Mountain lion hunting might well continue in Nebraska.
The Unicameral has fallen short of the votes needed to override Gov. Dave Heineman’s veto of LB 671, which would strip authority from the Game and Parks Commission to schedule mountain lion hunting seasons.
Still, the issue remains alive this legislative session.
After the initial vote of 25-21-1 fell five votes short of the total needed for an override, the sponsor of the measure, Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, changed his vote from “Yes” to “Not voting” which allows him to move to reconsider the vote.
The motion by Chambers to override the veto took up plenty of legislative floor debate.
Sen. Tommy Garrett of Bellevue told colleagues they are trying to micro-manage a state agency.
“We have a parks and games commission for a reason,” Garrett said. “Those are the experts. Let them do their jobs and if they’re not doing their jobs, let’s hold them accountable.”
The legislature gave Game and Parks authority to hold mountain lion hunts in 2012 on a unanimous vote.
Sen. Al Davis of Hyannis said repeal of that authority sends an odd message.
“What kind of policy is that? Are we going to micro manage every department here?” Davis asked. “We’ve got experts at Game and Parks that know what they’re doing.”
Sen. Chambers told colleagues his opposition to mountain lion hunts is a deeply held principle and that he will use any means necessary to end the hunts.
“And since I took this as my priority and did not take the death penalty bill even to make a point which would have been in itself pointless, I am going to watch and see how we behave,” Chambers said. “If I don’t get mine, then you don’t get yours.”
Chambers, during his close, argued there is no need for the hunts.
“Nobody has demonstrated a need to hunt these animals. I say they are regal and they are and I don’t think they should be made available for people who kill for the love of killing and those who hunt them have admitted that’s what it is. They want a trophy. They want a chance to shoot one of these beautiful animals.”
Chambers said afterward that he has not decided when he might call for a reconsideration of the veto override vote.