A bill mandating that Nebraska students be immunized against meningitis has been killed, by its sponsor.
Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha has shelved the bill in the face of a filibuster against it.
Earlier in the legislative debate, Krist claimed those opposing LB 18 because it’s a mandate were being hypocritical.
“It’s okay, when you personally believe that it’s a public safety issue. It’s okay, when you think we need to put a sign up in an abortion clinic. It’s okay, when we want to put ambulatory surgical restrictions on a clinic that’s associated with abortion,” Krist stated during legislative floor debate. “Well, I think it’s okay that we mandate that this go forward.”
LB 18 would mandate 7th Graders get the first shot to protect against meningitis, with a follow-up shot at age 16.
Opponents, led by Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte, mounted a filibuster against it, stating the bill forced an unneeded mandate against a condition rarely seen in Nebraska.
According to the Mayo Clinic, meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding your brain and spinal cord. Most cases of meningitis in the U.S. are caused by a viral infection, but bacterial and fungal infections also can lead to meningitis, according to Mayo. Depending on the cause of the infection, meningitis can get better on its own in a couple of weeks or it can be a life-threatening emergency requiring urgent antibiotic treatment.
Legislative debate grew testy, at times, something noted by Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion.
“My, some of you woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.”
Smith added he believes senators can disagree on the mandate without questioning their political philosophy.
“But, colleagues, this is not a conservative litmus test. And there have been some on the mic yesterday that I really take issue with that have made this an issue of conservative litmus test,” Smith told his fellow senators.
Groene defended his tactics during debate, telling senators no one should view his opposition as a personal attack on Sen. Krist, the sponsor.
“This isn’t Sen. Groene against Sen. Krist. I don’t care who brought this bill. When I ran for office, I told my voters that I believed in limited government, personal responsibility,” Groene said. “This bill flies in the face of both those principles.”
Groene’s tactic of tying up legislative floor debate worked. After two days of debate, Krist moved to shelve his bill until the end of the session, effectively killing it for this year.