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John Arch

Sen. John Arch

Speaker of the Legislature

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At the beginning of the session, I asked members to keep their evenings open on session days beginning March 13 through the end of the session for evening debate. Below you will find the specific dates that we will be working into the evening.

Please reserve the following dates for the Legislature to work during the early evening hours:

Monday, March 18;
Tuesday, March 19;
Wednesday, March 20;
Monday, March 25;
Tuesday, March 26;
Wednesday, March 27;
Tuesday, April 2;
Wednesday, April 3;
Thursday, April 4; and
Tuesday, April 9.

The adjournment time for a scheduled “late night” will be around 8:30 to 9:00 p.m. or later (potentially as late as 11:59 p.m.). The specific adjournment time each evening will be dependent upon the Body’s progress on that day’s agenda. We will have a half-hour recess for dinner around 6:00 p.m. each scheduled late night.

These dates are “reserved late nights” some of which I may cancel. I will provide members with as much notice as possible of such a cancellation. However, a cancelled “late night” may still mean working through the dinner hour and then adjourning sometime early evening.

I have decided to continue with a 10:00 a.m. start time for the first day of our work week. On the last day of our work week (March 15, 21, 28, and April 5) we will work through the lunch hour and adjourn between 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. dependent upon our progress that day.

Before we begin floor debate on legislation, I want to announce how I will be handling certain procedural motions under our current rules.

With respect to cloture motions on bills and resolutions, I intend to follow a “full and fair debate” guideline that a cloture motion is in order after 8 hours of debate on general file, 4 hours of debate on select file, and 2 hours of debate on final reading unless I discern that full and fair debate has occurred sooner, in which case I will entertain a motion for cloture earlier than the 8-4-2-time thresholds. I will make that determination in consultation with the principal introducer and members of the Legislature in opposition to the bill based on the quality of the debate and the number of members participating in the debate.

The “full and fair debate” guideline for appropriation bills accompanying substantive bills (“A” bills) will be 30 minutes of debate at each stage of consideration unless in my estimation additional time is needed to debate a substantive issue with the “A” bill, in which case the time for “full and fair debate” will be 1 hour. Conversely, if I discern that “full and fair debate” has occurred sooner than 30 minutes on “A” bills, I will entertain a motion for cloture earlier than 30 minutes of debate completion.

Please note, at this time I do not intend to deviate from the 8-4-2-hour threshold, or the “A” bill 30 minute/1 hour threshold in determining “full and fair debate” for purposes of cloture. The objective determination of “full and fair debate” by following the respective time thresholds will be my default decision, I hope, for the entire session. However, I have provided myself flexibility with respect to determining “full and fair debate” for invoking a cloture motion, if necessary.

If a motion to invoke cloture on legislation fails, I will consider the bill finished for the year, unless the bill is not a 2024 priority bill and is subsequently designated as such.

With respect to the Legislature’s adoption of the rule change to Rule 7, Sec. 10 allowing the cloture motion to apply to committee reports, non-CA resolutions, procedural motions, and other items of business (other than the adoption of rules), I intend to allow a cloture motion only if debate on such matters becomes exceedingly obstructive. I will provide the body with notice if such an occasion occurs.

As for other procedural practices, I intend to continue, in general, the practice of our recent speakers not to reschedule any bill that fails to advance from general file or from select file, unless the bill is subsequently designated as a priority bill.

This same general rule of not rescheduling a bill will apply to any bill successfully bracketed during debate (to a date certain or without a specified date) and any bill for which the principal introducer chooses to lay the bill over following the filing of a motion to indefinitely postpone pursuant to Rule 7, Section 3(a) and Section 6. In other words, if a principal introducer chooses to lay over their bill in the midst of debate due to the filing of a motion to indefinitely postpone the bill, I will not reschedule the bill on the agenda without subsequent designation of the bill as a priority bill. A bracketed bill may also be rescheduled if subsequently designated as a priority bill.

Sen. John Arch

Speaker of the Legislature
Room 2103
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2730
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