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

Straight Talk From Steve…
December 23rd, 2021

This is the calm before the storm. The second session of the 107th Legislature is about to convene. This year the legislative session will start on January 5 and will go into the month of April. This year’s legislative session will be the shorter 60-day session. Because there will be fewer days on the legislative calendar, it will be even more difficult to get bills passed into law.

Many of you would like to know what I have been working on for next year, so now I will tell you. The bills that I will introduce next year will cover a wide variety of topics and address many of the most urgent and pressing concerns Nebraskans have about our State.

As you may have guessed, the consumption tax has been my highest priority this past year and it will continue to be my highest priority throughout the upcoming legislative session. I will reintroduce a new resolution for a constitutional amendment with even better ballot language than the one before. This resolution for a constitutional amendment is needed to fix our broken tax system and to give Nebraskans the kind of meaningful tax relief they really need. The beauty of the consumption tax is that it can never over-tax the taxpayer and it puts the taxpayer in charge of how much he or she pays in taxes throughout the year. It does this because it operates on a pay-as-you-go basis.

I will also introduce legislation to protect unvaccinated persons from the unconstitutional Biden mandates. Getting vaccinated is a personal choice, which should never be mandated by any branch of the government. The Biden vaccine mandates constitute a gross infringement upon our basic rights and liberties as human beings. What goes into a person’s body, including medicine, ought to be an individual’s decision, not that of the government.

As I mentioned during the summer, K-12 public schools in Nebraska should not begin holding classes until after Labor Day. The teacher training and in-service days may be held in August, so that the weekly school calendar does not get interrupted during the academic school year. Therefore, my legislation will set the K-12 academic school year from after Labor Day to before Memorial Day.

I will also introduce legislation to put some controls on the Brand Committee. The Brand Committee has been acting out of control for quite some time and so it is time to rein them in. Once my legislation becomes law, the Brand Committee will no longer be able to hold their subcommittee meetings in secret nor will they be able to make decisions about the electronic identification of cattle.

This past year I have done much to investigate our Natural Resources Districts (NRD). LR23 was a resolution for an interim study that I introduced earlier this year which investigates whether the NRDs are abiding by their statutory purposes. This has been an ongoing investigation which has uncovered a wealth of information. I intend to continue investigating the NRDs throughout the second session of the 107th Legislature. These investigations will likely conclude with impending legislation.

Finally, I have not forgotten about the many problems that the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has failed to address. Although they now have new leadership, the same problems still exist. Ignoring these problems is not an answer that I will accept. Therefore, I will continue to introduce bills that will address these problems. Problems with over-populations of antelope, deer and elk are better solved with competent leadership than with legislation, but when the Game and Parks Commission fails to take appropriate actions, they effectively kick these problems to the Legislature.

As you can see, the second session of the 107th Legislature promises to be full of lively debate. Hopefully, though, our State Senators will work for the good of the people. Please feel free to contact my office any time with your questions, comments, or concerns at (402) 471-2616.

Straight Talk From Steve…
December 13th, 2021

Can states ban Critical Race Theory (CRT)? Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas have already passed legislation banning the teaching of CRT in their public schools. When Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed his state’s bill into law, he said he did it to bring the people of his state closer together, but the State of Maine has inadvertently given states a new way to oppose the teaching of CRT.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments from a lawsuit filed by parents in the State of Maine challenging their state’s new school voucher program. Maine’s voucher program allows rural families who live in towns without a public school to use state funds to send their students to private schools, but not to private religious schools. So, some of the parents decided to sue the state.

Opinions by justices on the nation’s highest court have been mixed. While Justice Elena Kagan views the voucher program as carefully skirting questions of religious favoritism, Justice Brett Kavanaugh views the program differently. Justice Kavanaugh views the program as discriminating against religious families. More importantly though, is how the State of Maine got tripped up when trying to defend its school voucher program, especially when the subject of CRT came up in the hearing.

