SPEAKER SCHEER PRESIDING
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the George W. Norris Legislative Chamber for the twenty-third day of the One Hundred Fifth Legislature, First Session. Our chaplain today is Senator Blood. Please rise.
Thank you, Senator Blood. I call to order the twenty-third day of the One Hundred Fifth Legislature, First Session. Senators, please record your presence. Roll call. Please record, Mr. Clerk.
I have a quorum present, Mr. President.
Thank you, Mr. Clerk. Are there any corrections for the Journal?
I have no corrections.
Thank you. Are there any messages, reports, or announcements?
Mr. President, your Committee on Enrollment and Review reports LB22 to Select File with Enrollment and Review amendments. I have a hearing notice from the Health and Human Services Committee. An amendment from Senator Bostelman will be printed to LB263. And an appointment letter from the Governor appointing certain individuals to the Rural Health Advisory Commission. That will be referred to Reference for referral to standing committee for confirmation hearing. That's all that I have, Mr. President. (Legislative Journal pages 415-418.)
Thank you, Mr. Clerk. We will now proceed to the first item on the agenda.
Mr. President, permanent rules, the committee proposals have been considered and adopted. Senator Hansen has pending an amendment to Rule 3, Section 20(b).
Senator Hansen, can you refresh our memories on your change in rules, please?
Yes. Thank you, Mr. President. As the clerk stated it's a motion to amend Rule 3, Section 20(b), and specifically it's on line 3 of our rules. It would strike the words, a vote of the majority and replace that with three-fifths vote, functionally taking a vote from 25 votes to 30 votes. This section is commonly referred to as the pull motion, which is the opportunity to pull a bill out of committee when a committee has not made a final determination on it, either advancing it to General File or advancing it to indefinitely postpone. Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Senator Hansen. Mr. Clerk, for a motion?
Mr. President, Senator Chambers now would move to amend Senator Hansen's proposal by striking the three-fifths vote and inserting a vote of 27 members.
Senator Chambers, you're welcome to open on your amendment.
Thank you. Mr. President and members of the Legislature, first of all I do oppose Senator Hansen's amendment. But sometimes if it looks like a proposition may pass, then it should be modified by those who may oppose it, but could mitigate the damage. So what my amendment and subsequent amendments will do is to slow walk from the current 25 up to and not including the 30 votes that Senator Hansen would ask for in his amendment. In the interest of straightforwardness, all I'm doing is taking time. And on these occasions I always think of Edgar Allan Poe's poem about the bells: Keeping time, time, time/In a sort of Runic rhyme/To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells/From the bells, bells, bells, bells/Bells, bells, bells/From the rhyming and the chiming of the bells. So time is what I'm interested in consuming. I also want to talk very frankly and forthrightly about the image of the Legislature and how we do things. The rules govern what we do, but the rules are sometimes recognized more in the breach than in adherence. There are various documents circulated on the Internet under the name, the imprimatur, the aegis of the Legislature. It talks about what the jurisdiction of various committees is. It then talks about the referencing of bills. The Executive Board serving as a Reference Committee has not adhered to the document that has been put out in the name of the Legislature. There are bills being referenced not based on logic, not based on tradition, not based on the traditional jurisdiction...not just traditional, the stated jurisdiction of these committees. I think that impairs and undermines the dignity and integrity of the Legislature specifically and the referencing particularly. Now, the one leading the attempt to change the extended debate rule is a person who is the chair of a committee. Is Chairperson Senator Larson here?
Senator Larson has not checked in, Senator Chambers.
Thank you. I would like to ask him, were he here, did he attend a meeting with various chairs a few years ago about not supporting bills being pulled from committee. And I'm not sure which persons currently are chairs who were chairs at that time. So many of the chairs are not with us this morning and that's how they show their leadership. I believe that the rules are very important. The discussion of the rules is important. But the chairpersons are not here; they are conspicuous by their absence. I see one of them ambling in with a cup in his hand so he will be with us. That person is Senator Murante, the Chairman of the Government Committee. His partner, Larson, is not tagging along. I thought he might be coming from the opposite direction, but I still don't see him. Why do I deal forthrightly with things like this? Because they go to the very heart of what the Legislature is and what it does. I am not a go along to get along person. These people are not my friends. They don't even have my respect. They are instrumental in undermining the very rules that they say they believe in. I'd like to ask Senator Murante a question if he would respond.
Senator Murante, would you please yield?
Senator Murante, were you the chair of a committee when the committee chairs had a meeting to discuss the attitude that the chairpersons would take with reference to pulling bills from committee?
I am fortunate to have been a chairperson since my first day in the Legislature, Senator Chambers.
Were you at that meeting?
I believe I know what meeting you're talking about and, yes, I believe there was some dialogue back and forth.
And the reason I say it in the way that I do, I was supporting the pulling of a bill from committee that somebody else had made a motion to do, and the chairperson stood up and opposed it and said that the chairpersons had agreed that they would not support bills being pulled from committee. Do you recall a discussion along those lines?
Okay. Thank you. The reason I pay attention is because they impact on what we do on the floor. Maybe these things were not discussed at the time that Senator Murante was a chairperson. I would like to ask him another question, though, since he is a chairperson now.
Senator Murante, would you please yield again?
I would love to.
Senator Murante, do you currently support motions to pull bills from committee? And when I say that I'm not talking about a specific bill, so let me ask it a different way. Are you opposed to bills being pulled from committee?
Okay. Thank you. Members of the Legislature, as has been stated before, I am prepared to discuss this motion on the permanent rules as long as it takes to have sanity and order restored to this body. What do I mean by order? Complying with the traditions that various others have put in place and which I go along with even though many of them I oppose. I don't like to have to stop at a red light when it's three o'clock in the morning or midnight or anytime of the day and no traffic is anywhere to be seen and it's a sparsely traveled road. But I stop when the light is red and wait for nobody to come, nobody to go. I signal if I'm going to change lanes if I'm the only person on the highway. That is more habit than anything else. But there are some things that go beyond those perfunctory little things that I just touched on which we comply with or adhere to. I am not distressed by what goes on here, I've been here so long that I've seen it before. But in the old days there were more people of integrity when it came to how the Legislature would function as an institution. There never was a situation where a group clustered and clumped together and worked in a way to undermine the Legislature. There never was a time when pursuant to some simpleminded arrangement like that, freshmen senators were made head of committees. And there was an attempt to match people to committees who had knowledge and understanding of the work of that committee. I wish Senator Groene who's Chairperson of the...oh, I see...I'd like to ask Senator Groene if he would respond.
