NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Steve Erdman

Sen. Steve Erdman

District 47

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at serdman@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 5th, 2022

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 47th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.

Sincerely,
Sen. Steve Erdman

John L. Canley.jpg

As our national anthem says, the United States of America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. As Americans we never tire of sharing those stories of fearless bravery which have provided us with freedom and protected our liberties for almost 250 years, especially against foreign oppressors. As we enter into the Memorial Day weekend, one of those stories I have read of valiant bravery has finally come to a peaceful end. It is the story of Marine Corps sergeant, John Lee Canley.

John Lee Canley was born on December 20, 1937 in Caledonia, Arkansas. He was only 15 years old when he got the urge to become a soldier. Because he was too young, he used his older brother’s papers to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. The plan worked. After boot camp Canley served in South Korea and Japan before getting shipped off to the war in Vietnam.

On January 30, 1968 the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese People’s Army of Vietnam launched the Tet Offensive. The Tet Offensive consisted of surprise attacks on more than 100 cities and towns countrywide on the day of the Vietnamese lunar new year. The strategy was to spread out U.S. air and sea defenses, essentially rendering them useless and ineffective. It was a brilliant plan, save for the valor and effectiveness of U.S. ground forces.

The very next day John Lee Canley along with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines was loaded onto a truck and sent to reinforce soldiers under siege in Hue City. On the way, the convoy came under a barrage of enemy sniper fire. In one town the troops were forced to dismount and clear the houses on both sides of the main street through heavy house-to-house combat. During the street fighting company commander, Captain Gordon Batcheller, was wounded and could no longer lead his troops in battle.

Together with sergeant Alfredo Cantu Gonzales, sergeant John Lee Canley, assumed command of Alpha company. The fighting intensified again in the afternoon. Despite being wounded Canley crossed fire-swept terrain several times to carry his own wounded Marines to safety. Finally, at 3:15 p.m. they reached their destination, the compound at the Military Assistance Command Vietnam in Hue City.

One month later, on February 6, 1968, during the Battle of Hue City Canley’s unit came under intense fire at a hospital compound. Canley’s men would later testify about how they saw sergeant Canley scale a wall in full view of the enemy twice in order to carry wounded Marines to safety.

The Battle of Hue City continued for almost another month until Allied forces finally drove out the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese People’s Army of Vietnam on March 2, 1968. In the end the Allies lost 668 men in the battle while another 3,707 were wounded.

John Lee Canley was initially awarded the Navy Cross for his acts of valor at the Battle of Hue City; however, at a White House ceremony on October 17, 2018 President Donald Trump upgraded the award by issuing him the Marine’s Medal of Honor. Canley did not get very many opportunities to display that award around his neck because cancer took him earlier this month. On May 11, 2022 Sergeant Major John Lee Canley (retired) died at his daughter’s home in Bend, Oregon.

I share the story of Sergeant John Lee Canley with you today in hopes that you might gain better appreciation for the tremendous cost that our men and women in uniform have paid to secure our freedoms. Many of these stories never get told, yet many of those who have gone to battle for us have displayed unspeakable courage and unfathomable fearlessness in the face of the enemy. So, let us honor them this year by telling their stories and remembering the sacrifices they have made for the cause of liberty. Remember that all gave some, but some gave all.

The Nebraska primary election is now over. This year’s primary election will likely go down in history as one of Nebraska’s nastiest primary elections ever, especially in regards to the gubernatorial race. Now that the election is over, Republican party leaders are especially facing the very difficult task of trying to unify the party before the general election comes later this fall. This will be a very difficult task considering the kinds of campaign tactics that were employed, some of the statements that were made, and the nature of the allegations that were lodged against Jim Pillen’s opponents.

In order for true and genuine reunification to occur some of the campaign tactics that were employed in this year’s race will need to be honestly addressed and dealt with. For instance, Gov. Ricketts funneled $1.13 million through an organization called Conservative Nebraska in order to fund attack adds against gubernatorial candidates Brett Lindstrom and Charles W. Herbster. How can the sitting governor, who funded attack adds against fellow Republicans, now issue a call for party unity?

