A new legislature begins work today with a new Speaker, likely to face some old issues.
Outgoing Speaker Galen Hadley of Kearney says one of the toughest issues he faced was the disciplining of members.
“The problem you have is when you start disciplining, then you’re making a decision is this outrageous enough to discipline or is it not?” Hadley tells Nebraska Radio Network, adding that then the issue becomes whether the Speaker made the right decision.
Hadley fielded several complaints about Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, about his “rambling” on the floor and controversial statements about police. Hadley admonished Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion for a column he wrote, comparing institutions such as the legislature to monkeys trained not to disrupt the status quo.
But, that wasn’t the biggest test.
Hadley, along with Gov. Pete Ricketts, asked Kintner to resign after it came to light he used a state-owned laptop computer to engage in cybersex while traveling on business. Kintner refused. Sen. Chambers has vowed to bring the issue up throughout the upcoming session.
Chambers himself faces a challenge to his residency brought by his opponent in the last election.
Hadley said he deal with the issues as best he could all while trying to keep the Unicameral focused on its work.
“It’s kind of like being the engineer on a train. I don’t get to say what’s on the train, but the job was to get the train to the station on time and intact and not damaged,” according to Hadley.
“Do you think you did that?” We asked.
“Yes, I do.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]