Senator Groene, would you please yield? One minute, Senator Chambers.
Thank you. Senator Groene?
Yes, I will be courteous and take his question.
And rather than ask a question which you would not have time to respond at this point, I won't ask it for you to answer. But the question will relate to whether or not something ought to be in the rules relative to any type of qualification a person who is going to be the Chair of a committee should have. And you don't have to try to answer now because there are just a few seconds. And I would want to engage you in a little back and forth if you don't mind. Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Senator Chambers. (Visitors introduced.) Returning to discussion, Senator Hansen, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. President and good morning, colleagues. I tried to keep my initial comments on the refresher course just as a...on the refresher of my rule short but I will give a further explanation now. I do rise in opposition to the Chambers amendment. His amendment, I know as he explained, is maybe just more for debate and discussion than a sincere attempt to change my proposal. With that being said, if we do get to a vote on it, I do not plan on supporting it. For further clarification sense it does change his number from...my number changes it from 25 to 30. My amendment, excuse me. My amendment changes the number of votes needed from 25 to 30. And then his amendment further reduces it to 27, which I say I find slightly more interesting than 25. But being that that breaks with any sort of traditional vote threshold we have in this Legislature, I cannot think of any other 27-22 votes we might have. I don't think that's proper at this point. But I just wanted to kind of reframe the debate on my rules amendment. I just wanted to make sure people were clear and interested as to what it specifically does. We talked about pulling it from committee and I know on Friday we got sidetracked-- maybe not sidetracked--but Friday we got the opportunity to talk about other ways bills come out of committee. And there was discussion of a bill that had been voted out of committee, drastically changed, and changed back on the floor and whatnot and whether or not that was truly typically a pull motion. I personally did not feel that that was the case and certainly is not anything that happened to Rule (3), Section 20(b). So just for the record, Rule 3, Section 20 overall is entitled "Request From Committee, Bills Held". And specifically, section (b) starts off with: Any Senator may move that a bill be placed on General File twenty calendar days or more after a committee hearing, if the committee has not taken final action on the bill, and by a vote of majority of the elected members, said bill shall be placed on General File. Final action taken by the committee following a motion filed pursuant to the subsection and prior to when debate is initiated on such motion by the Legislature, shall take precedence of the motion. So that's just the first half of the lengthy rule section and that's the specific line I'm trying to amend, is we're raising 25 to 30 by changing it from majority to three-fifths vote. And that is in a specific situation where there's...actually you heard several qualifiers there. It's a specific situation where it's been 20 days since a committee has had a hearing. The committee has not taken final action on the bill, meaning they have not indefinitely postponed it or they've not advanced it to General File. That's the opportunity that they've had to do so. And further, that if there's an opportunity between the motion being filed and the motion being debated, that will take precedence. So for, say, trying to pull a bill out of committee via this amendment--not this amendment--via this motion, the Rule 3, Section 20 motion, and the committee decides to IPP it, let's say a 3, 3, 1 deadlock and a seven-member committee breaks in favor of the 4-3 to IPP, that would take precedent and that would change it to our different section, one dealing with indefinitely postponed bills. So that's what we're trying to get to here. I'm just trying to make sure we reframe the debate. I know we've had a great discussion on kind of the body as a whole, the traditions and efforts of the Legislature, and things of that nature. But I wanted to make sure that when we get an opportunity to vote on my motion, my AM to Rule 3, Section 20(b), that we're really clear on what this section impacts. Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Senator Hansen. Senator Chambers, you're recognized.
Thank you. Mr. President, members of the Legislature, circumstances when they change, alter cases. I now see...so I'm not going to engage Senator Groene in the back and forth that I had intended and I informed him of that. I see that Senator Crawford is now here. I would like to ask her a question, if she would yield.
Senator Crawford, would you please yield?
Senator Crawford, were you a Chairperson--and you may have been-- I'm going to ask you that question, but I'm going to say this first, you had a bill in the Government Committee which had I think in excess of 30 signers. I was one of those. I wanted to pull it from the committee, but you said that you didn't want that path to be taken. Is that accurate, what I've said?
That is accurate, yes.
And what was the reason that you gave, if you remember?
Well, I felt it was important to be very careful about when you were to pull a bill. It was also the case...and I felt it was important to respect committees. We did have a good number of people who wanted to hear the bill. It was also the case it was late enough in the session that if we were to go through that process, and a contentious process, it might not have had a slot on the agenda. So those...both of those things were considerations that caused me not to go forward with the pull motion.
And here's what I really wanted to get to. While you were a Chairperson, did those others who chaired committees have a meeting and agree that they would not support pulling bills from committee?
I don't believe so.
You don't remember? Okay. Thank you. I see that Senator Larson is here. I would like to ask him a question or two if he would yield.
Senator Larson, would you please yield?
Senator Larson, you heard my discussion with Senator Crawford so I won't repeat it all, I'll ask you the question. While you were a Chair...
I didn't, actually. I was in another conversation, I didn't hear it. I'm sorry.
I was talking to someone else.
You don't have to account to me. Laughter is the best medicine. You just gave me a treatment, "Dr. Larson", you gave me some laughter. So when you're administering to those who need medicine and you gave it to me, don't apologize. While you were a Chair, did you attend a meeting of other Chairpersons where it was agreed that they would not support pulling bills from committee?
I don't remember such a meeting. I've been a Chair for...this is my third year and I've always supported pulling bills from committee.
Okay. That's all I will ask you. Thank you. Oh, one thing else.
I learn from everybody. I learned that from Lieutenant Columbo. Senator, you were the one who brought that bill to the Ag Committee to take that money from the potato growers and you heard the discussion where people were very distressed, and I particularly. Did you talk to any of the potato growers before you introduced that bill?
No. I was told by the administration that they had taken care of it.
Thank you. And you know now that they didn't, don't you?
Thank you. I'm going to read a brief comment by the World-Herald, but I shall not take out after Senator Larson as I intended to in view of his very straightforward remarks. This was in this morning's World-Herald on the editorial page where they put a few paragraphs at the bottom of the column,...
..."Potato Tax Fix Flunks. Do Bill Homework." Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture got skinned last week for a potato tax cut that taught them a political lesson. Before offering a proposal that affects an industry or group of people, it helps to talk to them first, even if you think you're helping them. Then it goes on, turns out nobody talked to Nebraska's 15 or so commercial potato growers. They testified they want the tax and were saving up for larger projects. It shouldn't have taken a hearing to find out. All the state had to do was ask. Senator...well, Chairperson Brasch had said, that's why you have committee hearings so you can find out where people stand. I wanted to address something to her, but she's not here so I'll just say this. It's not for these administration people to wait till there's a committee hearing before they talk to the affected people. They should have done so and didn't. Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Senator Chambers. Senator Hansen, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. President. Sorry, I thought I was going to be farther down the queue. I know Senator Chambers was on a good train of thought so I'll yield my time to him. Thank you, Mr. President.