Besides placing campaign signs directly over Herbster’s signs, Jim Pillen, Pete Ricketts, and campaign manager, Jessica Flanagan, closely followed the Biden campaign playbook. That playbook begins by accusing your opponent of not paying his taxes, then making a campaign add suggesting that your opponent cannot make good gubernatorial decisions unless he has children. Then, shortly before the election you recruit someone to make accusations of sexual impropriety, then you follow that up with an add suggesting that your opponent must be a pedophile because he judged beauty contests.

That’s only the beginning. Next, you hide your candidate in the basement and keep him away from public debates, so that the voting public won’t know about his past voting record as a UN Regent, or where he stands on important issues, or what kinds of policy decisions he would make, or what his priorities would be as governor. After watching him perform at his first debate, I understand why the decision was made to pull him from all future debates.

Finally, you encourage Herbster’s former running mate, Theresa Thibodeau, to place her name on the ballot in order to take votes away from Herbster. Then, one week before the election you send six mailers a day to every registered Republican in the state reiterating all of the accusations you’ve made against the opponent. Then on election day you have your candidate come out of the basement, vote, and attend his victory party! That is the Biden strategy, and it worked like a charm!

In 1966 California gubernatorial candidate, Ronald Reagan, codified what has become known as the Eleventh Commandment. The Eleventh commandment says: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” Team Pillen forgot about this rule; instead, statements were made by party leaders that run completely counter to the kind of party unity they now seek.

Had Herbster won the primary election, I believe Ricketts would have circulated a petition to put the name of an independent candidate of his own choosing on the general election ballot, and I have a very good idea about who that person would have been. The swamp runs very deep in Lincoln, and Ricketts knows that Herbster would have drained it.

In 2016 Gov. Ricketts endorsed my opponent in the legislative race for the 47th district seat. For that, I am glad. I attended Herbster’s watch party last Tuesday evening. When he addressed his audience and announced that had called Jim Pillen to congratulate him on his victory, he encouraged his supporters to continue working to make Nebrasksa great again. Instead of making excuses about his opponent going negative, he took the high ground and conceded his loss with grace, dignity and style. Those are the kind of characteristics I want in our next governor.

I am proud of the way Charles W. Herbster ended his campaign. He attended that unification meeting the day after the election, even though he was not invited to speak. Even then, he refused to go negative, and for that I am doubly proud to have endorsed him for governor.

 

The big news last week was the leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court, suggesting the high court’s intention to overturn the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion nationwide. Although the leaked opinion piece does not represent the high court’s final decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, it does suggest that at least five of the justices will side with the State of Mississippi in that case.

Overturning Roe v. Wade would not make all abortions illegal. The leaked draft opinion does not mean that all abortions will soon become illegal all across the nation. This is important to note because some of the rhetoric coming out of the pro-choice movement erroneously suggests that it would. For example, the National Women’s Law Center responded to the leaked draft opinion by saying, “Any justice who signs onto this opinion is fueling the harm and violence that will happen to people who become pregnant in this country,” as if the court’s decision would affect abortions nationwide. If the leaked draft opinion accurately represents the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, then these decisions would be returned to the individual states. As the conclusion of the draft opinion says, “The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion.”

Pro-Life legislators here in Nebraska anticipated such a ruling coming down from the nation’s highest court this year. For this reason, Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston introduced LB 933, a bill that would have prohibited the practice of abortion in the State of Nebraska, except in those rare cases where the life of the mother is endangered and the abortion becomes necessary to preserve her life. This bill came with a trigger clause which would have made the bill effective immediately upon the release of the high court’s decision in June.

Nebraska still needs legislation to prohibit the practice of abortion. Although LB 933 was successfully pulled out of the Judiciary Committee earlier this year, the bill failed to advance on the floor of the Legislature by only two votes. Consequently, Nebraska will not be ready to prohibit the practice of abortion upon the release of the high court’s decision in June.

In order to deal with the abortion problem this year, a special session of the Legislature will be needed. There is a strong likelihood that Gov. Ricketts will call for a special session of the Legislature to deal with the problem of abortion once the U.S. Supreme Court releases its final decision in the case of Dobb v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Gov. Ricketts has stated repeatedly that Nebraska is a pro-life state, and it is. Therefore, calling for a special session of the Legislature to prohibit the practice of abortion in our state would be a good way for him to end his career as Nebraska’s 40th governor.

But, will Nebraska ever end the practice of abortion? Even if the governor calls for a special session of the Legislature to deal with the problem of abortion, the State Legislature would still need to flip two more votes in order to override a legislative filibuster. LB 933 was the test case which shows that the Legislature needs at least 33 votes to end the practice of abortion.