Maine’s Chief Deputy Attorney General, Christopher Taub, argued in defense of the voucher program for the State of Maine. Taub inadvertently acknowledged in court that states have every right to regulate their curriculum. When questioned about the meaning of the word ‘sectarian’ by Justice Samuel Alito, for example, Taub argued that states have the right to demand religious neutrality. Alito then followed up by asking if a school could teach a curriculum which “Inculcates a purely materialistic view of life?” Taub answered by saying that schools should disallow viewpoints which are harmful to public education. Commenting hypothetically about a school that teaches Marxism, Leninism, or white supremacy, Taub said, “Clearly those kinds of schools would be doing something inconsistent with public education.”

Justice Elena Kagan asked Taub if a white supremacist school would be able to receive state funding through the voucher program. In response, Taub assured her that such a school would not receive any state aid through the program. This prompted Justice Samuel Alito to ask Taub directly about CRT saying, “Would you say the same thing about a school that teaches Critical Race Theory?” Alito’s question caught Taub completely off guard.

Here is the full text of Taub’s very erratic reply: “So I think that that is something that the Legislature would have to look at. I mean, that one’s closer because, frankly, I don’t – I don’t really know exactly what it means to teach Critical Race Theory. So, I think – I think the Maine legislature would have to look at what that actually means. But – but – I will say this, that – that if – that – that if teaching Critical Race Theory is – is – is antithetical to public education, then the legislature would likely address that.”

So, there you have it. Any theory, including CRT, which can be shown to be harmful to public education is a theory which the State Legislature ought to address!

CRT is harmful to public education. CRT is harmful to public education because it rejects the use of sound reasoning. For instance, to suggest that all white people are white supremacists is a fundamental generalization adhered to by many proponents of CRT, such as Rebecca Stevens A. But this generalization is false and devoid of any sound logic – yet it is a premise of CRT which absolutely must be accepted and adhered to without question and without challenge to its soundness. Because CRT adheres to these kinds of propositions which run contrary to sound logic, it is a theory which is harmful to learning and should not be taught in Nebraska’s K-12 public schools.

Straight Talk From Steve…
December 6th, 2021

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This is the abortion case from Mississippi which is generating a lot of discussion around the water cooler these days. This case is important because it has the potential to kick abortion back to the states. Although Mississippi’s new law has been blocked by lower courts, a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court could make it the new law of the land.

The right to abortion was established in 1973. In 1973 Roe v. Wade set as legal precedent a woman’s right to have an abortion so long as the procedure takes place before “fetal viability,” which occurs at 24 weeks of pregnancy. Fetal viability refers to the ability of a baby to live on its own outside of the womb.

The legal precedent of fetal viability was reaffirmed in the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. The nation’s highest court once again reaffirmed the legal precedent of fetal viability by recognizing “a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion before fetal viability and to obtain it without undue interference from the State.” So, fetal viability has been the established standard ever since 1973.

Mississippi’s law is important because it poses a direct challenge to fetal viability. By banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, instead of 24 weeks of pregnancy, the Mississippi law is forcing the nation’s highest court to revisit the issue of fetal viability. For instance, in Roe v. Wade, the high court admitted in response to the question of whether life begins at conception that it was not in a good position to make any determination about when life begins: “When those trained in the respective fields of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.”

But speculation is precisely what the high court did! To make the determination that a fetus magically turns into a legally protected person at 24 weeks of pregnancy constitutes pure speculation on the part of the high court. To be sure, the high court never justified their conclusion that a fetus turns into a person protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution anywhere in Roe v. Wade. Instead, the justices simply concluded that the “compelling point is at viability.”

The argument made by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade was very weak. In order to show you how weak the high court’s ruling actually was consider this recent statement by Chief Justice John Roberts, who said that a 15-week ban is not a “dramatic departure from viability.”

One way of addressing this issue is by asking the following question, “Is a fetus a person at 24 weeks minus one second?” If the answer is yes, then it results in a further question of 24 weeks minus two seconds, and so on. However, if the answer to the first question is no, then it demands an explanation as to why a fetus at 24 weeks minus one second does not constitute a person, and there simply is no rational explanation. The high court’s ruling was arbitrary.

