Days 22 through 25 of the Legislative session (February 8-11) consisted of a lot of “consent calendar” action. As I’ve discussed before, “consent calendar” items typically represent what one might consider “routine” or “non-controversial” bills. Typically they’re extensions of current programs, minor revisions to existing law, authorizing updates to practices based on changed technology, etc. On Monday, we moved 13 Select File consent calendar items to Final Reading, as well as 5 non-consent items to Final Reading. One of my bills will be on Final Reading the next time we have that on the calendar–LB270, which is a bill that I carried for the Department of Labor.
It appears that several more of my bills will be on Consent Calendar a bit later, as well.
Consent calendar limits debate of the bill to 15 minutes (we typically take less time), and any three members of the legislature request that it be taken off of the Consent calendar, it will be (so that it can be put on the regular agenda for longer debate).
Tuesday was a “make-up day” for the “snow day” we’d had the week before. We checked in early on Tuesday morning, but weren’t in session on the floor. Committee hearings which were scheduled for the previous Tuesday afternoon were held in the morning, with our regular afternoon hearing scheduled after lunch.
Wednesday was taken up primarily with LB188–Senator Watermeier’s bill which seeks to define “innocent third parties” who are injured during a vehicular pursuit by law enforcement. This bill was filibustered, but ultimately (after 6 hours) moved from General to Select File. I suspect that there will be some discussions about the tightening up of language at that point. The point of this bill is to limit liability to cities, counties, and the state, should law enforcement engage in a pursuit that results in the injury to someone in the fleeing vehicle who is not the driver.
Thursday was “our Friday” last week. We moved a number of General File committee bills, and then came to a screeching halt when we reached LB970. LB970 is Senator Larson’s “gambling bill.” The debate centered on several things–among them, whether or not provisions of the bill (which, when amended, would actually be three bills combined into one) are contrary to Nebraska’s prohibition on gambling (limited gaming is still allowed); whether the adaptations to some of the constitutional forms of gaming cause it to be unconstitutional, and so on. Senator Chambers attempted a “kill” motion on the floor. Debate stretched into the noon hour, and the legislature adjourned before a vote could be taken.
We have Monday off (state Holiday–Presidents Day), and go back into session at 10 on Tuesday. We have a bunch of Consent Calendar items, followed by some Select File items. We may or may not get back to LB970 before Wednesday.
Senator Laura Ebke