Opponents to Gov. Pete Ricketts efforts to insert language in the budget bill requiring federal Title X funding go only to clinics which do not perform abortions held fast and an effort to override their filibuster failed.
Opponents of the language attempted a compromise during previous budget debate on Wednesday.
No compromise was offered today.
Instead, Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln brought to the floor an amendment to LB 944 which would strip the language from the bill, arguing it was inappropriate to add legislation in an appropriation bill.
Though some opponents charged the governor proposed the language to keep the federal funds from flowing to Planned Parenthood, Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus cast it as a fight between the executive and legislative branches.
“This is terrible precedent, a terrible change, a terrible power grab that can be used over and over again by those who seek to destroy a constitutional system,” Schumacher warned the body during legislative debate Friday.
Nebraska receives $1.7 million in Title X funding. Mostly it funds services such as family planning for the poor, mostly women. It also can be used for cancer screening as well as screening and treatment of sexually transmitted disease.
The funding has been going to 42 clinics throughout Nebraska, serving 28,000 people. Approximately $250,000 goes to three clinics operated by Planned Parenthood.
After the attempt to override the filibuster failed, Legislative Speaker Jim Scheer of Norfolk suggested lawmakers take a step back. He expressed frustration the budget bill didn’t move forward.
“I’m very disappointed in what happened this morning, because we have wasted two hours of your and the state’s time regurgitating things that we have regurgitated no less than probably 10 hours on this floor,” Scheer told senators. “It may be an important issue, but it really has received its fair amount of debate.”
Lawmakers could return to the budget next week.
LB 944 would cut state agencies 2% both this fiscal year and next fiscal year. It would cut the University of Nebraska budget by 2% this fiscal year and 1% next fiscal year.
The bills seek to shore up a state budget passed last year burdened by a drop of state revenue totaling nearly $175 million as well as increased expenses, especially a jump of $55 million in the cost of child welfare services.