The Nebraska Legislature adjourned its 2020 session sine die August 13 after having its work interrupted by the pandemic mid-March. Senators debated several important issues this year, including the impact of COVID-19, racial equity, budget sustainability, property taxes and the business incentive package. Despite the unprecedented nature of the session, senators were able to pass a budget, a property tax/business development tax incentive compromise and several early childhood bills.

Six term-limited senators are departing at the end of this year and all are strong proponents of policies supporting quality early learning environments for young children. We thank Senators Jim Scheer, (District 19, Norfolk), Kate Bolz (District 29, Lincoln), Ernie Chambers (District 11, Omaha), Sue Crawford (District 45, Bellevue), Sara Howard (District 9, Omaha) and Rick Kolowski (District 31, Omaha) for supporting early childhood issues during their eight years of service.

We're pleased to report that LB266, FFN's priority bill, passed and was signed into law by Governor Ricketts. Thank you to Senator Brett Lindstrom (District 18, Omaha) for introducing this bill that allows self-employed child care providers and those classified as S-corporations to access the School Readiness Tax Credit program, which provides tiered financial incentives as part of participating in Step Up to Quality, Nebraska's child care quality improvement and rating system.

Other significant bills affecting early childhood this session dealt with federal background checks for early childhood providers, municipal child care financing, perinatal quality improvement, the Nebraska Workforce and Education Reporting System Act and more.