Passions run very deep on the subject of abortion. Prohibiting the practice of abortion is a hill that many State Senators are willing to die on and that same level of commitment can be found on both sides of the political aisle. For example, on the same day that Sen. Joni Albrecht introduced LB 933 in the State Legislature (January 10), Sen. Meghan Hunt of Omaha made a motion to indefinitely postpone the bill, a motion that was designed to kill the bill. Normally, these kinds of motions are made after a bill advances out of committee, but Sen. Hunt did not waste any time in trying to kill the bill. For this reason, it will be necessary for pro-life senators to generate enough votes to override a legislative filibuster.

As for me, I will always vote to protect the lives of the unborn. Unborn babies represent the most vulnerable victims of societal abuse and their lives are precious. Unborn babies should never be viewed as an intrusion or as an inconvenience; instead, human life is a gift from God which should never be subjected to the pleasure, the convenience, or the choice of a parent.

Straight Talk From Steve…
April 28th, 2022

live poultry | Food Safety News

 

Why did the chicken cross the road? Probably to get to somewhere where it’s still safe from the bird flu. The avian (bird) flu has come to Nebraska. The bird flu has been especially bad in the eastern part of the state. Millions of birds are currently being euthanized in Eastern Nebraska.

Nebraska has already experienced seven outbreaks of the bird flu this year. Most recently, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture discovered an outbreak in a flock of 2.1 million chickens in Knox County. Whenever an outbreak like this is discovered the policy of the USDA is to euthanize all of the birds and establish a six-mile control zone around the problem area. Consequently, an outbreak anywhere in Nebraska could significantly affect the prices of our eggs and poultry at the grocery store.

A lot of birds are being destroyed. So far this year almost five million birds have been euthanized in Nebraska alone. 30 million birds have been destroyed across the country, putting the USA on a trajectory to break the record of 50 million birds that were euthanized during the outbreak of 2015.

Poultry and eggs are vital to our economy. In 2017 the United Egg Producers, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Producers Association, the National Chicken Council, and the National Turkey Federation combined their resources and efforts to produce a study which showed that the egg and poultry industries contribute 1.6 million jobs to the U.S. economy along with $96 billion in wages, $34 billion in government revenue (taxes), and $441.15 billion in economic activity each year. So, these are industries we cannot afford to lose.

Once this current outbreak of the bird flu finally comes to an end, these industries will need some time to recover. When the avian flu came to America back in 2015, it took the poultry industry about 18 months to fully recover. The egg industry recovered faster. The egg industry recovered within a year. Nevertheless, with the current rate of inflation being at 8.5 percent, Americans will likely start looking for less expensive sources of protein which are usually found in the egg and poultry industries. If supplies dwindle and prices increase, many Americans will have to look elsewhere for their protein needs.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that many of America’s food processing plants have been mysteriously destroyed recently. For example, last year, on September 13, the JBS beef production plant in Grand Island, which processes five percent of the nation’s beef, was set ablaze and burned for 15 hours. More than a dozen food processing plants have been destroyed within the past year and within the last month alone five major food processing plants have been destroyed by fires and plane crashes. All of this will likely put an enormous strain on our supply chain and push prices even higher at the grocery store.

As Americans we are never driven by fear. While all of this news may seem grim for our nation’s future, it is still a good time to crack some eggs for breakfast and fry up some chicken for dinner. We will overcome this threat in the same way we did back in 2015.

On anther note, let me remind you to vote. Nebraska’s primary election will be held on May 10, and it is very important that every registered voter cast his or her vote this year. Never forget that the voters comprise Nebraska’s second legislative house. Remember what Thomas Jefferson said, “We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

Straight Talk From Steve…
April 22nd, 2022

Last week the 107th Legislature came to an end. This year was the shorter 60-day session. For the past four years I have served on the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee; however, this year proved to be the most difficult year so far. What made this year so difficult was that the Appropriations Committee had to appropriate $1.04 billion of federal funds from the American Recue Plan Act (ARPA).

In previous years the number of bills assigned to the Appropriations Committee never surpassed 50, but this year we had more than 120 bills to consider due to ARPA. These ARPA bills made requests totaling more than $4.3 billion. The members of the Appropriations Committee spent over 125 hours listening to testimonies from the introducers of these bills.

