June 2019
The first session of the 106th Nebraska Legislature adjourned  sine die  May 31. Senators introduced 739 new bills and seven Constitutional amendments during the 90-day session, and passed a biennium budget as required by law. 

Two issues—comprehensive property tax relief and a new business development/tax incentive program—quickly emerged as priorities among a large contingent of senators. They were unable to reach a consensus on either issue and adjourned six days early.

Despite these setbacks, 294 bills became law. Any bill that was not passed or indefinitely postponed will be carried over to the 2020 legislative session.

Budget cuts restored
Across-the-board cuts made to state agencies to balance the budget last year included reductions to early childhood programs. This year's budget restored funding to those programs, including Sixpence (Early Childhood Endowment), the Early Childhood Grant Program and Step Up to Quality child care scholarships and bonuses.

Every year, First Five Nebraska identifies legislation with the potential to impact quality early learning in our state. The Legislation to Watch list for the 2019 legislative session, along with other early childhood bills, are on our website’s  Nebraska Legislation  page.
Be sure to visit our website throughout the summer for updates on interim studies and early childhood news.

Congratulations to graduates of the Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy

The inaugural class of the Nebraska Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy concluded with its May meeting in Gothenburg. The Academy, a non-partisan project of First Five Nebraska, included early childhood professionals, K-12 educators and administrators, economic development leaders and other participants from 21 communities statewide.

During the five-month program, members built skills to engage policymakers and key influencers in conversations about strengthening early childhood infrastructure at the state and local levels. The program emphasized the role of quality early childhood programs in promoting community vitality and economic development.

The Academy is now recruiting applicants for its next class, which will begin in October. If you're interested in learning more about the Policy Leadership Academy or know someone who might be an excellent candidate, please see additional information on our website .

FFN Director Becky Veak honored with
Champions Award from Nebraska Head Start
Nebraska Head Start Association recognized First Five Nebraska Director  Becky Veak  with the Nebraska Champions Award at their regional conference in Kansas City.

Becky began working on early childhood policy in 2007 for Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, bringing with her a wealth of experience gained on Capitol Hill, in state government, the Nebraska Health Care Association and other venues. Becky’s work in early childhood policy led to creation of First Five Nebraska in 2011, and under her leadership it has become a trusted resource for policymakers, state agency partners, educators and business leaders. Congratulations on this well-deserved honor Becky!

Please join us September 16 for an exciting day of learning, sharing and planning as communities from across Nebraska come together to focus on high-quality early childhood education and its connection to economic development and community vitality. This year's conference is in response to statewide calls for assistance, and offers an opportunity to share success stories, learn from each other and develop action plans for implementing high-quality birth-through-grade-3 care and education.

Who should attend?
The conference is intended for community leaders -- including those in education, economic development, child care, business, government, health care, higher education and philanthropy -- who have an interest in learning more about high-quality early childhood education programs and services and their important role in economic development.

Location: Younes Conference Center, Kearney, NE
Time: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Quick Links

Child care providers are often overlooked, but important, small businesses that are critical for state and community growth.

Safe and enriching learning environments for children increases parents' participation in the workforce and allows them to be productive in their work while being confident about their children’s well-being.   

Congratulations  Preschool Learning Academy in York  for winning a  National Head Start Association  grant to create an additional classroom, hire more teachers and improve the center's downtown space.