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.


Nebraska Disability Legislative Update

June 16, 2021

As is the case every year, a lot happened this session in the Nebraska Legislature. Given the Session started with COVID precautions, it was unique as compared to other Legislative sessions. There were several pieces of legislation that either directly or indirectly impacted persons with disabilities in Nebraska.

The following lists the bill, bill intent as well as the actions taken by the Senate and governor:

There were a number of other bills of note, including LB 14 (Senator Blood’s Audiology and Speech- Language Pathology Interstate Compact Act, passed and signed) LB 83 (Senator Flood’s changes to the Open Meetings Act  allowing for virtual conferencing, passed and signed) LB 101 (Senator Walz’s bill on Medicaid Managed Care, passed and signed) and LB 374 (Senator DeBoer’s bill on supports to persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, did not pass) that will have impacts on MMI services and persons with disabilities in Nebraska.

As a reminder of the Legislature’s processes this year (especially given the COVID requirements):

Bill introduction took place this past January. While Senators were asked to limit the number of bills introduced compared to past years, nearly 700 bills were introduced along with nearly 110 Legislative Resolutions.

The hearing schedule was adjusted from prior years; by law, all bills introduced are required to receive a committee hearing (each bill is referred to a specific committee, for example the Health and Human Services, Education, Banking, Commerce and Insurance, Business and Labor, Government, Military, and Veteran Affairs, etc.) Two hearing sessions per day were scheduled for each committee which created a very demanding schedule for Senators and their staff. This routine proceeded from the end of January through mid-March.

In the latter half of March, bills were either passed out of Committee (or not.) Senators, Committees, and the Speaker of the Legislature then designated specific bills as priority bills. Senators are limited to prioritize one bill, Committees can prioritize up to five bills, and the Speaker can prioritize an unlimited number of bills. This is a critical circumstance as bills that are      not prioritized typically do not move to passage.

The last part of the session focused on floor debate on bills that had advanced, and especially bills involving the state budget. The Legislature completed its work in May. However, a Special Session of the Legislature is anticipated this fall as regards the Census and redistricting as a result of the same.

For more information, visit the Nebraska Legislature website (it is easy to use) or contact Mark Smith, UCEDD Training Director: email | 402-559-5744