’ rights, and in response Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993 to ensure that all laws infringing on people’s rights would have to conform to very strict standards (the government would have to prove that very important goals were at stake, that the law was narrowly tailored to serve those interests, and that there was no good way to accomplish these goals except to infringe on people’s rights). The 1997 ''City of Boerne v. Flores'' Supreme Court decision struck down the RFRA, arguing that it was federal overreach and could no longer apply to state or local law. Some states then enacted their own versions of the RFRA to compensate for the lack of federal law, but these laws were largely dormant and very few cases were argued under them during the 2000s. However, after the legalization of same-sex marriage through the ''Obergefell v Hodges'' Supreme Court decision in June 2015, conservative states began passing these laws as a way to allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals by saying that people should be able to refuse service to same-sex couples, in particular for services related to their wedding, if it contradicts their religious beliefs.[https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2015/04/03/how-religious-freedom-laws-were-praised-then-hated-then-forgotten-then-finally-resurrected/?utm_term=.e8b97278d6f2]
  
 
===Non-discrimination laws===
 
===Non-discrimination laws===

Revision as of 16:50, 24 February 2017


Updates
Updates

In the aftermath of the implementation of the Muslim Ban, Republican Senator Ben Sasse came out against the action, calling it too broad and recruitment material for terrorist organizations. He is one of the few elected Republican officials who has spoken out on the subject matter. [1]


Actions Taken by the State Government
Actions Taken by the State Government

Legislative Actions

Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by Nebraska lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:

  • No bills identified



Harmful Legislation
Harmful bills proposed by Nebraska lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:

  • No harmful bills identified


See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.

Elected Officials
Elected Officials

  • Governor, Pete Ricketts (R) (up for reelection in 2018) [2]
  • Secretary of State, John A. Gale (R) [3]

Key Upcoming Elections
Key Upcoming Elections

Federal Elections

  • Senator Deb Fischer (R) up for reelection in 2018 [4]

2018 Competitive House Districts

  • Nebraska District 2 is a competitive district with the potential to flip the seat 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.

State Elections

  • Nebraska's Republican Governor will be up for reelection in 2018 [5]

Local Elections

Mayoral Elections

  • Omaha Mayoral race against a Republican incumbent will be held in 2017; the primary election date is April 4th with general elections on May 9th [6]

School Board Elections

Prosecutor Elections

Sheriff Elections

County Commissioners Elections

City Council Elections

  • Omaha City Council elections will be held in 2017; the primary election date is April 4th with general elections on May 9th [7]
  • Lincoln City Council elections will also be held in 2017 [8]

Obamacare / link=
Obamacare / ACA

  • 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.[9] Not covering preexisting conditions will disproportionately affect people with disabilities.
  • The number of uninsured people in Nebraska by 2021 is predicted to be 154,000 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to rise to 248,000, a 61.1% increase.[10]
  • 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.[11] This decision also disproportionately disadvantaged Black citizens.[12]
  • Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in Nebraska could pay up to 53% more for the same coverage, compared to men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.[13]
  • Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 14,000 jobs could be lost in Nebraska. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.[14]
  • 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.[15]
  • Republican Senator Deb Fischer is up for reelection in 2018 and voted to repeal the ACA with no replacement.[16]
  • Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay Strategy, Young Adults in Nebraska Could Pay $986 More in 2018.

[17]

Policing
Policing

The Facts

  • 30 people have been killed by police in the state of Nebraska from 2013 through 2016 [18].
  • 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. [19].

Immigration
Immigration

The Facts

  • In 2013, Nebraska had 123,182 immigrants, making up 6.6% of the population. [20]
  • There are estimated to be 45,000 undocumented immigrants in Nebraska, making up 2.5% of the population. [21]


Rights of Non-Citizens

  • Nebraska does not allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. [22]
  • Nebraska allows undocumented immigrants to attend public college at the same in-state tuition rate as legal residents and citizens. [23]
  • 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. [24]


Deportation

The Facts

  • 6.7% of K-12 students in Nebraska had undocumented parents in 2014. [25]
  • Undocumented immigrants in Nebraska made up 3.2% of the labor workforce in 2014. [26]
  • If all undocumented workers were removed from Nebraska, the state would lose $852.4 million in economic activity. [27]
  • Undocumented immigrants paid $44.4 million in state and local taxes in Nebraska in 2012. [28]

Policy

  • Nebraska introduced a bill in 2011 that would have required police to check immigration status but it failed to pass. [29]

Sanctuary Policies

  • Nebraska has several counties with sanctuary policies, which includes Omaha and Lincoln. [30]

Refugee Resettlement

  • In 2016, Nebraska ranked first in per capita refugee resettlement, with 76 refugees resettled per 100,000 residents. [31]
  • The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services offers services to refugees. [32]

Voting Rights
Voting Rights

  • 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.[33]
  • 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 [34] and has already implemented Automatic Voter Registration and Online Voter Registration.[35].
  • Despite progress in some areas Nebraska is one of 9 states currently considering strict voter ID laws.

[36]

Mass Incarceration
Mass Incarceration

The Facts

  • In 2014, Nebraska incarcerated 8,827 people, with 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. [37]

Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
Tax Cuts for the Wealthy

Income Tax

Facts

  • Nebraska residents facing a tax increase under Trump’s plan: [38]
    • Households: 50,000
    • Adults and children: 172,000
    • Children: 104,000

Policy

Public Entitlements

Facts

  • In 2015, an average of 77,755 households and 174,092 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) benefits in a given month in Nebraska.[39] In 2011, approximately 9% of the population of Nebraska was receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) benefits.[40] The average monthly benefit per Nebraska household was $258 per household and $114 per person in 2016. [41]
  • 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. [42] The average monthly benefit for a single-parent with three children residing in Nebraska was $436 per month in 2014. [43] Average benefits in Nebraska have fallen in value by 21.5% since 1996. [44]
  • 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. [45]
  • In 2015, there were 2,217 aged Social Security recipients[46] totalling $788,000[47], which averages out to $355.43 per person.