I used two criteria for determining which bills should be considered for ARPA funding. The first criteria asked if the request was a one-time expenditure? Almost every introducer would open his or her comments by saying this is a one-time appropriation. However, very few of these requests actually fit that criteria.

The second criteria I used asked if the bill created an ongoing obligation for the State. If the bill was necessary considered it; otherwise, I did not want to create any future obligations for the State. Almost all of the ARPA bills that came to us obligated the State down the road in some way, and I was not interested in bloating future State budgets.

There were several examples of ARPA bills that were not one-time expenditures. One such bill asked for significant wage increases for employees of one particular state agency for the next three years. The bill’s introducer insisted that this would be a one-time appropriation. So, I asked him if he really expected the Legislature to take back their raises after the three year period ran out? Obviously, this bill would have obligated the State to honor their wage increase down the road after the ARPA money ran out.

Another category of erroneous one-time expenditures came in the form of new buildings. New buildings are never one-time appropriations. A case in point is how we designated $60 million for the building of a new medical training facility which was supposedly a one-time expenditure. Two weeks later we had an emergency Appropriations Committee meeting to approve $3 million for start-up money, and another $12 million for equipment, and another $15 million for ongoing operations. Add to this the costs associated with building maintenance, and anyone should be able to see how the creation of new buildings never comprises a one-time appropriation.

So, herein lies the rub. If just one half of this year’s $1.04 billion of ARPA funds ends up obligating the State down the road, it will result in raising the State’s annual budget by $500 million per year. That is a 10% increase in the State annual budget. I may never have to deal with the shortfall that these decisions will create in future years because I may be termed out of office before we begin to feel the effects. But, when the federal money stops coming in and the State’s revenues decline as they always do after events like we just experienced with these ARPA funds, the burden will fall on the taxpayers to meet the budget shortfall.

The vote to approve this year’s State budget was a very difficult decision for me. I seldom ever vote for budget bills because they generally spend too much money. But this year’s budget had several significant implications for Western Nebraska that I felt compelled to vote for. Included in this year’s budget is 23.1 million for the tunnel repairs on the Gering/Fort Laramie irrigation canal. There is also $50 million for improvements at Lake McConaughy. Also included was another $50 million for surface irrigation repairs in the western part of the State. For these reasons it was very important that this year’s budget pass.

Straight Talk From Steve…
April 14th, 2022

Ever since I became a State Senator six years ago my number one priority has been to give Nebraskans meaningful and significant tax relief, especially property tax relief. The second session of the 107th Legislature is scheduled to end sine die on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Therefore, today I would like to assess the status of tax relief efforts in Nebraska this year.

The Nebraska State Legislature missed its best opportunity for meaningful and significant tax relief by failing to advance LR264CA, my constitutional resolution for the consumption tax. The consumption tax would have eliminated both individual and corporate income taxes, state sales tax, real estate taxes, and inheritance taxes by replacing all of these taxes with an 8.97 percent consumption tax. The beauty of the consumption tax is that it would have put the tax payer in control of how much taxes he or she pays to the State. Instead, state lawmakers decided to keep control of your taxes centralized in Lincoln.

What the Unicameral Legislature decided to pass this year was the Revenue Committee’s own tax relief plan, LB 873, which was crafted mainly by the Revenue Committee’s chair, Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn. This bill protects the 25 percent income tax credit taxpayers already receive on property taxes paid to schools, creates a new rebate on property taxes paid to community colleges, phases out taxes on Social Security income, phases in a reduction of the highest individual income tax rate from 6.84 percent to 5.84 percent by 2027, and phases in a reduction of the corporate income tax rate from 7.5 percent to 5.84 percent by 2027. Because LB 873 provides tax relief for Nebraskans, I voted in favor of this bill, but that does not mean that it was a good bill.

LB 873 leaves the State in charge of your taxes. As you can see, LB 873 preserves what is commonly referred to as Nebraska’s three-legged stool. The three-legged stool is designed to protect the State’s coffers by placing three layers of taxation over Nebraska’s citizens, namely property taxes, income taxes, and state sales taxes. The three-legged stool creates a complicated tax system whereby Nebraskans are left in the dark in regards to how much money they actually pay to the State in taxes every year. As the tax reform expert, Dan Pilla, says, the first rule of taxation is simplicity whereby citizens have the “right to know what the tax laws require, and compliance should be easy and inexpensive.”