Senator Chambers, 4:40.
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Senator Hansen. Members of the Legislature, the kind of discussion I'm having now is very apropos because the rules are in play all the time. There are currents and crosscurrents that flow through this body on a regular basis. And such is the case now. I am not the part of any agreements that people make, meaning that I bind myself based on what others have agreed to. But I will cooperate if an agreement supposedly has been reached which will facilitate the business of the Legislature and I'm not opposed to that particular business moving forward. I have offered independent amendments of my own to the permanent rules. So that if what has been agreed to would go agley...that comes from a rhyme, somebody says the best laid schemes of mice and men, oft go agley. But other people say, oft go awry. Football coaches pronounce it are-ee (phonetically). But it really means will go aglimmering. When something glimmers, it's just an intermittent blinking of a very pale light which eventually goes away. So when something goes aglimmer, that means it's in the process of disappearing. In case an agreement that has been made or reached goes aglimmer, agley, awry, or are-ee, I am prepared to carry on the discussion. Do I have trust in people who make agreements? No. Do I have confidence that they are honest? No. Why not? Because I have observed them. Well, what does that mean? It means that I read when I was a small boy many things that a person called Jesus had said, and I thought some of what he said made a lot of sense. One of the things he said is that you know the tree by the fruit it bears. Sometimes you have to allow the tree the opportunity to grow so that its fruit will come to fruition and will tell you the nature of the tree in case you couldn't tell by its size, by its branching, by its leaves, by its bark. So I'm going to check this tree out and see what I shall see. But let me tell my brothers and sisters on this floor something. You all have no idea of how deeply I wish you all believed in Jesus Christ. You have no idea of the profound wish that I have that you all truly believed in Jesus Christ. That you truly believed in his teachings.
I wish that you did that. And if a fervent prayer would make any difference, I would do it, but that would be in vane. So just keep in mind you have somebody pulling for you to believe in this Jesus that you talk about and to follow the teachings of that person. Mr. President, the amendments that I have pending to Senator Hansen's amendment I now withdraw all of them, those that are pending to Senator Hansen's amendment.
Without objection, so noted. Senator Hansen, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. President. At this time in the spirit of moving us on, I would like to pull my pending rules amendment to Section 20(b), Rule 3, Section 20(b) and the following one to Rule 3, Section 18.
Without exception, so noted.
Mr. President, the next change to the permanent rules is by Senator Larson. Mr. President, Senator Larson is asking unanimous consent to withdraw and substitute a new proposal.
Senator Larson, you're recognized.
I'd move to substitute.
It's a debatable motion. Senator Larson, you're recognized to open on your request.
Thank you, Mr. President. I'll be honest, I have never seen in my time in the Legislature an objection to substitute an amendment. I don't know the last time that happened. Senator Harr knows? Well, Senator Harr, will you yield to a question?
Senator Harr, would you please yield?
Gladly, Mr. Chairman.
I may be wrong, but do you remember the last time an objection to substitute an amendment happened?
Well, please enlighten us.
It was by Senator Chambers in regard to a Senator Lautenbaugh bill.
Which one was that?
You know, I don't even know my own bills numbers.
Do you know what the content was? Was it amber lights or one of those other ones that Senator Lautenbaugh so gladly guided?
I don't remember that either, but I do know the last time it happened.
Okay. What year was it? Or do you just know that's what it was, it was Senator Chambers objecting to a Senator Lautenbaugh amendment?
You know, let's see, my kiddo was born in 2012. Boy, I think it would have been 2012 or '13, but I'm not positive.
Two thousand twelve or two thousand thirteen. All right, so it would have been like one of our first years in the Legislature, like year two or three?
No, no, no, no, no, no, no. It would have been year...
It would have had to have been year three since we served the first two with Senator Council.
Yeah. So I think it was year four.
It was a short session.
Okay. All right. Is that the only one that you can remember during our time in the Legislature?
Well, you know, I haven't really given it a lot of thought, to be honest with you. I'd have to think about it a little bit and do a little research. But I don't know.
I appreciate your time on the mike.
And I with you as well. Thank you.
Thank you, Senator Harr. Well, I guess it's happened once, maybe. We'll have to go back and look through and figure out if it happened more than that time in my time in the Legislature. I don't remember the specific time. I guess I'd ask Senator Chambers, would he yield to a question?
Senator Chambers, would you please yield?
Senator Chambers, do you remember specifically which bill Senator Harr is talking about?
Absolutely not. I have such bigger fish to fry. Small minds, small brains think small thoughts. That's a small thought and it does not occupy my mind. Once the thing is done, it's done.
All right. Thank you, Senator Chambers.
I can't remember for sure and Senator Chambers doesn't remember if he did that exactly or not. Colleagues, you wanted to get to my amendment. I have decided since that I want to substitute. That's what this motion is about. It is a debatable motion that takes, my understanding, 25 of the elected members to substitute. I would ask that we move on, allow the substitution, and start debating my amendment. I don't remember exactly what Senator Harr is referring to, maybe...it could have been any of Senator Lautenbaugh's bills. I know amber lights, we spent 15 hours one session. Could have been historic horse racing. I know Senator Lautenbaugh loved the immunity bills. Could have been...I think he had a drug prescription...no, that was Senator McCoy had a drug prescription bill. Colleagues, I'm sure you have all seen the substitution amendment now. It's a small change. I won't talk about that since that's not what we're on. We're on a motion to substitute, not my amendment, so I'll try to focus on that. Eventually I'll get to my amendment. But you said you wanted to get to amendments, so here I am. It is a small change to my original amendment. And I would like to substitute it. The collegial thing to do would be to allow that substitution. So if we want to take the rest of the morning discussing the substitution and whether or not I will be allowed to substitute, I guess we will because this, after first drafting my amendment, I feel is stronger and serves the body better. And this is the proposal under the same spirit of the cloture rule that I would like to have debated. Now, yes, you all have to agree or at least 25 of you have to agree to let me substitute, but hopefully as we move forward we'll get to that point and we'll be able to discuss the actual amendment that I would like to have discussed. So I don't know how we work together...and hopefully we can talk to each other off the mike over the next hour and 20 minutes to discuss these and discuss the possibility of moving forward and how we move forward. But I think it's important that we have the debate on the amendment that I tried to substitute that is dealing with the same concept. It all has to do with cloture. It deals around what we've heard about the 20 reds. It just adds a green component, a favorable component. Will Senator Harr yield to a question?
