The political process is in full swing at the state and federal levels. Below are updates and opportunities for you to advocate for the arts.

STATE UPDATE

There were 667 bills introduced by state senators in the Nebraska Legislature. We have initially identified 28 bills that we are watching that may impact the arts and arts education. Find information on these bills HERE; we will update why we are monitoring the bills and their status throughout the legislative session.

Included in these bills are budget proposals for the state's current remaining fiscal year (through June 30th) and for the next two years (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2019).

Collected tax revenue has been below forecasts. Most agencies, including the Nebraska Arts Council, have received budget reductions averaging 4% for both the remaining current fiscal year and the next biennium budget. The Appropriations Committee report on the main budget bill should be given to the full Legislature by March 15th; the budget negotiation process will likely continue through the end of the legislative session.

We ask that you take action by:

Also, talk with your state senator directly on Arts Advocacy Day, February 9th.

Arts Advocacy Day is the one day each year that arts advocates, organization leaders, and patrons come together to speak with our Nebraska legislators about the importance of supporting the arts and arts education in our state. Registration is only $15 to cover the cost of the continental breakfast and refreshments at all three events. All are welcome to attend! Click here to register.

  • Arts Advocacy Breakfast | 8:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m. | Room 1023, State Capitol
  • Using Data to Make Your Case for the Arts - Panel Presentation | 10:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m. | State Office Building, Lincoln
  • Lunch n' Learn - Tools for Supporting Arts & Creative Industries | noon-1:15 p.m. | Nonprofit Hub, 14th @ P Street, Lincoln

Added! - Nebraska Arts Council/Humanities Nebraska Workshops
These free workshops are for people interested in learning about grant programs and grant writing skills. Registration for each workshop is strongly recommended but not required. Please RSVP 24 hours in advance via Survey Monkey or email nac.grants@nebraska.gov.

  • Grant Basics & Program Information | 1:30 p.m.-2:15 p.m. | Nonprofit Hub, 14th & P Street, Lincoln
  • Beyond the Basics: Grant Writing Tips & Techniques | 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. | Nonprofit Hub, 14th & P Street, Lincoln


FEDERAL UPDATE

In early January, an article in The Hill stated that the Trump transition team staff intended to recommend that the president eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as well as privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

This is a decades-old proposal from the politically conservative Heritage Foundation, according to Americans for the Arts' President and CEO, Bob Lynch. It is expected to be included in this year’s Congressional House Budget Resolution, as it has been in previous years. However, it would be much more serious if it were also proposed by the Trump administration.

Funding from the NEA, NEH and CPB have enabled enriching arts experiences, educational support for our young people and access to art and cultures to individuals and communities that might not otherwise have them for more than 50 years. Federal funding for arts and culture has also provided the seed money for entrepreneurial artists and arts organizations that have grown into strong contributors to local community life across our state.

According to Money Magazine, the annual NEA cost to each American taxpayer is 46¢, but the cuts to our state arts would be very significant - 35% of the $2.3 million the Nebraska Arts Council distributes in grant funds are from the NEA.

The new Administration and Congress are likely to swiftly pass the President's first budget in the next three months, including sweeping changes in programs and priorities. Make your voice heard now by taking the following steps:

To help further explain what is—or isn't—happening right now, Americans for the Arts has prepared a few FAQs from questions the staff have already fielded.

The time for arts advocates to act is NOW. Recruit your friends and family today.