Because the high court’s ruling of fetal viability constitutes an arbitrary decision, the Mississippi law which outlawed abortions after 15 weeks is just as valid as the argument for fetal viability. For this reason, the U.S. Supreme Court has been presented with a golden opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade and to give these decisions back to the states where they belong, that is, according to the tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Straight Talk From Steve…
November 24th, 2021

What value is there in a college education today? Where can a student go today for higher education which isn’t laced with Left-wing propaganda such as Critical Race Theory? Nebraska’s state’s colleges and universities are now devolving at an alarming rate. Many Nebraskans now believe there may be more hope for the Cornhuskers to play in a bowl game this year than for our own colleges and universities to recover their good names and reputations.

Last week Gov. Pete Ricketts announced publicly that he has lost all faith in UNL Chancellor, Ronnie Green. Gov. Ricketts drew this conclusion after he was misled by the Chancellor about a document that emerged at the University flowing out of an 18-month long equity and diversity study conducted by students and faculty at UNL. After the Chancellor reported how the Governor supported the study, Gov. Ricketts responded at a press conference saying, “What the University is talking about is giving unqualified people jobs based on their skin color…and [Ronnie Green] did not tell me those things when we were talking about that last week. I was misled by Ronnie Green. I have lost all faith in Ronnie Green and don’t believe anything he says anymore”.

Gov. Ricketts has now come to the same conclusion that we, Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard and Sen. Steve Halloran of Hastings, reached four years ago. On November 16, 2017 we met with both UNL Chancellor, Ronnie Green and UNL President, Hank Bounds. They were not truthful with us at that time about how conservatives were being treated at UNL. They assured us that conservatives were being treated fairly on campus, but the very next day at 4:55 p.m. they released a letter to the Governor and to the members of the Legislature apologizing for the way conservatives were being treated a UNL. So, which is it? Because of these kinds of untruths, we believe it would be in the best interest of the University and the people of Nebraska for Ronnie Green to resign as Chancellor of the University of Nebraska.

The Board of Regents aren’t any better. When we elect Regents, we expect them to be guardians of truth and to protect the University from corrosive ideas. Instead, they have allowed Critical Race Theory to invade our university system and to fester into the academic cancer that it is today. When the Board of Regents had the opportunity to correct this situation back in August, they failed to pass a resolution which would have helped to resolve this problem. As the result, Critical Race Theory has now become normalized and standardized throughout the University of Nebraska System. Although University President Ted Carter continues to insist that Critical Race Theory is not being taught at the University of Nebraska, one needs look no further than the University’s own “Journey for Anti-Racism and Racial Equality,” where the stated philosophy is, “A reckoning with history and its impact on the present” coupled with their false accusation that opponents of Critical Race Theory aid the Klu Klux Klan.

The situation isn’t any better regarding our state college system. One would think that after countless numbers of parents and concerned citizens came out to testify against gender identity and sexual orientation being taught in our K-12 public schools that those running our state college system would have concluded that these are things that the people of Nebraska don’t want taught to students in our State College system as well. Regardless of the viewpoints of parents and the concerns of our citizens, the trustees (board members) who run our State College system voted earlier this month in favor of a new policy for gender identity and sexual orientation.

Much like when no one at the University of Nebraska could give a straight answer about the existence of free speech zones, no one at the State College System can give a straight answer today about gender identity and sexual orientation. So, when we asked Chancellor Paul Turman if the State College System’s new policy would allow biological males to access women’s restrooms and locker rooms, he replied in double-speak, saying, “[They] do NOT allow men access to women’s restrooms or locker rooms. Individuals can access restrooms consistent with their gender identity.” So, which is it? Make no mistake about it, though: Biological males who self-identify as females may now use women’s restrooms and locker rooms, but the political correctness of the Woke Left will no longer permit the Chancellor to give anyone a straight answer, and that is exactly what our colleges and universities are now teaching our students to do.

Going forward, defunding our state’s colleges and universities may be the only way we can get the attention of those who have been charged with running them. So let us end this article by simply reminding those who run our public colleges and universities about who they really work for. If there is any good thing which comes from this report today on the state of our colleges and universities, it is that parents and students should now be better informed and better equipped for making decisions about where to go for higher education.