Senator Harr, would you please yield?
Yes, Mr. President, I would yield to a question from Senator Larson.
Thank you, Senator Harr. Have you had a chance to read the amendment that I'd like to substitute?
No, I haven't and nor have I received a copy of it I don't think yet.
I'm sure the Clerk's Office is working on that. When you do, flag me and I'll call you back to the mike. How's that?
All right, because yeah, I've heard the intro and I haven't heard...I've heard this is bad, this is bad, but I haven't heard anything about the actual amendment.
This is bad. This is bad. I wonder who was telling you that. Maybe Senator Morfeld.
No, no, no. No, excuse me I need to clarify the record. You were saying that the objection to the motion to substitute was bad, not the motion itself.
Yeah. Okay. All right. I saw Senator Linehan handed you my substituted amendment. She's a sweet lady. I've known her for some time. She was my boss one time. Did you know that?
I did not. She doesn't brag about it.
She actually handed me off to a gentleman that we both respected, Nate Mett (phonetic), because I was too young to be an intern she told me at that time, but I still managed.
Okay. So I've had a chance to read it, yep. It requires a majority of the elected members and shall not prevail if two-fifths of the elected members are voting in the negative.
Correct. And my original amendment that I'm trying to substitute this for,...
...do you remember what that was?
That was you had 20 votes, you had to get 20 votes.
It was just the two-fifths portion of it, correct?
It was just you...the opponents needed two-fifths to stop it.
And this requires 20...a majority, i.e., 25 greens and the two-fifths, correct?
I'm not sure.
So, essentially, it would require to invoke cloture, the person invoking cloture would at least need 25 greens. But if the opponents had two-fifths, then cloture wouldn't be invoked in the reading of the rule, correct?
I think that's right. So a negative vote would prevail the day, is that right?
No. It takes the positive vote to invoke cloture first, unless there's two- fifths. So there is that positive component. So wouldn't you say that...
Thank you, Senator Harr and Senator Larson. Senator Chambers, Halloran, Harr, Hughes, and many others, Senator Chambers, you're recognized.
Mr. President, this is the silliest thing that I've seen in my 42 years. Senator Larson gets up here and whines and cries about whether or not the amendment...whether a motion had been made, has every motion been accepted. That's silly. All he needed to do was make his motion and then we discuss it if he's so eager to get to a discussion. But an empty bucket makes a lot of noise, and that's all. He has nothing of substance and consequence to offer. But I'll tell you what I'm prepared to do. If this silly thing comes before us, I see ten amendments to it I can offer right away, some of them grammar in nature, grammatical in nature. They will come from the realm of grammar and possibly syntax. This is not going to get us off the discussion of the permanent rules. Senator Larson was trying to lead the Ag Committee down a bad path because he did not check whether or not the bill he was carrying for the administration to take money from a group of farmers--and he sometimes talks about how from his district he represents rural and farm interests--but he has so little respect for people who voluntarily put money of their own into a fund. He was going to steal that money and put it in the General Fund because the Governor, who owns him, told him to do that. Only somebody owned by the Governor would offer something so stupid, because he's too smart for it. Senator Larson is smarter than he has shown himself to be, but he's not free to let his intelligence flower here. Do you all know he went to--now, he gets offended when I get the school mixed up--I say George Washington, but he said no, I didn't go to George Washington, I went to--I don't know if it was Abraham Lincoln--Georgetown, Georgetown. That's more prestigious. So when somebody has to show these badges and titles because what they are and what they manifest is so lacking in merit, they become what you call name-droppers. And when the name-dropping comes on this floor, I'm going to deal with it. This is pure silliness, the motion that he has up there will be debated. The amendment makes no sense. And when you consider who comprised the brain trust, the senators working together to do this--and you see how incompetent they are, even when they conduct their own affairs--they are trying to put the Legislature on record as being silly and foolish just like they are and just like they've been. When a committee under a certain Chair gets the reputation for being the one that will kick out anything the "Repelican" Party wants, that's not a great recommendation except in the eyes of the "Repelican" Party if you plan to run for another office and you're going to need their support. You show them that you're willing to sacrifice the integrity of the Legislature and its processes in order to get them to support you for another office. This is politics. Senator Halloran and others need to know that we're in a grown- up man and woman's game here. We're not playing. We're not playing at some small county board.
And he, of all people, who invoked my name to play to the racism that he perceived of the people in his district, had the nerve to talk to some people who invited him to a free meal. These senators have never seen a free meal that they wouldn't run to. Then he doesn't like the way I question these people who come before the Judiciary Committee. They know what they're going to confront when they get there. He doesn't, because he just got there. So he's going to have a lot to tell them about the way I question people who come to the committee. And if he'd listen, he might learn something. He just might. And maybe he won't. But everybody can conduct their affairs the way they choose. And I'm going to call a thing just like it is. This is silly. This makes no sense. And in a way I hope you go ahead...
Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Senator Chambers. Senator Halloran, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, fellow legislators, Nebraska. I stand in support of Senator Larson's motion to substitute. The potato issue was a particularly interesting one that Senator Larson proposed to the Ag Committee. Those testifying...first, I would like to clarify that I do farm, I have farmed, a retired farm, still own the farms. I've had dirt under my fingernails as opposed to some people that may be on that committee would not know anything about a potato other than whether it's French fried or baked. That being said, those people that came to testify in support of keeping the fund were primarily members of the commission, people who were eminently part of being appointed to a commission, and truckers. But the actual producers who were being taxed weren't well represented. And as a producer who pays check-off on several commodities, it's interesting how oftentimes those check-offs are used. Those check- offs very often are used in a manner which promotes the respective boards and their efforts. For example, much of the money is spent on four-color ads in farm magazines, Farm Journal, Successful Farming, High Plains, Nebraska Farmer. And those ads are speaking of the benefits that the respective commodity boards might be providing. And that's all good, but they're speaking to the choir. It's wasting our money, our tax money; the check-off is a tax. It's wasting the money that we producers put forth to these boards and commissions to better the commodity prices, to better the usage of those commodities, and they're preaching to the choir. I'm sorry, those should be spent towards commercials, four-color commercials in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, other places where they don't have a clue about whether or not it's a baked potato or a French fry. So again, I stand in support of Senator Larson's motion to substitute. I believe it's a worthwhile proposal. And on the note of how...people ask me...before I became elected people ask me, how is it that a small group of people over the last several decades have been able to control the committees? Have been able to control the Chairmanships of those committees? And it wasn't until I got down here that someone here with a relative amount of experience set me aside and said, Senator Halloran, it's really pretty simple. That side of the aisle, the more progressive or liberal side of the aisle will block their votes, they'll have a strong 17 votes, for example. And they will come to a new senator or a two-year senator and suggest to them or ask them the question, Senator x, would you like to be senator of, say, Appropriations? And Senator x having some level of ego like we all do said, sure. And then that party said, well, okay, we will provide a block of 17 votes. You have to get 8 more votes...
