Today [1.10.24], the Nebraska Legislature’s Rules Committee advanced a series of proposed new rules that determine how the body functions. The first would weaken cloture rules from the current two-thirds of the body (33 votes) to a bare majority (as few as 25 votes). A second proposal would eliminate the practice of senators casting private ballots for their colleagues’ committee assignments.
These rule changes go too far. Instead of working on policies that will help Nebraskans, senators are trying to change the rules to make it easier to pass extreme legislation. These changes also do severe damage to our Legislature’s nonpartisan guardrails.
Debate on the proposed changes will begin as early as Thursday [1.11.24]. We need you to contact lawmakers TODAY to tell them to OPPOSE these changes. Legislating is intended to be a deliberative process, and the goal is to produce better-quality legislation through debate. Thorough deliberation is especially critical in Nebraska because we don’t have a second house to provide a check on extreme legislation. Likewise, the statehouse’s nonpartisan nature is damaged by forcing committee elections to be public – senators must have autonomy to vote for leaders they believe are most qualified to serve in those roles without partisan pressure.
Nebraskans overwhelmingly believe our Legislature’s nonpartisan structure and organization make it more effective at problem-solving than a partisan Legislature. We cannot allow our statehouse to be drawn into the same hyperpartisan realm that Washington, D.C., is known for.