LB 873 does not go far enough. Although LB 873 offers Nebraskans various kinds of tax relief, it fails to address the root causes of escalating taxes in our state. For example, offering a 25 percent income tax credit on property taxes paid to schools does nothing to limit the ability of county assessors from raising the value of your property or home in the future.

LB 873 ignores the fact that Nebraskans need immediate tax relief. According to the Farm Bureau, Nebraska ranks second only to Wisconsin in the number of farm bankruptcies. Many farmers and ranchers cannot afford to wait until 2027 in order to reap the benefits of LB 873. Because LB 873 phases in individual and corporate income tax relief slowly over time, taxes will increase faster than the relief offered by the bill.

The bottom line is that LB 873 ignores the fact that Nebraska has a broken tax system which needs to be replaced with one that works for the taxpayer as well as one which works for the State.

Straight Talk From Steve…
April 8th, 2022

In the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature expectation lurks as a kind of devilish phantom farmer secretly sowing seeds of disappointment. That is what life is sometimes like inside the Nebraska State Legislature. You can spend an entire year or more crafting a single piece of legislation only to see it fail on the floor of the Legislature by a single vote or two, and that is what happened last week on more than one occasion.

Last week was a very disappointing week in the Nebraska State Legislature. With just a few days left in the legislative session, some of the Legislature’s most important bills failed to advance and become law, and sometimes it was by a small margin of votes. So, today I am going to tell you about three bills which should have advanced in the Legislature last week, but didn’t. Each of these bills was a good bill, but is now dead for the year.

The first bill to tell you about is my own constitutional resolution for the consumption tax, known in the Legislature as LR 264 CA. LR 264 CA was my priority bill for the year and it failed on the floor of the Legislature with only 19 affirmative votes. It needed 25 votes to advance. What was just as disappointing as the vote was the fact that the north gallery was completely full of citizen supporters who came out to listen to the debate only to see that only a few Senators remained on the floor to participate in the debate. Instead of hearing reasons to support the consumption tax, these Senators had already made deals with the lobbyists or made up their own minds not to support it and turned a deaf ear to the floor debate. So, LR 264 CA is now dead.

The second bill to tell you about was LB 933, Sen. Joni Albrecht’s pro-life bill. This bill was equipped with a trigger clause to end the practice of abortion in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Constitution gets amended, or Congress passes enabling legislation allowing states to pass their own laws on abortion. However, pro-choice Senators led a filibuster against the bill. When Sen. Albrecht tried to get around the filibuster by invoking cloture, a motion which would have ended the floor debate and put the bill up for a vote, it failed by only two votes. Cloture votes require affirmative votes from two-thirds of the Legislature (33 votes), and failure to meet that threshold automatically ends debate for the day. The cloture vote received 31 YES votes with three Senators absent, which was 67.4 percent of the Legislature, more than two-thirds. Nevertheless, 15 NO votes or 32.6 percent of the Legislature was all that was needed to kill the bill. LB 933 is now dead.

The third bill to tell you about is LB 543, otherwise known as the Right-to-Repair Act. LB 543 was Sen. Tom Brandt’s priority bill for the year. The Right-to-Repair Act gives the owner of agricultural equipment the right to repair equipment without breaching the manufacturer’s original contract. Owners of the equipment would be given access to manuals, tools and parts which are necessary for making the repairs. The Right-to-Repair Act is controversial because it mandates that manufacturers part with their own proprietary information. Passing LB 543 on General File, however, would have enabled the Legislature to continue having a constructive conversation about this very controversial topic. Instead, LB 543 failed on floor of the Legislature. So, LB 543 is now dead.

As you can see, life in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature can sometimes be full of disappointments. It can be frustrating to invest yourself in a piece of legislation only to see it die in committee or fail on the floor of the Legislature. Being a State Senator is not a job for the faint of heart; instead, it is a job which requires firm resolve, steadfast patience, and persistence over time. I will be back again next year to try and achieve my number one goal, which is to give meaningful tax relief to all Nebraskans.

Straight Talk From Steve…
April 2nd, 2022

When the Apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome and couldn’t go anywhere or do much of anything, he wrote a letter to the church at Colossae instructing Christians there to “make the most of every opportunity,” Colossians 4:5. Perhaps, being under house arrest altered Paul’s view of time and helped him see the inherent value of each new day. Time is a very precious commodity precisely because it is the measurement of our lives. How we spend our time matters.

