Disability Policy & Legislation
The MMI UCEDD serves as an informational resource to state and federal policymakers through its collaboration with Nebraska Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (NCCD), the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the state Administration for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) network, and Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). The center routinely provides expert information to state and federal policymakers on decisions and activities impacting individuals with disabilities and their families. One area of critical activity has been the relationship between the center and the Nebraska Unicameral to provide information and testimony concerning disability issues to the Nebraska Legislature.

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List of current and pending legislation

LB 323 Workers with Disabilities- Linehan and Crawford: The purpose of LB323 is to update Nebraska's Medicaid Insurance for Workers with Disabilities program eligibility standards from federal Balanced Budget Act standards to more recent federal Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act standards. Premiums are capped at seven and one half percent and asset limits are eliminated. This bill:

  1. Makes employment for people with disabilities easier
  2. Removes red tape and ensures more individuals can contribute to society
  3. Removes the trial work period that can cause people to lose needed benefits

LB 311 Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act- Crawford and Cavanaugh: The intent of LB 311 is to adopt the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act. The Act will create a paid family and medical leave insurance program to provide partial wage replacement for eligible workers to care for themselves or a family member following a serious illness or to care for a new child through birth, foster care or adoption. Similar to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, a covered employee who utilizes the paid family leave insurance program is entitled to be restored to the position held by the employee when the leave commenced or to a position with equivalent status and pay.

  1. Many families have to take frequent leave in order to care for their family members making it hard to keep a job. This bill would help ensure that most businesses would provide paid leave.

LB 733 Election Bill- Kolowski: This bill requires that all polling places shall be accessible to all registered voters and shall be in compliance with the federal Americans with  Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, and the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, as amended. This includes accessible parking, voting booth access, and building access. Regarding voting:

  1. Efforts have been ongoing regarding training, education, and helping to ensure that people with disabilities have access to vote.
  2. The Secretary of State has Federal Funds they have committed to use in spaces identified as problem polling locations.
  3. This bill updates and harmonizes Nebraska Statute to address many of the remaining concerns.

LB 570 Olmstead- Walz: The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services shall, in collaboration with the Governor's Policy Research Office, the Department of Correctional Services, the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Labor, the Department of Transportation, the State Department of Education, and the office of the state long-term care ombudsman, develop a comprehensive strategic plan for providing services to qualified persons with disabilities in the most integrated community-based settings pursuant to the Olmstead decision. The bill would:

  1. Creates a Strategic Plan for the State to ensure people with disabilities are in the most inclusive setting possible.
  2. The bill brings Nebraska practices into agreement with State statutes and Federal requirements.

LB 705 ENABLE Act changes- Murman: The bill permits the ability to designate a beneficiary of an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) to will their account balance to an individual that is eligible for an ABLE account.

  1. ENABLE ensures that people with disabilities with disabilities are able to save money for large expenses without these assets impacting their access to benefits.
  2. Current law allows the state to take this money when a person dies. This bill would allow one to instead will the balance to someone with a disability or a nonprofit.

LB 147 Restraints and Seclusion- Groene: LB 147 allows teachers and administrators to maintain order in the classroom by allowing them to utilize highly restrictive practices as they deem necessary. When a student is violent, a teacher or administrator may use necessary contact or physical restraint to subdue them until the student is no longer presents a danger to himself or herself, the teacher or administrator, or other students. Physical restraint is restricted to holding the hands, wrists or torso of a student to control the student’s movements. It does not include the use of any mechanical device or binding a student to any object. This bill also allows the teacher or administrator to use physical restraint to protect school property. The bill further allows teachers to remove a student who repeatedly interferes with the teacher’s ability to teach, or whose behavior is so disruptive that it seriously interferes with the class' ability to learn, or who commits other disruptive acts. The administration can then place the student in another classroom or in-school suspension or can suspend the student. This bill gives teachers and administrators the assurance that they have control of their classrooms without fear of legal action or administrative discipline as long as their conduct was reasonable.

  1. Children with disabilities are much more often subjected to restraint and seclusion is school settings.
  2. This bill does not appear to comport with related requirements of the Federal IDEA.
  3. The bill provides no language on the training of educational staff or the qualified professional oversight of these practices in educational settings.

LB 540 Transition Funding Walz: Currently, the entitlement to transition funds for students leaving Special Education services is scheduled to   sunset by 2021. This would cause transitioning youth in many cases to be subject to the Developmental Disabilities wait list for Day Services if they are eligible. This bill reinstates the entitlement indefinitely.

  1. This bill protects timely access to services for transitioning students with disabilities.
  2. Transition can one of the most difficult times in the life of a child with a disability and their family. This bill allows transitioning youth and families some degree of certainty that services will be immediately available after leaving school if needed.

View 2018 legislature.