The latest attempt to repeal the state motorcycle helmet law cannot overcome a familiar opponent.
As with past efforts to lift the motorcycle helmet law, LB 900 fell to the filibuster. Sen. Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins, the bill’s sponsor, failed to get the 33 votes needed to end debate and force a vote on the bill. Bloomfield got 30 votes on his cloture motion.
Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete argued in favor of the bill.
“Ultimately, all we need to do is look at the question of liberty, I think, and whether or not government ought to be engaged in more and more and more restrictions of our liberty,” Ebke told colleagues during legislative floor debate. “I believe in personal liberty. I think people have the right to be stupid. I believe that we have the freedom to make mistakes and to learn from our mistakes.”
The bill also would have created the Brain Injury Trust Fund through a $19 increase in the motorcycle registration fee.
Sen. Robert Hilkemann of Omaha, a retired podiatrist, defended his role in leading the filibuster against those who questioned his political allegiance.
“It was challenged that I’m not a conservative, that I’m not a Republican, because I’m leading this filibuster,” Hilkemann said. “Well, folks, I have been in the healthcare profession. I have seen the damages of head injuries and I know what the cost of head injuries are.”
The bill would have lifted the helmet requirement for those 21 and older. It would have banned children eight and younger from riding on motorcycles on public roads.
Bloomfield pleaded with colleagues to vote against the filibuster and move to a vote on his bill.
“We need to pass this legislation,” Bloomfield said. “As I said before, I won’t be here to bring it again, but if we don’t pass it this year, it will be back next year and the year after and the year after.”
Sen. Mike Gloor of Grand Island doesn’t expect supporters to give up.
“And I have no doubt it will come back and back and back and hopefully it will be defeated every time it comes back and back and back,” Gloor said.
Filibusters have been used effectively by opponents of repeal to keep the motorcycle helmet law intact. The cloture vote today was 30-17 with two senators excused and not voting.