You have to get eight more votes to win Chairmanship. And there's a caveat to that. You not only have to get those eight more votes, but you have to make sure that you vote for the other committee choices that we want you to. And thus the small minority or a minority is able to control the committee's...able to control the Chairmanships. It's bogus to say that the other side of the aisle has not organized, has not met in the past, has not strategized. They have. It's bogus to say it's just suddenly partisan. I'm sorry, it's been that way for a long time. So to point your fingers at us and say that's the case, I'm sorry, that's rude and inaccurate. Thank you.
Thank you, Senator Halloran. Senator Harr, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker-President. My mama always taught me, if you can't say something nice about someone, you shouldn't say anything at all. To call someone rude? You, my sir, my fellow senator...well, I won't say anything bad. Right? We talk about sides of the aisle. Look here, I'm on the same side of the aisle as Senator Halloran. There are no sides to the aisles down here. I am tired of this institution being picked upon. Take some time, learn how this body works. We are nonpartisan by rule. Okay? When we pick committees, when we pick Chairmen...well, Chairmen might be a little different. When we pick committees, it's by Congressional district. We don't say, this committee has to be by x amount of this party or x amount of that party based on the overall of the Legislature. The rules are nonpartisan. We pick by Congressional district. That's the rules. That was the intent. That's what the people voted for. Okay? That's what it is. If you want to stack Transportation with a whole bunch of people of the same ideology, God bless you. Go at it. Have at it. And you know what? I bet you a lot of those senators chose it as their first choice. They wanted to be on that committee. Revenue, seven to one Republican. When we were in Committee on Committees, I heard complaints, Transportation is too Republican. I didn't hear any complaints that Transportation with too Republican. I didn't hear any complaints that Revenue was too Republican. Let's quit talking about Democrats and Republicans and let's start talking about the business of the people. Senator Larson's motion to substitute, I'm not going to object to. It probably could have been done without a motion to substitute. He could have just put an amendment on his bill, because it takes basically the same idea except it requires a positive vote of 25. It still requires 20 people to be in the negative. It still changes the burden of proof of what it takes to stop a bill from the introducer carrying the burden of proof the whole time to now the person leading the filibuster. But I know that because I paid attention. Senator Schumacher says the longer he's here the more he respects the rules; there's a reason and genius behind them. And he's absolutely right. Take some time to learn how the institution works. Don't just disparage your fellow senators. That's not the way things get done. We're looking to ways to build and move the state forward, not to cut down, quote, the other side of the aisle. There is no other side of the aisles here, folks. All there are is state senators. Let's find ways to work together. You know, I hear we got to move on, we got to move on, we got to do the people's business. Amen, I'm with it. Senator Larson, would you yield to a question?
Senator Larson, would you please yield?
As he works his way to the mike, I'm going to pre-ask the question. And the question I'm going to ask Senator Larson, he can pay attention, is if he wants to vote on his motion today. Senator Larson, would you yield to a question?
Did you hear my question?
Do I want to vote on my motion today?
Yes, your motion to substitute.
And you told me this has never been done before and I listened to you and I've been told we need to just move on and get to the underlying amendment. Did you not say that earlier?
I said I couldn't remember if it had been done before. You corrected me and said that it had been done before.
Okay, one time. So you...thank you. I'm going to go ahead and yield the rest of my time to Senator Morfeld.
Senator Morfeld, 51 seconds.
Thank you, Speaker. Colleagues, the reason why I objected to Senator Larson's motion or attempt to substitute his amendment for another amendment is that we had no notice as to what the nature and the substance of the substitute amendment was. And when you substitute an amendment, you are putting your amendment then before all the other amendments that had gone through the process and had been filed and given notice to the body. So I objected to Senator Larson's substitution of his amendment because it's not fair to the rest of the body to have an amendment that could be completely substantively different and in fact I'm reading it right now and quite frankly it doesn't make very much sense. And so we're still trying to figure out exactly what we would be voting on. And that's why we have a process.
Thank you, Senator Harr and Morfeld. Senator Hughes, Krist, Lowe, and Morfeld in the queue. Senator Hughes, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning, colleagues. It's fortuitous that Senator Krist is going to come after me, because I have...he will follow me. I want to bring back the discussion to last Friday when I talked about how rules can be manipulated to do different things depending on which side of the issue you're on. And I brought up last year's bill of LB824. By the way, I am in favor of Senator Larson's motion to substitute. And watch out, I'm going to poke my light again when I'm done here just to make sure that I get a chance to talk about that before the day ends. But technically LB824 was in the Natural Resources Committee-- and this was last year--and it could not get out of committee. So the committee amended it to put in the contents of LB914, which was a bill dealing with paying the Nebraska representative to the Southwest Power Pool. The committee agreed that's something that needed to be done. We had a gentleman who served on that board that was not being adequately compensated for his time and efforts going there. So that bill came out of committee. We gutted LB824, submitted...amended LB914 into that. And that was fine. Came out on floor. We understood that there would be a movement on the floor to amend the part we gutted out of LB824 back into it, thus the original bill. And we began the fight on General File, and Senator Friesen can correct me if I'm wrong on that because he was very involved in that situation. We got to General File and we began a filibuster on that bill because we knew that this amendment was going to come, to put the original text back into the bill that was on the floor. And after a point they said, no, no, we're fine. We're not going to push it, we're not going to bring that amendment till later on. So we dropped the effort and the bill passed in order to give compensation to the gentleman who serves on the Southwest Power Pool and we were fine with that. So we get to Select File, the second round. And here comes the amendment to replace the original content of the bill back into the bill on to the floor. So now there are two subjects in the bill. One was to create a more friendly environment for renewable fuels in the state of Nebraska and the compensation issue for the gentleman serving on the Southwest Power Pool. And we took that four hours and lost. So what we heard on Friday was semantics. There was not a bill pulled out of committee per se, but there was the contents of the bill which were not voted out of committee because it was deadlocked, were then amended into the bill that was on the floor and ultimately passed. There are lots of different ways to manipulate the rules to get what you want. My first year here...
