Nebraska Legislature

Lawmakers have begun floor consideration of some of the more than 700 bills introduced in January.

LB4: Tuition credit for members of active Selected Reserve

Under the Reservist Tuition Credit Program, Nebraska residents enlisted in a Nebraska-based unit of the active Selected Reserve could have 50% of their tuition covered. If passed, LB4 would raise the amount of tuition covered to 75% for undergraduate students. The bill would also remove a provision that says anyone with more than 10 years of military service can’t use the credit.

On March 11, the senators voted 47-0 to approve the bill, which was sent to Gov. Pete Ricketts.

LB77: Insurance premiums for armed forces members

LB77 is to prohibit an insurance company from adding a surcharge or increasing the premium on the insurance of a member of the armed forces solely because they did not have car insurance for six months or more while deployed.

On March 11, the senators voted 48-0 on LB77, and the bill was sent to the governor.

LB337: Guardrails on the process of step therapy

Step therapy is a prior authorization requirement that has patients try and fail other treatments before an insurance company will cover the original treatment prescribed by the patient’s health care provider. In an effort to save money, insurance companies have patients try less expensive options before “stepping up” to a more expensive prescription.

LB337 would create a clear process for insurance providers to request an override of the step therapy requirement and provide circumstances in which this could be done. The bill was considered by the Legislature for a second time last week and is now prepared for a final reading and vote.

LB442: Commission on Asian American Affairs

LB442 would create a 14-member commission on Asian American Affairs, comprised of individuals with Asian ancestry. This board would promote legislation that benefits Asian Americans in Nebraska and update the governor’s office on the well-being of the state’s Asian American community.

Sen. Matt Hansen of Lincoln introduced LB442. Hansen said there is a need for a commission on Asian American Affairs, as the state already has commissions for Latino American and Indian affairs and passed a bill last year to create the Commission on African American Affairs.

Hansen said the rise in anti-Asian racism during the pandemic is important to consider, but it was not a driving factor in his introduction of the bill.

“Certainly, we heard some compelling testimony talking about [anti-Asian racism] at the hearing,” he said. “But I think this was a good public policy decision prior to the pandemic and will be after the pandemic.”

Hansen said the bill has strong community support, including from Lincoln’s Asian Community and Cultural Center.

Floor debates will continued the week of March 14. A calendar of scheduled legislative hearings can be found here.