Signed state budget includes additional funding for Sixpence
Governor Pete Ricketts signed the state budget bill for FY2021/22 - FY2022/23 into law April 26, which includes a funding increase for Sixpence, Nebraska's signature effort to help parents guide the healthy development of their infants and toddlers. Sixpence will receive an additional $2.5 million each of the next two years, building on $5 million in existing annual appropriations from the General Fund.

State Senator John Stinner (District 48, Gering) proposed the funding increase in LB342 this session. Stinner, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, said Sixpence has been an asset to Scotts Bluff County and he hopes other parts of the state will be able to benefit from the grant-funded programs. Read blog post

LB351: Governor Ricketts also signed LB351 into law this month, allowing child care providers to retain their quality rating in Step Up to Quality if they decide to grow their businesses to serve more children. This is great news for many parents and communities across Nebraska dealing with a serious shortage of quality child care options. Read blog post

LB485: Senators have advanced LB485 to Select File, the second round of debate. Senator Wendy DeBoer's (District 10, Bennington) bill would use federal funds to help remobilize Nebraska's workforce in the wake of COVID-19 by expanding eligibility for the child care subsidy and transitional child care assistance. The bill was amended to include a three-year sunset and a provision requiring an evaluation of the impact of the income eligibility changes. Read FFN's testimony on LB485

The pace is picking up in the Legislature with about 20 days remaining in the session. There will be a push to address a number of senators' priority bills remaining on General File, and several tax-related bills will consume debate time so some late nights are likely as senators work toward a June 10 (tentative) final adjournment.

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