Nebraska state senators approve rule change

LINCOLN, Nebraska (Nebraska) — Nebraska lawmakers spent Tuesday morning and afternoon debating a proposal to “suspend the rules.”

State Senator Steve Erdman of Bayard, who also chairs the Rules Committee, moved to pass the rule change for the remainder of this session.

This change allows only one postponement proposal to be put forward at a time until the end of the first session of the 108th Legislative Assembly, rather than several. That is exactly what happened on Thursday ahead of a vote to close LB574, which would ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

Senators passed the rule change on Tuesday afternoon 32-13. Omaha State Senator Machaela Cavanaugh offered to reconsider; after much debate, this proposal failed 32-15.

Kavanaugh confirmed on Tuesday that she will not stop trying to block LB574.

“I don’t care if you say I’m a bully. I don’t care if you say I’m selfish. I am not going to stop while this body seeks to legitimize hatred of transgender children,” she said. “I’m not going to stop. For five weeks now, I have been very clear about what is required of you as a body.

Senator Erdman claimed he was not trying to silence anyone.

“This is not an amendment designed to stifle anyone’s ability to speak out on the bill. This is not an attempt to stifle a minority. If that were the case, we would have closed this thing two months ago. We didn’t do it,” he said. “So, I think you had enough time to discuss what you wanted to talk about.

The debate about changing the rules seemed to focus on what and how the movement would achieve. Both sides seem to agree on one thing: this proposal will in no way speed up the meeting.

Last week, Speaker John Arch briefed the Legislature on extended Tuesday and Wednesday schedules to deal with state affairs.

Noting that he would like to prioritize tax and budget bills, Arch said Tuesday that he expects lawmakers to be able to pass about 21 bills, suggesting they are all rigged.

Later on Tuesday, the Unicameral unanimously passed the first ballot at LB276, 46-0. The bill, which was discussed last week, aims to expand access to mental health care and drug addiction treatment.

Lawmakers then turned their attention to LB77, which proposes legalizing concealed carry without a permit.

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