Having acknowledged these simple truths about time, I am sad to have to report about how the budget debates in the Nebraska State Legislature last week waisted a lot time. Please don’t get me wrong on this: Debating the State budget is one of the most important things State legislators do. Debating how the State should spend your hard-earned tax dollars is a matter of grave importance to me, but debating the budget is hardly what State Senators actually did last week.

Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha hijacked the budget debate last week. Sen. Lathrop is the chair of the Judiciary Committee. Lathrop’s top priority this year before he retires as a State Senator is to deliver on prison reform. His bill LB 920 encapsulates his philosophy for rehabilitative prison reform. Instead of debating the budget, Sen. Lathrop filibustered the budget bills so that he could waste 50 hours talking about his ideas for prison reform in LB 920. As a result, the budget never got the proper debate it deserved.

This year’s budget is the most important budget the State of Nebraska has had to pass in the six years that I have been a State Senator. Because of the filibuster, State Senators were denied the opportunity to amend the budget and fix some of the problems with it. Instead, Senators were forced to listen to Sen. Lathrop as he introduced 21 separate amendments on LB 1011 alone.

One of my main concerns with the budget has been not to obligate the State of Nebraska for future spending. This is especially true with spending for the American Rescue and Recovery Act of 2021 (ARPA). This year and next year lawmakers will be able to spend roughly 1 billion dollars in ARPA monies, but if these monies are not spent correctly, they will obligate the State down the road. Many of the ARPA projects that were approved do just that; they will obligate the State for future spending. If half of the ARPA monies end up obligating the State of Nebraska down the road, then it would result in a 10 percent increase in our future budgets.

Straight Talk From Steve…
March 25th, 2022

Last Friday State Senators in the Nebraska State Legislature voted to pull LB 933 out of the Judiciary Committee and up to the floor for debate. LB 933 is the Nebraska Human Life Protection Act, which prohibits abortions in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Congress passes enabling legislation, or the U.S. Constitution gets amended to let states decide for themselves whether or not to ban or put restrictions on abortions.

Although I have written on the subject of abortion in the past, I have yet to address some of the specific ways that abortion harms women. Contrary to the very confused opinion of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson who last week could not define what a woman is, women are the ones to whom God has blessed with the ability to bear children, and when we interfere with that ability there are consequences which can do great harm to women. Therefore, today I am going to highlight three ways that abortion harms women.

First, abortion provides cover for those who want to sexually abuse and exploit women. Whether we are talking about incest or sex trafficking, those who want to sexually abuse women and get away with it often use abortion as a means for covering their tracks. Once the baby is removed from the womb, the primary evidence for their illicit crime has been effectively destroyed. In this way, abortion tampers with evidence and actually enables the recurrence of incest and sex trafficking. Alice Paul, who wrote the very first Equal Rights Amendment once said that abortion is “the ultimate exploitation of women,” and she was right.

Second, abortion does not empower women. Abortion activists like to claim that giving women the right to choose an abortion somehow empowers them. For example, when the actress Michelle Williams accepted her 2020 Golden Globe award, she declared that she would not have been able to win without “employing a woman’s right to choose.” But we should ask, “Does abortion really empower women?”

Abortion actually weakens women. When a woman’s success depends upon her aborting the child within her womb, that is not an example of empowerment; it is an example of weakness. Empowerment is better represented by those women who chose to keep their babies, raise their children, and also climb the ladder of success. Such was the case with Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who once credited her success as a legislator to the 20 years she spent raising her children. In an article published by the Washington Post, Nancy Pelosi encouraged young mothers to know their own power. Moreover, the late Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, once confessed that she was a more focused student at Harvard Law School precisely because she had a baby.

Third, abortion wreaks havoc on the mental health of many women who choose to get an abortion. Many women have confessed to abortion counselors how they were coerced into getting an abortion. Many have testified that they were afraid that their husbands or boyfriends would leave them unless they got an abortion. So, they got the abortion, not because they wanted to, but out of fear of losing their loved one or shame that they had somehow done something wrong.

