Legislative Speaker Greg Adams wasn’t surprised by how the legislative session ended.
Adams notes the session began with filibusters and ended with filibusters.
“When you have a legislative body, a deliberative body, like ours that is one house, one house with fairly loose rules, you put everybody together, it is going to be a little bit rambunctious,” Adams tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “It was a difficult session, no question about it, for a host of reasons, many of which we talked about earlier in the session and it continued to be difficult along the way. But, in terms of productivity, we got a lot done.”
Among the accomplishments, according to Adams, were tax cuts, prison reform, and water sustainability.
Adams says it is doubtful this past legislative session featured more filibusters and stalling tactics than usual. It just seemed that way at times as talk extended well into the evenings and little got done over long stretches of the short, 60-day session.
Adams says there could have been even more filibusters. He recalls cautioning a few inexperienced senators against waging filibusters on certain legislation they didn’t like.
“It is a rule that is available to you, a methodology that is available to you. But, first of all ask yourself, does the bill that you want to take on and potentially filibuster rise to the level of a filibuster? Or is it a, one amendment, three or four times at the microphone, and vote red,” Adams says he told the senators. “And I think the body, to some extent, has to learn to make that distinction.”
Adams cautions against laying a lot of the blame for a lack of production this legislative session on Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, who extended the final day of the legislative session by angrily denouncing the Unicameral’s failure to pass his bill to end the hunting of mountain lions.
Adams does agree Chambers gummed up the works a number of times with filibusters and stalling tactics.
“Oh, gosh, you know we all get frustrated with Sen. Chambers at times, but quite honestly, I could name half a dozen other senators that had plenty of time at the mic that carried forth filibusters on bills that put up a lot of amendments on different bills that I could be equally frustrated with,” according to Adams.
Seventeen state senators say good-bye to the Unicameral, including Speaker Adams. Term limits will usher them out, at least for one legislative term.
Adams says he hopes those who return next year learn something from this session.
“Of course, there are good people out here on the floor who will carry on and maybe, as difficult as this session was, there were a lot of lessons in it that won’t be replicated next year.”
Despite the difficulties, Adams says he doesn’t regret being one of the few Nebraskans to serve as Speaker of the Legislature.