Straight Talk From Steve…
November 19th, 2021

The American economy isn’t doing so well. A new poll shows that seven out of every ten Americans now admit that rising prices are causing them to change their spending habits. This is not good news going into the busiest shopping season of the year. Indeed, inflation has a way of putting a damper on our spirit of thanksgiving. So, how do we prepare ourselves for the Thanksgiving holiday when things may not be going as planned?

Many people view the task of giving thanks as a kind of obligation they must fulfill once per year before filling their gullet with turkey and then spending the rest of the day watching NFL football on the last Thursday of November. The operative word in that kind of attitude is the word “task”. Whenever thanksgiving is viewed as a task, it usually gets done with heartless drudgery and forced discipline.

This year I would like to challenge you to view thanksgiving differently. Genuine thanksgiving is a spirit of gratitude which comes from the heart and changes our perspective about the world as well as our own life’s circumstances. A heart that is ungrateful produces a contrived heartless prayer of thanksgiving, but a heart of gratitude produces a sweet and voluntary heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving.

Changing the condition of our heart can be a very difficult thing to do. It is difficult because it requires honest self-reflection and self-evaluation. We become ungrateful because we secretly believe that we are somehow entitled to a better set of circumstances than what we currently have. Repenting of whatever bad thing we have done in the past, changing for the better whatever we are able to fix, and accepting whatever lot has been dealt to us in life, represent the first steps towards changing the condition of our heart. Accepting what we are responsible for helps us to see how we have been blessed by others, and so gives us reasons to be thankful.

While anyone can become thankful, I believe that a truly genuine heart of gratitude is something that only God can give, and he gives it to those who earnestly seek him and who find him. This is a different kind of gratitude. It is different because it is spiritual in nature. It is the kind of gratitude which results from knowing that one’s sins have been forgiven, that a person stands in a right relationship with the sovereign and righteous God of the universe, and that He is the ultimate source of every good thing.

It was this kind of understanding that prompted King David to write these spiritual words of gratitude in Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV), “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

God loves America and the USA is still the greatest nation on the earth. Remember these things as you give thanks this week. May everyday be a day of thanksgiving, and may God bless you richly. Thank you for reading my articles.

Straight Talk From Steve…
November 12th, 2021

Over the past several weeks I have received numerous emails encouraging me to help the governor call for a special session to deal with the vaccination mandate problem. As you may know, the governor had asked the Legislature to show 33 senators who were in support of a special session before making that call, but the Legislature could only produce 28 senators in favor of calling for a special session.

What is not understood by many is that the governor has the authority to call for a special session of the Legislature on his own whenever he feels it is necessary to deal with a specific issue. So, the reality of the situation is that the governor may still call for a special session without any of the senators signing on to the Legislature’s petition, which has now expired.

Gov. Ricketts had originally said that it was important to show that 33 senators were in support of a special session before he would call for one. The reason he gave was to override a potential filibuster. However, there was no guarantee that a filibuster would have occurred. A filibuster may not have been imminent. Today no one knows whether a filibuster would have ever happened. Without a filibuster, it only takes 25 votes to pass a bill, and we had 28 Senators tentatively already on board. So, the governor held our personal liberties and our constitutional rights in the balance in order to avoid a filibuster.

Because we are coming into an election year, I find it difficult to believe that very many of our State Senators would have filibustered a bill designed to protect our personal liberties and constitutional rights. To be clear, these vaccine mandates are not just about preventing a disease. This is about compromising our personal liberties and constitutional rights. This time it may seem like it is only about a harmless vaccination, but what other constitutional rights are you willing to give up for the sake of government control and total compliance? Positions about vaccinations are not the real issue here. If an individual wants to be vaccinated, he or she has every right to do so. No one is stopping them. However, if a person doesn’t want to get vaccinated, he or she should have that same right as well.

In the end it comes down to whether a person believes in the rights granted to us by our constitutions. For example, Article 1, Section 1 of the Nebraska State Constitution says, “All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the right to keep and bear arms…” It also says, “To secure these rights, and the protection of property, governments are instituted among people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” If we are truly a free and independent people, as the Nebraska State Constitution says we are, and if the government only exists by way of our consent, then no government should ever have the power to tell us what we should put into our own bodies. Such an action constitutes government overreach and it is a gross intrusion into our personal freedom to make decisions about our own personal lives.

