In the past few weeks, the Nebraska Legislature welcomed back state senators, introduced new legislative bills, and are holding legislative hearings. We have even started to see the advancement of new legislation from committee to the floor. In total, over 600 legislative bills and resolutions were introduced this session.
The NU System has been busy as well.
Two weeks ago, we were pleased to testify in support of multiple bills that seek to increase access to higher education, facilitate competitive recruitment to high-need career paths, and encourage expansion of key professions in rural communities. The University of Nebraska System is dedicated to partnering with the Legislature to address key issues facing our great state – from addressing workforce development gaps to growing our innovation economy and jobs of tomorrow.
We also testified before the Appropriations Committee in support of LB 930, which would help to strengthen Nebraska’s behavioral health network by allowing the University to partner with youth rehabilitation and treatment centers and county correctional facilities, broadening initiatives to address workforce shortages across rural Nebraska.
Dr. Erin Schneider, the Deputy Director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) at UNMC, testified on the significant impact LB 930 could have on recruitment, retention and training within the behavioral health community. It would also greatly expand the ability for these programs to expand into greater Nebraska. This bill continues an important conversation about Nebraska’s behavioral health workforce, and we’re grateful to Senator Fredrickson for introducing it. You can learn more about the critical work being done through BHECN on behalf of the state here.
We will be offering virtual legislative briefings during the 2024 legislative session to keep you updated on the crucial day-to-day work of the Nebraska Legislature – and how it impacts your university. Associate Vice President for Government Relations Kristen Hassebrook will run the briefings.
This month’s virtual legislative briefing will be on Monday, February 19th from 11:30 a.m. to noon, CST. During this briefing, Kristen will share a quick update on the NU System's official legislative agenda and what we see as the major issues confronting the Nebraska Legislature this session.
You can register now for the February 19th virtual legislative briefing by clicking here. To sign up to be an NU Advocate and receive ongoing updates on legislative priorities throughout the legislative session, click here.
We also invite you to participate in the seventh annual “I Love NU” Day on Wednesday, March 4, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln. The event is an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and friends and supporters to show support for the university and visit with state senators about the work and impact of the NU System’s four campuses.
Along with the in-person event on Wednesday, March 6, supporters are encouraged to participate in virtual celebration days on social media during the week of March 4-6. A complete schedule of events is available on the “I Love NU” Week webpage.
On behalf of the University of Nebraska System, our four campuses and nearly 50,000 students, thank you for advocating for accessible, affordable higher education in Nebraska.