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.


Current and pending legislation

LB 813: (Bolz) State intent regarding appropriations for apprenticeships and provide powers for the Department of Labor

Intention of bill is to reduce labor shortages, encourage employers to hire and train apprentices in highly skilled trades and occupations, encourage nontraditional workers to engage in highly skilled trades and occupations, and authorize 8 grants and stipends for certain apprenticeship training expenses. May benefit the sustainability of the Project Search Program at UNMC.

LB 877: (Walz) Disability-focused appropriations for aging and disability resource centers

Increases the appropriation for Aging and Disability Resource Centers by the amount of $260,230 for purposes of expanding collaboration with disability partners and marketing for services provided by the resource centers. The University Center on Disabilities (UCEDD) Grant program at MMI is one of the Disability Partners that would be impacted by the appropriation increase.

LB 994: (Murman) Adopt the Organ Transplant Fairness Act

The bill prohibits health care entities from discriminating against potential organ transplant recipients because of a mental or physical disability. The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. There have been cases of discrimination in other states but not in Nebraska, this bill would prevent any future discrimination. The bill would also allow the individual to bring a civil action against a covered entity if they were denied a transplant based on their disability.

LB 1204: (Cavanaugh) Require the development of a family support waiver under the Medical Assistance Act and provide for a pilot family support program under the Disabled Persons and Family Support Act

Bill would require the state DHHS to initiate a Medicaid Waiver program. Intent is to provide families that have children with disabilities access to supports and services that would allow the family members to maintain employment by including a pathway to eligibility under the medical assistance program for the child with disabilities that does not consider parental income and provides long-term services and supports, such as respite, specialized child care, and home modifications. Necessary services should be available for a child with disabilities so that the child may access early intervention services and other medically necessary services, the child may remain in the child's home, the family unit may remain intact, and the family caregiver may maintain employment. 

LB 147: (Groene) Change the Student Discipline Act to provide for use by a teacher or administrator of necessary physical contact or physical restraint and provide procedures and grounds for removal from a class in response to student behavior

The bill allows teachers or administrators to implement physical contact or physical restraint to subdue them until the student 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 that are presently punishable in the Student Discipline Act. The administration can then place the student in another classroom or in-school suspension or can suspend the student. If the teacher does not consent to the student’s return, a conference is held with the parent or legal guardian, the teacher, and the principal within two days following the student’s removal. There have been several amendments to this bill as it lacks training requirements for school personnel. It is not intended to impact students with disabilities, but students with disabilities are by far the students most frequently restrained, isolated, or suspended.

LB 825: (Hilkemann) Change provisions relating to infant health screenings

Would add Spinal Muscular Atrophy to the list of diseases on the newborn screening panel.

LB 903: (Kolowski) Provide for Down Syndrome Awareness license plates

LB 932: (Wishart) Requires expansion of the medical assistance program as prescribed

Intended to speed Medicaid expansion. By the most recent count, this would allow estimated between 15 and 20,000 individuals with disabilities without health insurance to access Medicaid.

LB 955: (Walz) Change provisions relating to eligibility for medical assistance

Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to provide further support and an explanation for the proposed action when eligibility for services are discontinued or modified. This bill also allows the recipient of Medicaid services 30 calendar days to appeal a decision by the department.

LB 976: (Bolz) Redefine handicapped or disabled person for purposes of handicapped or disabled parking permits

Adds neurological impairments to severe visual and physical impairments (which limits personal mobility and results in an inability to travel more than two hundred feet without stopping or without the use of a wheelchair, crutch, walker, or prosthetic, orthotic, or other assistant device, any individual whose personal mobility is limited as a result of respiratory problems, any individual who has a cardiac condition to the extent that his or her functional limitations are classified in severity as being Class III or Class IV, according to standards set by the American Heart Association, and any individual who has permanently lost all or substantially all the use of one or more limbs)

LB 540: (Walz) Eliminate the termination date of a developmental disability service

The bill removes a sunset provision under the state’s Home and Community Based Services Waiver in the Developmental Disability System allowing for services to youth transitioning from the education system to maintain skills and receive day services necessary to pursue economic self-sufficiency. In other words, students leaving Special Education at 21 who qualify for state disability services would be entitled to transitional Developmental Disability day services.

LB 851: (McCollister) Change provisions relating to eligibility for services under the Medical Assistance Act

Amends Sec. 68-915, which defines standards for eligibility for Nebraska Medicaid. It would require the Department of Health and Human Services to adopt rules providing continuous eligibility of minors without additional review and regardless of changes in resources or income, with annual eligibility reviews up to age 19. The bill would also require DHHS to submit a waiver to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to provide for 12 month continuous eligibility for individuals subject to the modified gross income budgeting methodology.

LB 1215: (Walz) Appropriate funds to the Department of Health and Human Services

Appropriates funds to the Department of Health and Human Services to fund all persons on the wait list for the developmental disability services waiver. There is hereby appropriated (1) $17,000,000 from the General Fund for FY2020-21 and (2) $17,000,000 from the General Fund for FY2021-22 to the Department of Health and Human Services, for Program 424, to fund all persons on the wait list for the developmental disability services waiver. Intended to end the DD Wait List.

View 2019 legislature

View 2018 legislature