The truth which seldom ever gets reported is that abortions often leave women with post abortive trauma and depression. Women do not forget about the baby they aborted. Guilt and deep regret often follow an abortion. Women often wonder about what kind of person their baby would have grown up to be had they not followed through on getting an abortion. Sadness and despondency often accompany them on the anniversary date of their abortion, and many women have been known to acknowledge their aborted baby at Christmas time by wrapping up gifts for them or hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree. These women have had to learn the hard way that terminating a pregnancy does not extinguish the memory of their child or remove the wonderment about the child that could have been.

For these reasons and more, I am pro-life and I will continue to support LB 933. Although it has taken Americans 50 years to figure out why abortion is wrong, the culture of America has turned solidly pro-life. A Marist poll conducted in January of this year found that 71% of Americans favor putting restrictions on abortions and a clear majority want to return these decisions back to the states. Therefore, Nebraska needs to ready itself for the day when these decisions will be returned to the states, and that is precisely what the Nebraska Human Life Protection Act aims to do.

Straight Talk From Steve…
March 18th, 2022

Last week the Nebraska Legislature debated the main budget bills for the State. These budget bills always tell State Senators what the State cannot afford, but we end up spending the money anyway. That’s very easy to do when you are spending other people’s money.

Budget bills are always controversial. Although the main budget bill (LB 1011) survived the first round of floor debate by a vote of 40-6, every State Senator in the Unicameral Legislature believes the State’s money should be spent differently. Nevertheless, there are three budget issues that are generating the most controversy this year, so today I will tell you what those issues are, why they are controversial, and why they are so important to our state.

The first controversial issue relates to funding sex education in our public schools. Every year the Governor sends his budget to the State Legislature, and the Appropriations Committee takes it up. I serve on the Appropriations Committee. When Gov. Ricketts sent his budget to us, it contained a proviso that the State Department of Education could not use any of their funding to advance new sex education standards for our public schools.

Sen. John Stinner of Gering, is the chair of the Appropriations Committee. Sen. Stinner is a purist, who does not like putting any political statements into the Appropriations Committee’s budget bills. So, the proviso was removed from the budget. This prompted Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston to introduce a series of amendments to put the proviso back into the bill. Her last amendment is intended to ensure that she would have the opportunity to amend the bill when it reaches the last round of debate.

Because so many concerned parents flooded the hearing rooms to oppose the State Board of Education’s newly proposed sex education standards when they were proposed last year, and because the State Board of Education contains activists who are tied to Planned Parenthood and other far Left activist groups, this proviso is necessary to prevent a runaway activist State Board of Education.

Another controversial issue relates to the Perkins County Canal Project contained in LB 1015. In 1923 Colorado and Nebraska signed a compact, allowing Nebraska to divert 500 cubic feet of water per second out of the South Platte River during the non-irrigation season and 120 cubic feet of water per second during the irrigation season, but this requires the building of a canal with a hefty price tag. Building the canal would cost the State $500 million.

Gov. Ricketts had proposed spending $400 million out of the State’s cash reserve fund and using $100 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) to pay for it. If the State does nothing, we could face a 90% reduction in the flow of the South Platte River according to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. Instead of funding the entire project this year, LB 1011 includes $53.5 million for design, permits, and options for purchasing land.

Finally, Gov. Ricketts wants to build a new prison. In his State of the State address, Gov. Ricketts said that our State’s correctional facilities have been underbuilt for the past 40 years. Currently, our facilities can house 5,300 inmates. Building a new correctional facility for $270 million would expand that number to 6,400 inmates.

Those who oppose the building of a new correctional facility complain that the State ought to be looking at correctional reform to reduce recidivism instead of building more prisons. They favor rehabilitation over punishment in our penal system and complain that sentences are too stiff and police make too many arrests. For instance, Sen. John McCollister complained that the number of incarcerations went up when the crime rate was falling. However, doesn’t it also make sense that the crime rate would fall when you take the bad guys off the streets? The fact of the matter is that our corrections system requires both stiff penalties for committing crimes as well as rehabilitation that works, and finding that perfect balance is what lawmakers in Lincoln must do this year.

Sen. Steve Erdman

District 47
Room 1124
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2616
Email: serdman@leg.ne.gov
Search Senator Page:
Topics
Archives
Committee Assignments
    Appropriations
    Committee On Committees
    Rules
    Building Maintenance
Search Current Bills
Search Laws
Live Video Streaming
View video streamView live streams of floor activity and public hearings

Streaming video provided by Nebraska Public Media

Find Your Senator