Speaker of the Legislature, Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk, claimed on Friday some legislators lied to him and told lawmakers they need to grow up in wake of another failure to pass the budget.
Legislators returned to debate on Legislative Bill 944 on Friday after a dispute over language directing the spending of Title X funding prevented the bill from advancing on Wednesday.
The outcome remained the same. A filibuster held, and the bill failed to advance to Final Reading.
In wake of the failure, Speaker Scheer had a message for the Unicameral.
“This body has lost the concept of giving your word as your bond,” Scheer told lawmakers during an address from the legislative floor.
Scheer scolded those he said promised to support moving the budget forward in exchange for debate on Title X funding.
“Quit playing games,” Scheer said, his voice rising as he spoke. “You won’t be trusted. Some of you aren’t trusted, simply because of that.”
Legislators spend two more hours debating Title X Friday.
Gov. Pete Ricketts inserted the Title X language in the budget. It directs that the federal funding cannot go to any clinics which provide abortions, a provision critics contend is aimed directly at Planned Parenthood.
Opponents further claim such language doesn’t belong in a budget bill, while others see it as an attempt by the Executive Branch to interfere with the duties of the Legislative Branch.
Nebraska receives $1.7 million in Title X money from the federal government. It funds clinics which serve 28,000 poor Nebraskans, primarily women, mainly for family planning, but also for cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Planned Parenthood receives $250,000 to perform family planning services at its three Nebraska clinics. Federal law stipulates it cannot be used to perform abortions.
Supporters of the language say it would guarantee taxpayer money would not be spent to perform abortions. They contend a state audit discovered the co-mingling of funds at a Planned Parenthood clinic, which could have led to the federal funds being used to pay for abortions.
Gov. Ricketts has stated Planned Parenthood can receive federal funding if it separates its family planning clinic from its abortion clinic.
Scheer told both sides of the Title X controversy he expects them to reach a compromise.
“We need to grow up. We need to do our jobs, quit isolating ourselves and start working together.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]