LB 128 passed two rounds of debate only to be derailed on final reading.
The bill passed the first round 31-12, then passed the second round on a voice vote.
Normally, bills that make it to the final round pass easily, often without comment.
Sen. Al Davis of Hyannis, a vocal opponent of the bill, took the unusual step of speaking against the bill when it came up for final consideration on Thursday. Davis argued the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act had not had enough time to prove its effectiveness.
Sheridan County, which is located in Davis’ senatorial district, is the only county to take advantage of the act, which allows counties to act aggressively to eradicate prairie dog colonies considered a nuisance with or without the property owner’s permission.
The law draws support from western Nebraska ranchers who consider prairie dogs a pest, which can cause extensive damage to their property.
Chambers has called it a violation of property rights and questioned its constitutionality.
Chambers acknowledged Davis played according to the rules, but he threatened payback.
“And I’m in a position where if I decide I’m going to extend clemency to a bill I can do that. If I want to be merciful to a bill, I can do that,” Chambers warned colleagues during legislative floor debate. “I am the supreme executioner. So, I’m the one you are going to have to appeal to.”
Chambers chose not to move for cloture, a motion to cut off debate and force a vote on the bill. Only two hours were allocated for debate on the bill. Davis successfully ran the clock on the bill.
Sen. Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins objected to the procedure Davis used, stating it set a bad precedent for the Unicameral. Bloomfield said he would try to find a way to resurrect LB 128.
Though Davis took an unusual step, his action was defended by Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha who made a veiled reference to how Chambers often uses legislative rules to his advantage.
“And, as the old maxim goes, live by the sword, die by the sword,” McCoy stated. “Also, live by the rules, die by the rules.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]