Legislative Session looks very different this year due to the ongoing public health crisis that is COVID-19. Recently, the Speaker announced new ways for Nebraskans to use their voices in the Legislative process. I am particularly excited to share one method with you all in hopes that you will use it robustly!
First, I want you to know that Planned Parenthood, as a public health organization, continues to strongly encourage people to stay home if they can during this pandemic. Legislative session is no different. Whether you support or oppose bills, please do not attend hearings in person like you would have in years past. Please do watch hearings if you are interested—netnebraska.org streams each and every hearing live.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska staff do not plan to testify in person often, but we will lean into using the new approach to submitting committee—recognized, on the record written testimony outlined below. We will also post our testimony here on our blog, so you can see our positions on the issues that matter most to sexual and reproductive health, even if you don’t get to see or hear the testimony at the hearing.
Submit Written Testimony Online
So, what’s the best way to use your voice safely and effectively in support of sexual and reproductive health care, rights, and issues related to the health and safety of our communities? Submitting an official public comment on a bill on the Nebraska Legislature website. These comments are made available to all Senators, which makes this method different from simply sending an email to the Senator who represents you.
Here’s how it works:
- First, visit the Nebraska Legislature’s website. Then, go to the top right corner and search for the specific bill you want to weigh in on. (To demonstrate, I’ll use an exciting bill introduced by Senator Blood, LB 20, that would expand access to and insurance coverage for prescription birth control methods—more below).
- You will end up on the bill’s webpage, where you can read the bill, see bill activity, and read transcripts from the bill’s hearing and floor debate. You can also submit your written public comment straight from this page by clicking ”Submit Comments Online For LB[XY].”
- You will need to consent to public use of your comment by clicking "I Understand."
- Then, fill out a form to log your public, individual position. You only get 300 words, which can be used quickly!
- Make sure to check the box confirming you're not a robot, click "Submit Comment," and you're done!
Bills to Fight For
As mentioned, there are a series of exciting, pro-sexual and reproductive health care bills that Planned Parenthood is proud to support this session:
- LB 20 (Sen. Blood): Requires health insurance coverage of a 12-month prescription birth control supply available to the patient at one time.
- LB 276 (Sen. Hunt): Repeals the Nebraska law banning delivery of abortion via telehealth.
- LB 183 (Sen. Hunt): Requires hospitals to provide medically accurate information and dispense emergency contraception to patients seeking treatment for sexual assault.
- LB 360 (Sen. Pansing Brooks): Changes the legal definition of sexual consent to an affirmative standard.
We are also supporting many other bills regarding voting rights, LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination, and racial and social justice. Check the blog to learn more about PP’s positions on those bills as well.
We will continue to keep you up to date regarding these bills, including the hearing dates, via our social media channels. Stay tuned!