...there was a tower bill that was locked in the Natural Resources Committee; couldn't get out. And all of a sudden we notice Senator Schilz, who was Chairman of the committee at that time, put an amendment on another bill that was flying through, to put that on. And I don't recall for sure if it was amended on General File or Select File. But my point is to the freshmen and to those of us who have been around a while, there are lots of ways to manipulate the rules to get what you want. That's why we need to be ever vigilant of what's going on and make sure we pay attention to how and what is being gone on. And it's not necessarily what is said here, but you need to be watching what happens here. There's a lot of...let's call it performing.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Senator Hughes. Senator Krist, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning, colleagues. Good morning, Nebraska. Senator Hughes, I give up. You're not going to listen to reason so there's no reason to talk to you. I've never in my life, either on this floor or being a part of Nebraska, have I ever had a farmer tell me I am beneath him because I don't get my fingernails dirty. This is a first. That's all I'm going to say about that subject. Now let me tell you what's really going on here this morning. Because as Senator Friesen was racing back down the aisle...and I notice there were eight people missing from the queue...if you want to see who's missing you can go up there and look or you can come back here on the Red Coats' desk and look. They didn't have the votes. So as Senator Friesen is racing down the aisle, Senator Larson said, we got to keep them going all morning. Now who's filibustering who? You know, I hope Nebraska is not watching this morning. I don't care if Senator Larson wins or loses. Ultimately, he will lose. Maybe not on this subject, but on others. And as I said the other day, one should try to keep the rules before one changes the rules. Senator Hughes is absolutely right. To know the rules is to manipulate and get what you want. We haven't seen any greater example of someone who knows the rules and can use the rules than the gentleman in the purple sweatshirt up front. I learned a lot from Senator Chambers in my time here. And, yeah, that's eight years and I'm not afraid to say it over and over again. I've had many experiences and many things that I just...I couldn't believe. On one particular dark night four or five of the key voters who we knew they needed here disappeared over to Billy's. Why Billy's? Because they could sit and watch us and be quick to come back to the Chamber. And by the way, it wasn't Coca-Cola that they were drinking. You want to talk about experiences and manipulation and making sure that they don't think you have the votes? Now some of those people have trickling back in right now. But tomorrow the Governor is going to make his announcement on who's going to replace Senator Kintner. So my estimation, we'll be back up to full strength. And that might tip the balance one way or another depending on who that individual is. At first I don't think anybody goes against the Governor if he's appointed. Take it from someone who was appointed. The first couple of weeks you want to get your feet on the ground and decide who you are before you buck the system. We've got to get the permanent rules adopted. We've got to get on and do the state's business. And to prove the point, this is the last time I'm talking about anything until we take a vote on the permanent rules. I'm not filibustering the filibuster the filibuster. It's ridiculous. I want everybody out there who has a computer in front of them to look up their state senator and send them an e-mail and say, stop the foolishness. We've got a $900 million deficit. Come on folks, citizens of Nebraska, let's send us all an e-mail and tell us, stop the foolishness. Adopt the rules and let's get on. Sometimes the best way to say something is not to say it. So I will not say what I think I should say at this point.
I will shut up and I will listen to debate from my office. And when there's a call of the house for a vote, I'll come back up. In the meantime, have fun.
Thank you, Senator Krist. Senator Lowe, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. President. Just want to make sure this microphone worked. I haven't spoken before. My mother always told me, if you listen, you will learn. If you talk, you're not learning. And up until today I have been listening. I've been listening because we are now into day 20-something of this legislative time and up until today it has not been us who have been talking, who have been filibustering, and yet today we're being blamed for it. How odd is that? Welcome to politics. This is a strange, strange, strange thing here. It's supposed to move slowly, but this year it seems to be dragging its feet. Anchors the car, the boat, and anything else tethered to it. How strange that is. I'm in support of Senator Larson's motion to substitute. And I'm also in the Agriculture Committee. We hashed a few things out the other day on the potato bill. And it was more like shredded potatoes was what came out of it that day, because every day when I go home and I leave for work, I pass by potato trucks trucking their produce to the Frito Lay plant. Somehow I believe that that trucker isn't in favor of having his money sit idly by. It needs to be used. It's been taxed and it needs to be used. We are short of money this year. We need to dig ourselves out of a hole, get back and doing Nebraska's will. We have spent over 20 days this year of sitting in our chairs and twiddling our thumbs, answering our e-mails, and not doing the will of Nebraska. I am sorry for all my constituents back home that we are moving slowly like this. I'm sorry for all the constituents across Nebraska. This is a do-nothing Legislature here. And it is a sad thing that is happening. Let's sit down, let's buckle up, let's put on our big boy pants and continue on. We need to fire up and get going. Things are happening in the committees, but not here on the floor. And somehow today this miraculous group of 27, whoever we are, is being blamed for it. I don't think it's the 27, because most of the time we have kept our mouths shut and we have been willing to proceed. There's been those that say that we are the ones being blamed. They should look in the mirror sometime and really see where this is coming from. Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Senator Lowe. Senator Morfeld recognized.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, Senator Lowe, I put on my big boy pants today and the reason why we pulled our amendments was so that we could get on with the state's business so that we could go to a vote. But Senator Larson was ready for that, decided to come up with a surprise substitute amendment in order to stop the debate so that they could wait longer so that they would have the votes. So here we are today. I just stand before all of you ready to vote on this and move on with the state's business. And it is not my job to keep my mouth shut and sit down and push yes or no. That is not why I was elected. And maybe that's some of other people's prerogative. If that's what you want to do, fine. Do it. But I was elected to be a voice for the 40,000 constituents that I represent. And when somebody wants to change the process and the rules that will impact hundreds and thousands of bills moving forward and then say that it's because of one political party when the evidence is clear it goes across ideology, across political lines on who uses this mechanism to protect their constituents' interest, whether rural or urban or otherwise. So I'm sitting here ready. I've got my big boy pants on Senator Lowe and I'm ready to go for a vote. If you want to tell somebody to put their big boy pants on, tell Senator Larson who's sitting over there right now to put his on and go to a vote. Let's turn off the lights. Let's do it. We're ready. The reason why we debate these things and the reason why we've been trying to engage those who want to make these changes--which they have not given a good answer for them yet--is because the burden is on them to explain why are we making these changes? And anytime that somebody has gotten up and explained why they're making these changes, Senator Larson, it has been disingenuous and incorrect. I've pointed that out on the mike based on the news articles and the claims that were made by Senator Larson and I'll continue to point it out. But I will not sit down and be quiet when we have something this monumental. And perhaps for the freshman senators some of you may understand how monumental this is and some of you may not. But this is a rule change that doesn't just impact one bill. It will impact hundreds and thousands of bills moving forward. That's why we're taking 25 days to talk about this. And that's why I'm willing to talk about it the whole session. And we have done things. To say that this body hasn't gotten work done is incorrect and false. We've been working hard in the committees, we've worked hard on the floor for a budget deficit bill, which was tough to a lot of the interests and the constituents that we represent. We are fulfilling our constitutional obligations. The rules are important. They're important because they do not just impact one individual bill. They impact a lot of bills moving forward in the future. And that's why we're taking the time to debate and discuss this, because it's not going to just impact the urban folks that I represent, but it's going to impact rural Nebraskans, urban Nebraskans, young, old, you name it. All of these different constituencies. The Legislature is fulfilling their constitutional obligations, we're getting work done. But this is an important debate to have. And I'm ready to go for a vote. The question is, is Senator Larson ready for that? Thank you.
