Nebraska campaign submits signatures for paid sick leave ballot initiative 

Paid Sick Leave for Nebraskans submitted more than 138,000 signatures for verification on June 27 in hopes of qualifying a ballot initiative that would require businesses to provide earned paid sick leave for employees—up to seven days for businesses of at least 20 employees and five days for fewer than 20 employees. Employees would earn one hour of paid sick time per 30 hours worked. A similar initiative in Missouri that would enact earned paid sick time and increase the state’s minimum wage also recently filed signatures on May 1. 

In Nebraska, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is equal to 7% of registered voters as of the deadline for filing signatures. Because of the unique signature requirement based on registered voters, Nebraska is also the only state where petition sponsors cannot know the exact number of signatures required until they are submitted. The latest voter registration statistics published by the Nebraska secretary of state on May 24 show 1,231,797 registered voters, making the signature requirement 86,226.

Nebraska law also features a distribution requirement mandating that petitions contain signatures from 5% of the registered voters in each of two-fifths (38) of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

The deadline for initiative campaigns to submit signatures is July 3.

The campaign is endorsed by the ACLU of Nebraska, Nebraska Appleseed Action Fund, Nebraska Civic Engagement Table, and Nebraska State AFL-CIO.

Ten other ballot initiatives, including one veto referendum, are collecting signatures. The topics include abortion, medical and recreational marijuana, the state’s education scholarship program, and taxes.

Between 2010 and 2022, an average of eight initiatives were filed each election cycle with an average of one certified for the ballot. There are currently no measures certified for the 2024 ballot in Nebraska.

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