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March 16, 2020

State Update

Updates on Bills in the 2020 Unicameral - Legislative Session Suspended 

Creative Districts - This bill, sponsored by Senator Megan Hunt, was amended into a priority bill (LB780) of Senator John Stinner and the Appropriations Committee. It was well received by the full Legislature in first round of debate; the amendment and bill passed to the second round of three rounds of debate on 37-0 votes.

"Support the Arts" License Plates - Senator Hunt's bill to create an arts-themed specialty license plate was amended into a priority bill (LB944) of Senator Suzanne Geist and the Transportation & Telecommunications Committee while it was on second round, or Select File, debate. This bill also received great support by the Legislature, moving on to Final Reading with a 43-0 vote.  

In light of growing concerns regarding the new coronovirus, COVID-19, Speaker Jim Scheer announced March 16 that the Legislature will be adjourned until his office reconvenes it. We will continue to monitor the session and keep you updated on these bills.

You can learn more about state bills we are monitoring that can impact the arts and arts education at our Advocacy Center

Arts Advocacy - Federal Update 

Congress is working on legislation to support the national economy from the COVID-19 virus pandemic. The arts and creative sector has been profoundly impacted during this time. As they proceed in developing a bill, Americans for the Arts calls upon Congress to do the following:

  • Designate a minimum of $4 billion—to be distributed through the National Endowment for the Arts—to help offset losses in the nonprofit arts industry and expand eligibility through additional federal programs to ensure artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in the creative economy can utilize business interruption relief;

  • Adopt recommendations to temporarily lift specific federal grantmaking restrictions;

  • Ensure that individual artists (and artists who are small businesses) are fully eligible for any individual payments (such as the potential $1,000 per person payments for individuals that is being proposed, as well as any additional payments proposed to small business since so many artists function as small businesses);

  • Ensure that our nation’s 120,000 nonprofit arts organizations, most of which are small businesses, are fully eligible for any small business benefits being incorporated in relief funds; and

  • Make additional sums available to the artists and art organizations that function in the for-profit arts arena as well. Our federal government Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the broader creative sector, combining the nonprofit and for-profit art sectors, has a significant economic activity of $877 billion.

To help you keep updated on the national-level issues affecting the arts, Americans for the Arts has an Arts Mobilization Center, with tools, resources, and information to help you make your case for the arts and arts education. 

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