no. 20: meet cricket
I've really done it now
Long days at home.
I love being at home.
I love working from home.
I’m ready to stay holed up here forever, except for travel.
This weekend I am going on a surprise trip. I know nothing about it, except that the weather will be nice.
Well, I did it, just as I threatened to do! I am a first-time dog owner. Meet Cricket! She is a two-year-old french bulldog/pomeranian mix and she is a quiet, calm little love bug. She has a little pom face and a bully body. I adopted her from Muddy Paws Second Chance Rescue, and it really was love at first sight. She’s a wonderful companion for me. We are looking forward to visiting every patio this summer and going on lots of hikes. Alice, Cricket and I will be also be knocking doors this fall for my re-election. If you see us out and about, say hello.
End of session
The Nebraska Legislature adjourned a bit early, on May 27th. However, we will be reconvening this fall for a special session focused on redistricting once new census data is available. We expect to come back for a week or two in September, but that's about all I know so far.
I’m also stoked to share that my priority bill, LB 260, passed and was signed into law. It adds “caring for a family member with a serious health condition” to the list of reasons that are considered “good cause for voluntarily leaving employment” in our Employment Security Law. In other words, it would allow people who have to leave work for family caregiving needs to receive unemployment.
So what will I be focused on over the summer? Based on reporting from NPR which about made me have to pull the car over, I have introduced LR 198 to examine Nebraska’s practices relating to social security benefits owed to kids in the foster care system.
The Marshall Project and NPR found that in at least 36 states and Washington, D.C., state foster care agencies hire private contractors to comb through case files to find kids entitled to social security benefits, then take that money without notifying the kids, their caretakers, or their attorneys to reimburse the state for care. These agencies collected more than $165 million from these children in 2018 alone. We’ve already found that Nebraska’s state government takes about $2.7 million a year from foster children’s Social Security benefits to help cover the state’s child welfare costs.
My view is that this is state-sanctioned financial abuse of children. The goal of the study will be to get concrete data, propose specific legislation make sure these kids receive the full social security benefits intended for them, and figure out if and how we can get these kids their money back.
All earrings in my shop 5/9 are 20% off this week. The discount automatically applies when you add them to your cart, so there’s no code to remember. I’m also carrying a ton of paper goods and stationery from these amazing small designers across the Midwest. I especially love this Rituals and Wellness Journal.
I’ll be popping up at Dundee Day this year on August 21st. This is my favorite neighborhood event of the year, starting in the morning with pancakes, ending at night with music and a beer garden, plus a parade in the middle. I ought to participate in the parade…but must I? Why don’t I like marching in parades? I don’t know. It feels politically performative which I don’t love, and I know that aversion is also part of the reason I have basically no electoral future in higher office. But I know I ought to do it.
I’m also managing full-stack ecommerce for several candidates, nonprofits, and initiatives now including Adam Morfeld (the bestseller: the Equality Before the Law tee) and Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, the organization behind the ballot initiative to legalize medicinal cannabis in our state, which is set to launch soon. This work has been super fulfilling for me.
Alice started work as a camp counselor at a neighborhood summer camp for young kids yesterday. She hasn’t been in school since the lockdown started in 2020, so it’s been so great for her to be around other kids and also weird for me to have the house to myself during the day again.
I don’t want to jinx it, but I am working on some very cool textile art that I have high hopes for…
More to come. If you know someone who would like this in their inbox, forward it to them and tell your friends to subscribe. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter, too. If you have a question about navigating the system, getting a benefit, or are generally pissed at the government, contact my fed account at firstname.lastname@example.org. Help me pay my rent and validate the work that fulfills me by shopping at 5/9. Get vaccinated, and stay safe!