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Advocacy & Policy

Nebraska State Capital photo provided courtesy of the Office of the Capitol Commission.

Policy & Advocacy News for the Week of March 13, 2023

This edition features:

  • A couple of bills of note this coming week
  • Housing Lobby Day!
  • News stories about the housing bills discussed in committee this past week

Bills of Note: Week of March 13th

LB367 is scheduled for a hearing before the Judiciary Committee on Monday, March 13th. This bill would adopt the Fair Chance Hiring Act.

The Fair Chance Hiring Act would:

  • Prohibit employer from asking about an applicant's criminal record until after they've made a conditional offer of employment and then, only if it's required by law (e.g., a teacher)
  • If employer decides not to hire the applicant in whole or in part because of a criminal record, the employer has to tell the applicant, who can present evidence of rehabilitation

If the legislature passes this bill, people who have finished their sentence and paid their debt to society will have more and better opportunities to find meaningful employment and successfully reintegrate into the community.

If LB367 is important to you, you can submit a comment to the Judiciary Committee for the record.

Link to Submit Comments on LB367

Comments must be submitted by noon on Friday, March 10th.


On Wednesday, March 15th, the Health and Human Services Committee will hear testimony about LB88, which would extend SNAP eligibility to those with certain drug felony convictions. Right now, Nebraska completely bars people from obtaining SNAP benefits if they fall into one of two categories:

  • People who have three or more felony convictions for possession or use of a controlled substance
  • People convicted of a felony involving the sale or distribution of a controlled substance

Passing LB88 would make these individuals eligible to get assistance buying groceries. 

If LB88 is important to you, you can submit a comment to the Health and Human Services Committee for the record.

Link to Submit Comments on LB88

Comments must be submitted by noon on Tuesday, March 14th.


Housing Lobby Day - March 14th 

Some of you may be planning to join with the coalition of nonprofit organizations at the Nebraska State Capital to advocate for housing affordability and housing justice on Tuesday.

Our aim is to raise awareness about the need for affordable housing, tenant protections, and homeownership equity across Nebraska and shine a light on a number of housing-related bills currently under consideration in the Legislature.

The Lobby 101 Training sessions are full, but the press conference and rally in the Capitol Rotunda at 11:30 is open to everyone. Among the featured speakers is Together's own, Destiny Fant!


News Stories on Housing Bills in the Legislature

Nebraska Examiner story (including a mention of my testimony on behalf of Together!) about all of the housing bills discussed on March 8th, with a particular focus on LB248, which would bar landlords from refusing to rent to tenants who used housing vouchers, SSDI, or other assistance to pay rent.

Shout out and huge thanks to Tina and Destiny, who made the trip to Lincoln and sat through over 7 hours of Judiciary Committee testimony (yes, SEVEN HOURS) to share their experiences in support of legislation to give tenants an opportunity for eviction clean slate, a tenant's right to an attorney in eviction court, and improving enforcement of Omaha's rental registration program.

https://nebraskaexaminer.com/2023/03/08/housing-measures-have-legislature-hopping/

 

Omaha World Herald story about the bills appropriating millions to affordable housing development, discussed on Wednesday as well.

https://omaha.com/news/nebraska-lawmakers-consider-spending-millions-for-affordable-housing/article_37341142-bc6d-11ed-b42e-c31cb59b2959.html

 

Examiner story about LB531, which deals with the millions of dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funding that the state hasn't yet awarded.

https://nebraskaexaminer.com/2023/03/06/lawmakers-to-hear-public-views-on-how-to-disburse-millions-of-dollars-in-north-and-south-omaha/

Together takes the experience and voice of those it serves to elected officials. Together advocates for policies at the local and state level to increase housing stability, safe and affordable housing, food security, and economic security.

 

Advocacy

Together's advocacy team works with a broad coalition of organizations throughout our community to advance policies in areas of affordable housing, access to food, and economic security for those in need.

Research

Our research supports Together by evaluating programs, advising on best practices, and making sure that the experiences of those we serve are accessible to our elected officials. We also partner with other organizations in the community to provide research and evaluation services as needed.

Results

Together has led efforts to provide safe housing by advocating for the city to pass a rental registration and proactive inspection ordinance. The advocacy team has worked on key legislative efforts to increase tenant protections at the state level, reduce the cliff-effect in SNAP and childcare programs, and enact a statewide eviction moratorium in response to COVID-19. Together’s advocacy efforts resulted in millions of dollars of CARES funding directed towards rental assistance for Omaha families.

By collaborating with other advocacy organizations to help support initiatives addressing the root causes of poverty, Together is able to keep hundreds of families in their home. 

Our 2022 Impact

  • Households served through Rapid Rehousing Program

    87

  • Number of pantry deliveries to households

    3,166

  • Households served through the Crisis Engagement Program

    1,114

  • Individuals served through Choice Food Pantry

    141,216

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