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May 6, 2021
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Senator Megan Hunt Introduces Legislative Resolution Addressing Government Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
Resolution introduced in response to LR 107, a blatantly partisan resolution signed by 31 state senators
Lincoln, Nebraska – State Senator Megan Hunt is concerned but amused by the precedent set by Senator Mike Groene and the thirty other state senators who cosponsored LR 107, including attorneys Speaker Mike Hilgers, Senator and former Speaker Mike Flood, Senator Tom Briese, and Senator Matt Williams. LR 107 is a blatantly partisan and frivolous resolution, which relates to subjects including election laws and voting rights, free exercise of religion, federalism and sharing of powers with the federal government, states’ rights as provided in the 9th and 10th Amendments, First Amendment rights, Second Amendment rights, healthcare and vaccines and the right to assemble and travel, a rejection of “vaccine passports,” and the private use of land and water. In keeping with this precedent set by Senator Groene and the thirty cosponsors of LR 107, Senator Hunt has introduced LR 121 to condemn the spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic from some government leaders and to commend the work of those elected officials, public health leaders, front line workers and medical personnel who have sacrificed greatly to provide a robust response to the pandemic for the health and safety of the public.
LR 121 is the second in a series of legislative resolutions Senator Hunt is introducing in response to LR 107. “I ask the members of the body who signed onto LR 107 to read it carefully and remove their names, and I call on the members of the Executive Board to exercise integrity and keep this bad resolution from advancing to the floor”, said Hunt. A hearing on LR 107 will be held today at noon at the Capitol.
“Resolutions are not frivolous, and any resolution passed by the Nebraska Legislature may have consequential legal significance. We do not know how or whether another governmental body will interpret any given resolution we pass, whether that body is another state legislature, a state or federal court, or a governor or attorney general. Resolutions we pass, including the embarrassing and poorly-written LR 107, could be interpreted by courts as binding, or at a minimum, as formal findings of the Legislature on the particular subjects implicated in the resolution. For that reason, the thirty-one senators who sponsored LR 107 should be aware of the precedent they are setting and the door they are opening for blatantly partisan governance that does not reflect the values of Nebraskans,” Hunt said.
Additionally, LR 107 raises concerns about legislative leaders circumventing rules and procedures in the officially nonpartisan Unicameral. LR 107 was originally correctly referenced to the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs committee according to legislative rules and established history. However, the Executive Board, which has the final word on where bills and resolutions are referenced, moved LR 107 to their committee in an apparent attempt to route the measure away from the Government Committee, where LR 107 would not have garnered the votes necessary to advance. The introduction of LR 121 follows a motion by Hunt last week to re-reference LR 107 in accordance with good governance, which failed to gather enough votes to pass. Nebraskans should be concerned about this precedent of “committee shopping,” moving bills and resolutions into committees where the political majority is likely to get a favorable outcome.
Sponsors of LR 107 include: Senators Mike Groene (introducer), Ray Aguilar, Joni Albrecht, John Arch, Bruce Bostelman, Tom Brandt, Tom Brewer, Tom Briese, Rob Clements, Myron Dorn, Steve Erdman, Mike Flood, Curt Friesen, Suzanne Geist, Tim Gragert, Steve Halloran, Ben Hansen, Mike Hilgers, Robert Hilkemann, Dan Hughes, Brett Lindstrom, Lou Ann Linehan, John Lowe, Mike McDonnell, Mike Moser, Dave Murman, Rich Pahls, Rita Sanders, Julie Slama, John Stinner, and Matt Williams.
A copy of the resolution is attached.