Make no mistake about it: President Biden is playing a gigantic game of Chicken with the American people. Either millions of Americans will bend their will to the federal government by getting vaccinated or they will fight for their constitutional rights and liberties. If they choose the latter, the economy of the United States will come to a grinding halt as we lose even more of our most essential workers. This is why the governors of several states have chosen to intervene by issuing executive orders to protect both employers as well as employees from the federal vaccine mandate. While I appreciate the fact that Gov. Ricketts has issued an executive order to protect government employees, he now needs to do the same for all employees.

Unfortunately, the State Legislature has missed its golden opportunity to have this discussion about our personal liberties and constitutional rights of the floor of the Legislature. A special session of this kind would have given State Senators the opportunity to prove to the people of Nebraska that they really do mean it when they take an oath to uphold our Constitution. To defend the Constitution of the United States and of the great State of Nebraska is what a State Senator or any other politician for that matter is supposed to do. That is our most sacred duty!

Straight Talk From Steve…
November 3rd, 2021

This week we honor and celebrate out veterans. These are the men and women who have put their very lives at risk in order to keep the rest of us safe, to protect our God-given liberties, and to safeguard our American way of life. Every veteran is a highly valued and esteemed American patriot, so today I would like to share a recent story about what it takes to properly honor a veteran.

Arthur R. Lewis was a soldier who never earned a purple heart or a silver star. He was a native of Massachusetts, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard during the 1920’s and then later served in the Merchant Marine during World War II. Lewis survived the war and went on to work aboard the S.S. Steel Vendor cargo ship, a ship which had been used for troop transport during World War II. He died on October 3, 1959 at sea while transporting cargo in the Gulf of Tadjoura and was haphazardly buried in Djibouti City some 8,000 miles away from home near the horn of Africa.

Due to the great distance, Lewis’s family lost track of his gravesite, which had become covered with broken bits of coral and was missing a headstone. Through a 10-year labor of love, Lewis’s daughter set out to find his gravesite and give him the military honors that were rightfully due him. With the help of Nathan Reynolds, a 40-year-old Army veteran, Staff Sgt. Rolland Cheng of the 443 Civil Affairs Battalion, Major Jay Cavaiola of the 404 Civil Affairs Battalion, and an Army chaplain named Parnell, Lewis’s gravesite was finally discovered at the New European Cemetery in Djibouti City.

These men helped Lewis’s family purchase the plot of ground where he was buried and then set out to properly honor him as a United States veteran. The Army’s 377th Engineer Vertical Construction Company installed a 240-pound granite headstone on Lewis’s grave, which had been delivered to Camp Lemonnier near Djibouti City by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Finally, on October 28, 2021 American and foreign dignitaries along with several other U.S. service members gathered around Lewis’s grave to give him his overdue military honors. Attendance at the ceremony consisted of a Who’s Who list of military personnel, including an Army two-star general, a Navy Captain and the U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti. Foreign guests included Djibouti’s Minister of Defense along with other top military brass and dignitaries from France and Canada. Sadly, though, Lewis’s daughter was unable to make the 8,000-mile trek to Djibouti to give her father the proper military burial that she had worked so hard to give him.

I share these things with you today in order to help you better understand what it means to honor a veteran. Our American tradition of honoring our veterans runs very deep. We will spare no cost, cross any ocean, and continue the search until every veteran is found and receives a proper military burial. And why do we do this? Because as Claudia Pemberton once famously remarked, “America without her soldiers is like God without his angels.”

This week thank a veteran for his or her service to our country. Shake their hands or salute them and let them know how much you appreciate the time and sacrifices they have made to protect our country and to advance the cause of freedom around the world.

Straight Talk From Steve…
October 29th, 2021

As I write this article today the count remains at 26 Nebraska State Senators who are willing to sign the petition to call for a special session of the Nebraska State Legislature to deal with the vaccine mandate problem. Unless seven more State Senators change their minds by November 1, the special session likely won’t happen. The Governor, however, may call for a special session without 33 Senators.

