Legislative Round Up, Week 11

Rules Relief

It took 49 days, but on Friday the Nebraska Legislature finally adopted its permanent rules for the session, leaving existing filibuster rules intact.

As noted in the Omaha World Herald:

“At the center of the rules fight was an effort by conservative senators to make it easier to end a filibuster. Under the rules adopted Friday, the filibuster rule remains unchanged. After a specified number of hours, a bill’s sponsor can seek to cut off debate by invoking cloture. It takes the votes of 33 senators, or two-thirds of the Legislature’s 49 senators, for a cloture motion to succeed. If cloture is reached, senators vote immediately on the bill’s advancement. If not, the bill effectively dies. Lawmakers had considered numerous proposals to change the rules, including some that would lower the threshold for invoking cloture and others that would put the burden on those maintaining the filibuster to find votes.”

The Lincoln Journal Star and NET Radio have additional coverage of the adoption of rules.

Final Week of Hearings

Hearings are winding down this week. Next week the Nebraska Legislature will move to all day floor debate. Because debate on the rules occupied so much time during the early part of the session and there is much work to be done, rumor has it that the Speaker intends to make May an entire month of late nights to help ensure priority bills are heard this session. Expect tired Senators, which can lead to crankiness on the floor.

Three bills of note this week:

Wednesday: The Health and Human Services Committee will hear testimony on LB128 (Groene), which would allow for drug tests of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applicants who have a prior drug conviction.

The Revenue Committee will hear testimony on LB373 (Schumacher), which undoes bills that reduced revenue by over $5 million over the past decade.

Thursday: The Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on LR27 (Bolz), which is a resolution stating that “the members of the Legislature believe in protecting refugees regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age or sex and appreciate their contributions to this state.”

Click here for a link to the NET live stream of the hearings.

Speaker Priorities

The Speaker announced his list for priority bills last week. Visit the priority bill page on the Nebraska Legislature website for the complete list of senator, committee and speaker priority bills.


With hearings winding down, the Appropriations Committee will be working hard to develop its budget recommendations for full consideration by the body. To see how the budget process works, click here.

Voter ID

Senators Murante and Morfeld sparred last week in a hearing on LR15CA (Morfeld), which would prohibit requiring a voter to submit an ID prior to voting. As the Lincoln Journal Star notes:

“At issue was Morfeld’s proposed constitutional amendment (LR15CA) to prohibit voter ID mandates, a proposal that he acknowledged was offered in direct response to Murante’s proposal for a constitutional amendment that would clear the path for voter photo ID requirements in Nebraska. Murante’s proposed constitutional amendment (LR1CA) was heard by the committee earlier this month and appears likely to be advanced to the floor of the Legislature.”

Nebraskans for Civic Reform and other CSN members oppose Voter ID.

Medical Cannabis

The Judiciary Committee advanced LB622 (Wishart) to General File last week. This bill permits access to prescribed medical cannabis for serious medical conditions. ACLU of Nebraska supports this bill, among other CSN members. The Lincoln Journal Star has a story on advancement of the bill here.

Charter Schools

The Education Committee heard testimony last week on LB630 (Larson) which would allow public funding for charter schools. The Omaha World Herald covered the hearing.

Stand for Schools and other CSN members oppose this legislation.

“A child without education is like a bird without wings.”

-Tibetan Proverb