State lawmakers wouldn’t give him what he wanted, so Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha made them pay on the last day of the legislative session.
Chambers, angry that twice state legislators failed to give him the votes to overturn a veto of his bill to ban the hunting of mountain lions, slowed legislative work to a crawl on the 60th day of the 60-day legislative session.
“What some think was the end of the war will turn out to be what is called a Pyrrhic victory. You waste all of your resources and you win a battle, but you have so weakened yourself that you then lose the war.,” Chambers told the legislature, adding a warning, “The war is not over.”
Chambers vowed to continue his effort to ban the hunting of mountain lions during next year’s legislative session.
Chambers turned what should have been a quick succession of final votes into a day-long affair, speaking on each bill before allowing them to come to a final vote.
Chambers’ bill to ban mountain lion hunts, LB 671, initially passed on a 31-5 vote. Opposition mounted against the measure, though. An agreement ended a threatened filibuster against on final reading, a rarity in the Unicameral. It eventually passed on a 28-13 vote, two votes short of the total needed to override a veto.
Chambers twice moved to override the veto and twice fell just short of the votes needed. On the final try, Chambers claimed he had been deceived by legislators who promised him to vote to override the veto, but failed to live up to their promises.
The legislature gave authorization to the Game and Parks Commission to hold mountain lion hunts in 2012 on a 49-0 vote.
Two male mountain lions were taken in the first hunt authorized by Game and Parks this year.
One hunter paid more than $13,000 for one permit. A teen-ager won the second permit through a lottery.
The second hunt ended when a female mountain lion was taken.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]