LB 18 appears dead for the session.
The bill would have required that students entering the seventh grade be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis. The students would have had to receive a booster when they reached 16.
The proposal ran into the same opposition it did last year. Opponents dubbed it an unnecessary mandate by the state.
Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha, the bill’s sponsor, said its adoption would save lives. Toward the end of six hours of legislative floor debate, Krist stated he understood the philosophical arguments used against his bill, but argued the science of prevention should prevail.
“Don’t vote for cloture; don’t vote for the bill. Vote for cloture; don’t vote for the bill. Whatever you want to do,” Krist told colleagues. “This is science versus opinion and philosophy.”
Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte led the filibuster. He argued state officials should educate Nebraskans about the benefits of the vaccine, not mandate it.
“Their job is to tell and inform parents and children and then give them the choice. That’s what the ones who work hard at their job do,” Groene stated. “It’s easier to mandate; just walk in, slap something in their arm, send them out the door, go to lunch.”
Groene further argued that requiring the vaccination would be a drastic step to prevent a disease that statistically affects very few.
Legislators voted 29-to-14 to end debate and move to a vote of the bill, four votes shy of the total needed to end the filibuster. Two senators didn’t vote.