Two state leaders look back on the legislative session, emphasizing the positive even in the face of some frustration.
Gov. Pete Ricketts calls the just-concluded session a success and is philosophical about the legislature’s override of his immigration bill veto.
“Governors veto bills, occasionally they get overridden. It has happened in the past. It may happen again in the future,” Ricketts tells reporters during a post-session news conference. “Legislatures and governors are not always going to agree, but if you look in the broader picture, we agreed on the vast majority of the bills that passed this year.”
Ricketts counts approval of his property tax relief package and the infrastructure bank as the successes of this session; a legislative session that he insists was a success.
The session ended with a thud for Ricketts.
The legislature voted 31-to-13 to override his veto of LB 947, the bill that would allow the children of illegal immigrants to apply for professional licenses in Nebraska, one vote more than the minimum for override.
Shortly after the override, Ricketts entered the legislative chamber and addressed lawmakers, keeping his speech positive, never mentioning the override.
The session endured more filibusters than ever.
And while the override might have frustrated the governor, the number of filibusters frustrated Speaker Galen Hadley of Kearney.
“Yes, it did. I just worry about getting all the other priority bills through and we had four that we didn’t get done,” Hadley tells Nebraska Radio Network. “And I think part of that is that we had longer filibusters on a number of bills.”
That, despite Hadley’s change in the rules that cut the length of first-round filibusters from eight to six hours.
Hadley still counts the session as a success, saying legislators for the most part accomplished what they came to Lincoln to accomplish.
According to a count by the Lincoln Journal Star, a record 24 filibusters were used in this short, 60-day session. That shattered the previous record of 13 set the year before, a 90-day session. The 24 filibusters targeted 18 bills and one resolution, since a bill can be subjected to a filibuster through each round of debate, including final reading when filibusters are limited to two hours. Nine of the bills survived and were approved after the sponsors succeeded in getting the 33 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster and go to a vote.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]