Elected officials in Nebraska could use campaign funds to pay for child care under a bill heard Feb. 16 by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
LB930, introduced by Omaha Sen. Megan Hunt, would expand the allowable uses of campaign funds to include child care expenses for both the officeholder and their staff when the individual is involved in official duties.
Currently, campaign funds can be used for travel and meals but not for child care, Hunt said.
“It makes no sense that I could use my campaign funds to take the entire Legislature out for drinks after this hearing but I can’t use those same funds [that] I worked so hard for to bring my kid with me to a Council of State Governments conference,” she said. “I can even take my staff to those events, but I can’t take my kid.
Denise Powell of She’s Electable Nebraska testified in support of the bill, saying finding quality child care is expensive and difficult. Allowing a candidate to use their campaign funds to take care of their children would help ease burdens on lower-income candidates and single parents, she said.
“Nebraska needs to look for innovative ways to build the workforce of public servants,” Powell said.
Julie Wertheimer of the ACLU of Nebraska also testified in support. She said Nebraska has fewer women in office than most states and allowing child care expenses to be paid with campaign funds would empower more women to run for office.
“Given the expense of child care and the low salaries for state senators, this bill is critical to ensuring that Nebraskans of all genders and all kinds of families can pursue public office,” Wertheimer said.
No one testified in opposition to LB930 and the committee took no immediate action on it.