Many Nebraskans are now losing their jobs because they cannot take a COVID-19 vaccination shot. Many people have sound medical reasons for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, while others object on moral, religious and philosophical grounds. The bottom line is that vaccinations of this kind are really a matter of personal liberty and should not be decided by government bureaucrats, businesses or employers.

Choosing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is really a matter of individual choice, and that choice should not be infringed upon by any government entity, business or employer. The courts have already determined that individuals have the right to make medical decisions concerning their own bodies. For instance, in 1914 in the case of Schloendorff v. New York Hospital an appellate court in New York State said, “Every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his [or her] own body.”

Those who advocate for abortion usually argue that a woman has an absolute right to decide what to do with her own body and the Planned Parenthood license plate exhibits the slogan, “My Body, My Choice.” Shouldn’t that same absolute principle be applied to vaccine mandates? If it is true that a woman has an absolute right to make her own decision about an abortion, then shouldn’t an individual also be able to decide for himself or herself about receiving a vaccination?

One of the main reasons that people are refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccination shot is due to the body’s own immunity which naturally results after recovering from a COVID-19 infection. Dr. Paul E. Alexander, a Canadian health researcher, has compiled a list of 91 studies which have all concluded that natural immunity is better than the COVID-19 vaccines. That list can be found online at the Brownstone Institute’s website: www.brownstone.org. According to Dr. Alexander, the medical establishment and the media are “misleading the public with assertions that the COVID-19 shots provide greater protection than natural immunity.”

President Biden continues to demonstrate his firm resolve to follow through with his vaccine mandates, even though he has said in the past that he would never do so. For instance, President Biden stated on December 4, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware in response to a question about vaccine mandates, “No, I don’t think [vaccines] should be mandatory. I wouldn’t demand it be mandatory.”

Because President Biden’s actions have not exactly matched his words, Nebraska State Senators should feel compelled to take the threat of his vaccine mandates seriously and call for a special session of the State Legislature immediately to deal with this problem. Because people are already being let go from their jobs, the Legislature can no longer afford to wait. Even if 33 Senators do not sign the petition, Governor Ricketts should still call for this special session anyway!

Straight Talk From Steve…
October 25th, 2021

Will the State Legislature hold a special session to deal with COVID-19 vaccine mandates? This is the question which seems to be on everybody’s minds these days. Well, the answer to this question is a very definite: Maybe!

On October 20, 2021 Sen. Rob Clements of Elmwood and Sen. Ben Hansen of Blair filed the necessary paperwork along with signatures from 26 Nebraska State Senators calling for a special session of the State Legislature just to deal with the vaccine mandate problem. According to Nebraska State Statute 50-125 members of the State Legislature may call for a special session once two-thirds or more of the State Senators have signed onto a statement calling for one.

Bob Evnen, who is Nebraska’s Secretary of State, has sent certified letters out to the remaining State Senators to illicit their responses to the call. At least seven more State Senators are needed to sign onto the statement calling for a special session by 5:00 p.m. November 1, 2021 in order to make it happen.

Governor Ricketts may call for a special session of the State Legislature with or without any of these signatures from State Senators. The governor has the authority to call for a special session of the Legislature on his own anytime he believes it is necessary. Sen. Clements and Sen. Hansen acted on behalf of the Legislature and filed the necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State simply to expedite the process and get the ball rolling. They filed the paperwork knowing that they did not yet have the required signatures of two-thirds of the State Senators.

Calling for a special session of the Legislature does not guarantee that vaccine mandates would ever get blocked or outlawed in Nebraska. The Unicameral Legislature is a non-partisan body where every State Senator has both a voice at the microphone as well as a single vote on the voting board. Passing legislation in the Unicameral Legislature often requires by-partisan support. So, unless a particular piece of legislation appeals to both sides of the political aisle, a special session of the State Legislature could end up being a waste of time as well as a waste of taxpayer dollars. Nevertheless, vaccine mandates have now become the most pressing issue in our state and people are losing their jobs because of these vaccine mandates. So, this problem must be dealt with as soon as possible.

