An attempt to end a filibuster falls one vote short and a bill that would allow neighborhood watch patrols to use amber lights on their vehicles fails in the legislature.
Debate on the measure didn’t just get lengthy. It got personal.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha led the filibuster.
At one point during flood debate, Chambers claimed Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha, sponsor of LB 399, misrepresented how Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine felt about the bill.
“But you had created and given the impression by what you said, that Mr. Kleine said he was alright with the bill,” Chambers told Lautenbaugh. “And by maintaining that misperception, you engaged in deceiving the legislature.”
It was an accusation Lautenbaugh flatly rejected.
“Members of the body, gosh, I hope somebody was still paying attention to that, because what you just heard was complete and utter nonsense,” Lautenbaugh replied.
The opinion of Kleine became a focal point, because Kleine represented the Nebraska County Attorneys Association on the bill.
LB 399 first proposed that police departments, sheriff’s offices, or other law enforcement would authorize the use of flashing, amber lights on the vehicles of neighborhood watch members. An amendment was introduced that would change who would provide authority for the lights to the county attorneys.
Lautenbaugh called for a cloture vote, needing 33 votes to end the debate and force a vote on the bill. He fell one vote shy. The legislature voted 32-12 on cloture, with four senators abstaining.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]