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Recent posts by Johnathan Hladik

Unicameral Update - week of Jan. 23

Welcome back to the Center for Rural Affairs Unicameral Update. We are returning to provide legislative updates from a rural perspective. The 2017 session is a “long” session – legally mandated to be 90 days in length. The Legislature opened on Jan. 4, 2017, and is tentatively scheduled to adjourn on June 2, 2017.

The deadline for bill introduction was Jan. 18. Each bill introduced will be heard in one of 14 standing committees. Committee hearings begin in mid-January and last through early March.

Below is a selection of priority bills we are following.

Big issues for Nebraska and Iowa in 2017

Elected representatives in Nebraska and Iowa will debate a host of contentious issues during the 2017 legislative session. Important items to be debated include budget and tax, health care, energy and environment, and food and agriculture. This article is a preview of select topics that will receive our attention.

Relevant developments concerning priority legislation will be shared via the Center for Rural Affairs Legislative Update.

Nebraska's Health Insurance Coverage Gap

Nebraska is one of 19 states that has not expanded Medicaid. The people who are most affected by this state government's decision to not expand Medicaid are the folks who fall into the “coverage gap.”

The U.S. Census Bureau's 2014 American Community Survey estimates that there are about 201,000 Nebraskans without health insurance, of which 118,000 are employed. Medicaid expansion covers those uninsured Nebraskans who fall into the “coverage gap.”

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Latino Rural Population Growing

Our home state of Nebraska has seen significant immigrant growth since the first wave in 1980s, and now has one of the fastest growing Latino populations in the nation. A recent report by the University of Nebraska projects the Latino population will reach 24% of the state’s population by 2050.

Furthermore, 43% of this growth has occurred in rural Nebraska. The majority population in some towns has shifted to Latino. For instance, Lexington, Nebraska, is now 60% Latino and Schuyler, Nebraska, is 65% Latino.

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