Thank you, Senator Morfeld. Senator Friesen, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. President. I guess this has probably been one of the most enjoyable starts to a session that I've had. I've got a lot of work done in the office, got to meet with a lot of different groups on bills that I'm working on. Haven't had to talk hardly at all on the mike. And we're getting a lot of things discussed and I think a lot of things are falling in place. I tell constituents back home that I think we've had a rough start, but as soon as we can get some bills in front of us, we're all going to start debating the bills and things will start to work like usual. When a bill is up, people line up on either side and negotiate, do whatever they have to do. We can argue, we can filibuster, and everybody starts to settle down and look at the issues. But when we start out, it's always kind of a rough start to a session. My freshman year here I had to go through Senator Chambers' orientation. We talked about marriage license fees I think for...if I remember, I know it was a lot of hours. And then we, you know...but I learned a lot. And you freshmen I think are learning a lot too. You're learning about process. You're learning about the rules. We didn't spend as much time talking about the rule, but it's always there. I'm in favor of Senator Larson's motion to substitute because then we can get on the topic of actually discussing the bill. And typically it is courteous to just let the substitution happen and it's generally worked out ahead. This time it's probably a little different but in the end to get the bill on the floor, you get it there and you get to work on it. And you start talking about that bill. But that's okay. I'm still good. We can discuss...we've...you know, this is no different than any other year I think. And you go back in history and they used to not have a filibuster rule. And you look back at how some bills were passed and they'd be a 25-24 vote. They must have argued long and hard to get to that point. And of course there were senators here that have been here...Chairmanships for a long time, like it was mentioned previously. And so there was a lot of work done in committee to get them there. But when you watched the votes back then they were totally different than they were now. But I...it would have been interesting to see how much time they spent discussing them on the floor and working out compromises. It could have taken hours or days or weeks, too. There's probably...controversial bills might have taken years to pass. We've shown that we can get things done. And I'm still not concerned that we wasted too much time. I mean, I've never thought that there were 600-some things wrong with the state of Nebraska. We throw too many bills out there. But they all need doing, they all have a purpose. They clean up language here and there. So it's not as though they're not needed, but they're not pressing, they're not something that has to be done. And as you all know, the budget is the only thing that needs to be done. And we spent considerable time talking on the first budget we had to deal with. And I would imagine the second budget is going to take even longer, because nobody wants their program cut. I get that. And so trying to decide who takes the cut and who don't, we're going to spend a lot of time. And the Appropriations Committee is going to spend a lot of time just getting a bill out here, just getting a budget out here. They're going to spend hours and hours and they're going to be hopefully be on the path...they've always come out on a unanimous vote and then when it gets to the floor, I'm assuming we're going to go through it line by line and talk about it, and like we should. When it comes to filibustering, I know last year when you look back at the bills, we broke all records filibustering, 24 I think it was.
And I guess everybody felt those were line in the sand type bills, there was no compromise. And it's unfortunate, but that's the way it happened. It's not a great record to have. But when you look at changing some of the rules, the rules have been changed in the past and for good reason sometimes, sometimes not. But I think this time we need to look at the rules that have been in place and times change and see once if there's something maybe better out there or at least have the discussion and see where we want to go. Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Senator Friesen. Senator Larson, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. President. Colleagues, Senator Harr told me off the mike that the last time an objection to substitute occurred was in 2014 and it was Senator Chambers doing it to Senator McCoy, not Senator Lautenbaugh. So it has happened in relatively recent memory. I don't know if Senator McCoy made a motion to ask for a vote to get the substitution or whatnot. He didn't let me know. But as you have also heard that oftentimes the motion to substitute is done and generally always allowed. Senator Morfeld said he pulled on his big boy pants but...and wants to vote today. And now I'm being the one...I'm the one that's being obstructionist because I don't want to get to a vote. Well, colleagues, I'd remind you I wasn't the one that objected to a substitution. That was Senator Morfeld. So if he was interested in getting to a vote, why did he object? So now we're stuck debating a substitution motion instead of the actual rule change. It's easy to just try to turn the blame but in the end, if you want to discuss the rule change, I'd be happy to discuss the rule change, but you objected. So I don't get to discuss the rule change yet because I would like to substitute my amendment. In essence, by you objecting, forced me to file this motion again forcing us to talk about it. It wasn't...I didn't object to my own substitution. I wanted to substitute and move on so we could discuss that. That is not what happened. And if you use the excuse that you don't know what I was substituting, therefore you had to object--that's what Senator Morfeld said--well, if you're so worried about that let the substitution happen and if you don't like it then vote it down. That's why it's an amendment. If it doesn't have the votes, vote it down. That's why oftentimes the substitution is just courtesy. It has nothing to do whether or not you've read it before or you've seen it beforehand. It's ridiculous. What it again has to deal with is being obstructionist and not letting us--me--get to discuss an amendment that I would like to propose. They've pulled their amendments in an effort, as they say, because I didn't have the votes here or whatever. And I wanted to substitute an amendment and they objected. Really what other choice do I have at that point other than to file a motion to try to substitute what I would like to discuss?
