Legislature Adjourns Divided Session
Lincoln, NE (August 13, 2020) The 60 day session of the Nebraska Legislature for 2020 will go down as unusually divided in more ways than one.
First, it was adjourned after 43 days as a safety measure during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Second, discussions were often marked by bitter divisions between Lawmakers.
Normally, adjournment day is marked by resolutions saluting winning basketball teams, couples celebrating long anniversaries, and congratulating all manner of accomplishments by organizations and awards.
Today’s final day was marked by bitter debate almost to the final hour.
“What the hell is the matter with you people” screamed Bellevue Senator Carol Blood as she argued against Lincoln Senator Suzanne Geist’s bill to ban dismemberment abortion.
Senator Ernie Chambers spent much of the afternoon, segment by segment, with one more lecture on his view of racism in Nebraska. Chambers will retire from Government at the end of this year. He first took office in 1970, served ten terms, sat out four years because of term limits, and has just finished an additional two terms. Age 83, Chambers has let it be known he would not be running for office again.
Bayard Senator Steve Erdman seized the occasion to explain why masks are not only ineffective at preventing Covid-19 but also dangerous to those wearing them.
Governor Pete Ricketts told Senators they had “done the people’s work and accomplished great things” as they focused on important legislation after returning from their Covid imposed recess. He praised the body for passing a 150 page bill that resulted when Property Tax Relief, renewed Business Incentives, and a massive new Hospital for the University of Nebraska Medical Center were combined into a single measure.
Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer, with an emotional edge, thanked not only Senators but also Legislative staffers, incuding several retiring after long careers. He gave particular thanks to the half dozen members of the Legislature finishing up eight years of service, unable to run again due to term limits.