On October 21, 2021 Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for a special session of the Florida Legislature in order to deal with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate problem. Gov. DeSantis called for a special session in order to “provide protections for employees facing termination because of unfair and discriminatory COVID-19 vaccine mandates and to reaffirm that government entities including school districts may not fire any employee based on COVID-19 vaccine status.” I believe the time has come for Gov. Ricketts to make a similar move.

Nebraska’s statement reflects similar purposes as Florida. According to our Secretary of State the Nebraska special session would convene “…for the purpose of adopting legislation to prohibit employers from mandating COVID-19 vaccines and legislation to prohibit government and/or educational entities from mandating COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of receiving services.”

I believe the situation created by these COVID-19 vaccine mandates has been tragic for many Americans. No one ever should lose their job because they refuse to put a foreign substance into their own body which could be detrimental to their health. This special session is necessary because the current COVID-19 vaccine mandates are ignoring people’s medical and religious exemptions, natural immunity, the real science of COVID-19 vaccines, and individual liberty to choose what goes into a person’s own body.

Straight Talk From Steve…
October 15th, 2021

The Nebraska State Board of Education has lost all credibility with the people of Nebraska. On August 6, 2021 I called for all of the members of the State Board of Education, including the Education Commissioner, Matthew Blomstedt, to resign. Last week Patricia Timm who represents district 5 in southeast Nebraska did the right thing by announcing her resignation. I am still waiting for the other seven members of the State Board of Education and the Commissioner to resign.

The Education Commissioner needs to resign because he did not shoot straight with Nebraskans about updating the sex education standards. On May 7, 2021 Matthew Blomstedt stated in a document entitled Points of Clarification that “The State Board of Education is not approving a sexual education curriculum, textbooks or instructional materials.” He also said in that same document that the “The proposed draft of the Health Education Standards was not written by activists” and that “Planned Parenthood is not funding or helping to write the Health Education Standards.” Today we know that that is exactly what was going on.

Everyone else on the State Board of Education needs to resign because today we know how they secretly recruited extremist Left-wing organizations to help write the sex education standards for our state. Earlier this summer Jason Martinez, a private citizen with school aged children, used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain hundreds of pages of government documents, emails and text messages, which reveal how the State Board of Education enlisted individuals from outside activist groups to draft the sex education guidelines. Some of this information has since been revealed by Patrick Hauf, who wrote an article for the Washington Free Beacon on October 11, 2021, which revealed some of what Mr. Martinez found out through his FOIA request.

Thanks to Jason Martinez and Patrick Hauf today we know that Deborah Neary, the State Board of Education member who represents district 8 in eastern Nebraska, tried to recruit Lisa Schultze to the writing team. Deborah Neary wrote in an email to a state agency employee, “I want to make sure that Lisa Shultze is selected to help write the NDE Health Standards.” Although Neary’s recommendation was rejected for the writing team, Shultze was appointed to sit on the 28 member advisory board.

Lisa Shultze has very close ties to Planned Parenthood. Shultze worked for Planned Parenthood for 15 years before becoming the activist that she is today. Today she sits on the board for Friends of Planned Parenthood and she works for the Woman’s Fund of Omaha, another activist organization which has given more than $8 million to Planned Parenthood and to local transgender clinics.

Lisa Shultze played a significant role in the formation of the newly proposed health education standards. Emails obtained through the FOIA request show that Shultze arranged meetings between Nebraska Department of Education members and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), which is the activist organization who wrote the National Sex Education Standards. Because of Shultze’s influence and help the first draft of the proposed health education standards mirrored those written by SIECUS.

Other emails obtained through the FOIA request reveal how Deborah Neary disparaged parents’ complaints as “hate speech” and claimed that only her side of the sex education debate was based upon science. For example, Neary said, “It is irresponsible in my opinion when one of the sides is based in science and fact and the other is based in religion.” With this kind of attitude, there is no wonder why Neary abstained when the board voted 5-1 to table further discussion about the health education standards.

The State Board of Education continues to flounder. The board is now a ship without a rudder because the board members have lost the public’s trust. It is time for them to resign and allow others to take over at the helm who can steer our educational system back into the direction of true academic success.

Sen. Steve Erdman

District 47
Room 1124
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2616
Email: serdman@leg.ne.gov
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