Housing/Infrastructure
Housing/Infrastructure

Housing

Facts

  • 53,000 low-income families spent more than half of their income on housing. [48]
  • 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.) [49]
  • In Nebraska, there were 2,754 homeless people in 2016. [50]
  • Of the homeless population, there were 280 families, 219 veterans, 198 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 233 people experiencing chronic homelessness. [51]
  • Nebraska received $135 million in federal rental assistance funding in 2014. [52]
  • In Nebraska, over 28,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014. [53]
  • Nearly all Nebraska households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly or disabled people. [54]

Infrastructure

Facts

  • Nebraska's infrastructure score is not applicable from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2015. [55]
  • Nebraska has 136 high hazard dams and 1.8 billion dollars 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.[56]
  • 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. [57]
  • Driving on these roads leads to an additional $282 per motorist in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs each year. [58]

Policy

  • According to Governor Pete Ricketts (R), improving roads and bridges is a major infrastructure goal for Nebraska. [59]

Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice

Planned Parenthood

The Facts[60]

  • Nebraska has 2 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.

Policy Solutions/Issues

Abortion

The Facts[61]

  • There were 5 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.

Policy Solutions/Issues[62]

  • There is a 24-hour waiting period required after mandatory counseling.
  • Parental consent is required for minors.
  • Ultrasound requirements exist.
  • Abortion is prohibited at 20 weeks except in cases of life or health endangerment.
  • Mandated counseling includes misleading information.
  • Medication abortion is limited.
  • Private insurange coverage is limited.
  • State Medicaid does not fund most abortions.
  • TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws exist.


LGBTQ Issues / link=
LGBTQ Issues

Religious Freedom Law

Nebraska does not have any State Religious Freedom Laws. [63] Religious Freedom laws were first introduced in response to the 1990 Employment Division v. Smith Supreme Court decision, in which the Court ruled against Oregon drug rehab counsellors who had used peyote (a prohibited drug) in a Native American ceremony. This decision was highly unpopular as many argued that it trampled Native Americans’ rights, and in response Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993 to ensure that all laws infringing on people’s rights would have to conform to very strict standards (the government would have to prove that very important goals were at stake, that the law was narrowly tailored to serve those interests, and that there was no good way to accomplish these goals except to infringe on people’s rights). The 1997 City of Boerne v. Flores Supreme Court decision struck down the RFRA, arguing that it was federal overreach and could no longer apply to state or local law. Some states then enacted their own versions of the RFRA to compensate for the lack of federal law, but these laws were largely dormant and very few cases were argued under them during the 2000s. However, after the legalization of same-sex marriage through the Obergefell v Hodges Supreme Court decision in June 2015, conservative states began passing these laws as a way to allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals by saying that people should be able to refuse service to same-sex couples, in particular for services related to their wedding, if it contradicts their religious beliefs.[64]

Non-discrimination laws

Nebraska lacks non-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, adoption, jury selection, insurance and credit. [65]

Parenting laws

Nebraska allows de facto parent recognition, but lacks non-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in foster care, surrogacy, parental presumption for same-sex couples, and second parent adoption. [66]

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. [67]

Youth Laws

Nebraska does not have laws protecting youth such as transgender inclusion in sports, protection from conversion therapy, laws to address LGBTQ+ youth homeless, LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education laws, or LGBTQ+ inclusive juvenile justice policies. [68]

Health and Safety Laws

Nebraska does not have non-discrimination laws protecting the health and safety of its LGBTQ+ citizens including non-discrimination protections in the ACA exchanges, a ban on insurance exclusions for trans healthcare, trans-inclusive health benefits for state employees, gender marker change on identification documents, gender neutral single occupancy restrooms. [69]

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. [70]

Educational Justice
Educational Justice

The Facts

  • Nebraska is ranked 14th in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $7,646 per student. [71]
  • As of 2013, Nebraska ranked 34th in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $48,931 per year. [72]
  • 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. [73]
  • As of 2014, public charter school enrollment accounted for 0% of total public school enrollment. [74]
  • 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% [75]

Consumer Protections /Worker's Rights
Consumer Protections /Worker's Rights

Facts

  • Nebraska has a minimum wage of $9.00.[76]
  • Nebraska has no state law for paid sick leave.[77]
  • Nebraska has no state law for paid family leave.[78]

Policies

  • Nebraska is a state with an at-will exemption.[79] 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.[80] Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences[81].
  • Nebraska also has a public policy exemption[82] 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 (ex: refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (ex: reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (ex. filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).[83]
  • Nebraska does allow for implied contract exemptions[84]. 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.[85] As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.[86]
  • Nebraska does not support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing[87]. Courts have interpreted this in different ways including requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.[88]


Climate / Environment
Climate / Environment

Facts

  • 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. [89]
  • Nebraska has 16 sites on the National Priorities List. [90]
  • Approximately 1.36 percent of Nebraska’s land is federally owned. [91]
  • 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. [92]
  • In 2012, Native American and Black adults in Nebraska were most likely to have asthma (12.5 and 12.0 percent, respectively), compared to 7.5 percent overall. [93]

Policies

  • The environmental agency in Nebraska is the Department of Environmental Quality. [94]
  • Nebraska has no state climate action plan. [95]
  • Nebraska has no renewable/alternate energy portfolio standards. [96]

Disability Rights
Disability Rights

The Facts

  • 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%[97]
  • 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]

Organizations
Organizations

Local News Sources
Local News Sources

Relevant City and County Information
Relevant City and County Information