A bill that would create “Choose Life” specialty license plates advances in the Unicameral after a filibuster is cut short.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha objected to Speaker Jim Sheer’s decision to end his filibuster a couple of hours early on Tuesday.
“Here is the irony of this situation,” Chambers told colleagues during legislative floor debate. “There are those who support this bill who talked about freedom of speech, didn’t they? Didn’t they? Well, my speech is to be curtailed because I feel strongly against this, but I’m the only one who will stand up and speak against it.”
The bill must clear two more rounds to go to the governor. It wins preliminary approval on a 37-to-7 vote. Four senators did not vote.
Sen. Dan Watermeier of Syracuse, the LB 46 sponsor, expects approximately 2,500 Nebraskans to apply for the plates. The money generated would go to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
Chambers and other opponents spoke against the bill, saying it was a blatantly political anti-abortion statement that was unfit to be among the other specialty plates sold by the state.
The debate Tuesday, though, turned more on the decision of the Speaker to cut off debate early, rather than allow it to run for the full six hours before a move could be made to cut off debate and go to a vote.
Sen. Matt Hansen of Lincoln said he’s not sure what impact the move will have on the session.
“However, I do know that that was something we haven’t done before and I wanted to make sure that that was just, without necessarily pushing a lot of judgment on it, just noted for the body and noted for the people watching that that is kind of a new practice and something that we as a body I believe will have to monitor going forward to make sure it is implemented fairly,” Hansen stated during debate.