Nebraska state senators approve rule change

The change allows for only one motion to postpone to be put forward at a time for the rest of this session.
Nebraska lawmakers spent most of today's session debating rule suspension designed to limit the amount of motions to postpone.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 5:55 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska lawmakers spent Tuesday morning and afternoon debating a motion to “suspend the rules.”

State Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard, who is also the chairman of the Rules Committee, introduced the motion to adopt a rule change for the remainder of this session.

The change allows for only one motion to postpone to be put forward at a time for the rest of the 108th Legislature’s first session, rather than allowing several. That’s what happened, Thursday ahead of a cloture vote on LB574, which would ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

The senators passed the rule change Tuesday afternoon 32-13. Omaha State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh put up a motion to reconsider; after much debate, that motion failed 32-15.

Cavanaugh reiterated Tuesday that she won’t stop trying to block LB574.

“I don’t care if you say that I’m a bully. I don’t care if you say that I am selfish. I am not going to stop as long as this body seeks to legislate hate against trans children,” she said. “I am not going to stop. I’ve been very clear for five weeks now of what is required of you as a body.”

Sen. Erdman maintained that he wasn’t trying to silence anyone.

“This is not an amendment to stifle somebody’s ability to speak on a bill. This is not trying to stifle the minority. If that would have been the case, we’d have shut this thing down two months ago. We didn’t do that,” he said. “So I think you’ve had fair and ample time to discuss whatever it is that you wanted to talk about.”

Debate over the rules change seemed to center on what the motion would accomplish and how. Both sides seemed to agree on one thing: that the motion would not speed up the session in any way.

Last week, Speaker John Arch informed the Legislature of extended schedules on Tuesday and Wednesday in order to get through the state’s business.

Noting that he would like to prioritize bills on taxes and the budget, Arch said Tuesday that he anticipates lawmakers can get through about 21 bills, presuming all are filibustered.

Later on Tuesday, the Unicameral unanimously passed the first round of voting on LB276, 46-0. The bill, which was debated last week, aims to increase access to mental health and substance use treatment.

Lawmakers then turned their attention to LB77, which proposes legalized permitless conceal carry.