One state senator complains about the lack of debate on budget bills, another senator champions his ability to prolong debate, while the Speaker worries that time is running out.
Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte tells colleagues budget debate falls short.
“We need to debate this. This is the modern era. We are on television. We are on the computer,” Groene says during second round debate on a couple of budget bills. “The old days of doing things in the back room and then leaving it there and making the deals should be over with.”
Groene complains that the Unicameral has debated whether to grant prostitutes immunity in an effort to crack down on human trafficking for hours and has spent six hours discussing mountain lion hunting, but has spent less than two hours debating changes to the $8.6 billion dollar state budget.
The complaint about mountain lion hunting brings Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha to his mic.
“Sen. Groene was distressed, because people discussed mountain lions for a good period of time,” Chambers responds. “That’s because I’m going to make them do it and we’re going to discuss it some more.”
As such debate chews up precious time, Speaker Galen Hadley of Kearney says he can’t remember a time when all the priority bills didn’t make it to the floor.
“I believe, I was trying to remember, I do not believe in the last seven years I’ve been here that we have not cleaned the slate on priority bills; meaning that every priority bill had a chance to be heard on General File. I have serious doubts that that will continue this year,” Hadley tells legislators.
Hadley totals 48 priority bills still awaiting debate. Depending on how you count, there are only 11 legislative days remaining to consider them. Three additional days are held out in April to consider any gubernatorial vetoes.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1 min.]