So don't blame me that we're bogged down in parliamentary procedure on a motion to substitute when you're the one that objected. I really had nowhere else to go. So colleagues, we continue to hear this over and over. We'll get to my rule now. We'll see what happens. Hopefully, I can substitute, we'll vote on it, and then we'll adopt permanent rules. Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Senator Larson. Senators Hansen, Bostelman, Geist, Linehan, and others. Senator Hansen, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. President. To correct Senator Larson, he had more options of what he could have done. Specifically, he could have offered it as an amendment, which would given him the time to open up and explain what he was trying to do. Or if he was going to do a unanimous consent motion he could do what people typically do before a unanimous consent motion is get up on the microphone, explain it's coming, and ask the body to understand that. Now if Senator Morfeld wants to take credit for objecting to that, he's more than welcome to. I objected to that, too, and there might have been at least another voice, too. And the reason I objected to that is my freshman year opponents killed a bill on the floor by offering up a unanimous motion to bracket that nobody objected to because it just kind of got announced and we were in the middle of working out a compromise and things were swirling and all of a sudden the bill was off the agenda and was bracketed till the last day of session. So I've been skeptical of unanimous consent motions and I'll take credit to objecting to a unanimous consent motion last year on LB10 when Beau McCoy tried to bracket the bill for one day without explaining for it. And my understanding there was he was worried he didn't have the votes so he tried to bracket it to the next day, which is something we never use brackets for and it was never explained. And as Speaker Hadley said, he would have said had that unanimous consent motion prevailed, he would have been...he would have considered the bill dead for the year. And then, obviously, Beau McCoy had the opportunity...Senator McCoy had the opportunity to offer a bracket motion again and he chose not to, because the stakes were now all of a sudden now different. So that's just my skepticism of unanimous consent motions that are not explained by the introducer. Senator Larson had many times where he implored us to get to his amendment. He wanted us to talk about his amendment, he wanted to talk about his amendment and oh, actually there's a different amendment. I'm sorry guys, I should have...no heads-up, sorry about that. It's difficult enough when the rules debate where we don't have the same...we're relying on paper copies being handed out by the pages. We were...several speakers are into this debate on the motion to substitute before I even saw the language and found it passed out. So we had plenty of opportunities here to discuss it as an amendment, to file it as an amendment when he thought about it on Friday and have it be pending in the order. We had many options. We didn't force his hand. He tried to do something without announcing it and based on past results there have been some attempted sneaky unanimous consent motions. So I would implore all colleagues on both sides of the aisle and all sides of the ideological spectrum to be cautious of those going forward. So there's that. And I just wanted to get up...there's been a couple people...I'm going to use Senator Lowe's comments, I believe he said...called us a do-nothing Legislature this session. I will point out we in 23 days have passed $137 million in deficit cuts which works out to be about $6 million a day. If you told your constituents you were going to cut $6 million dollars a day every day you were down here, I think they would have said that's a lot to get done. You know, and if you thought last week on that deficit bill, LB22, was a lot of debate, just wait till we get to the main-line budget and we have all sorts of components going for over two years as well as tacking on revenue debate on top of that with the conflicting interests of property tax and income tax. I mean there's genuine concern over those things. That takes some time. That's required to be on the floor. And you know, so far this session, yes, we have spent an unfortunate amount of time on rules, but we've also passed $137 million to cuts, we've changed the TEEOSA formula or at least given preliminary approval. All those things are frankly huge, cumbersome, intense options of the state of Nebraska that we spent some time working on and made some progress, so. And the last thing I want to say is, there's been some kind of...
I guess I won't have time this time at the microphone. I'll click my light on. Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Senator Hansen. Senator Bostelman, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for Senator Larson, if he would yield.
Senator Larson, would you please yield?
Senator Larson, I just want to make sure I understand where we're at right now with your substitute motion. Could you explain that to me?
Yeah. So essentially my substitution motion would allow me to bring up...so I originally introduced a change to Rule 7, Section 10 that was...just required opponents would need two-fifths of a bill or two-fifths of a vote to prevent cloture from happening. After further looking at it and understanding it, I...and talking to people, we decided that we needed a positive vote in connection with that so it would...I tried to substitute an amendment to the original one which essentially would have...will if we get to it say, to invoke cloture you need at least a majority and no more than two-fifths of the people voting in the negative. So if I had 25 greens and 20 reds, then cloture wouldn't be invoked. But if there were 25 greens and 19 reds, cloture would be invoked. If there were only 24 greens and 2 reds, then cloture wouldn't be invoked. It's fairly simple, but what I am doing right now is trying to just substitute an amendment. It's fairly simple procedure. It's done all the time. And that's what we're debating. Do you have any further questions? I know I went on a really long tangent on you there.
No, that's fine. Thank you, Senator Larson. Would Senator Hilgers yield to a question?
Senator Hilgers, would you please yield?
Senator Hilgers, are you the Chair of the Rules Committee?
Okay. And how many members are on the Rules Committee?
There are five voting members and we also have an ex officio member who is the Speaker.
And who are those members?
Who are those members?
Including myself, it's Senator Kuehn, Senator Krist, Senator Schumacher, and Senator Harr, and then of course the Speaker.
Could you describe the Rules Committee process to me?
Sure. So we...the Rules Committee had a...we set a deadline for proposals. So for a normal committee, all the senators as you know can have ten days in which they can submit bills. For the Rules Committee it's a little bit different. We didn't have the same time frame. So we gave a deadline of Monday at the end of...the close of business Monday, the Monday following the day we were sworn in, so on the fourth legislative day. At the close of business on that day, that was the day by which we gave the members...only members the opportunity to submit proposals. Want me to keep going?
So...when they submitted these, how many proposals were submitted?
We received...the Rules Committee received 27 proposals.
And then were there hearings on these proposals?
We did, we had a hearing that following Wednesday, so within 48 hours after the deadline by which proposals were to be submitted to the Rules Committee we held a hearing. It was open to the public in the sense that we had members of the public attend and we had...in fact, we had one member of the public testify at the hearing. It was not streamed live so it wasn't I don't think formally a public hearing in that sense. We had...I think the hearing went about seven hours that Wednesday.
Okay. Then how much notice was there given on these hearings?
I believe just two days.
Just two days? And how often did you Exec then on these?
We had a couple of Exec Sessions, we probably had over three. We had two substantive Exec Sessions, one the next day, and then one the next week as we were working through some of Senator Harr's fiscal note proposals.
So, if I'm understanding things correctly here, from what Senator Larson is talking about, this is a normal process for substituting? It comes in at this point on his motion to substitute?
So I think...if I understand your question correctly, Senator Bostelman, and correct me if I didn't hear you correctly, but the Rules Committee process is slightly different than what you would expect from a standing committee process. We've kind of touched on a couple of them. One was the time in which senators can make proposals, there's only a couple days in the Rules Committee instance versus the standing committee where there's ten days. The notice process as well is different. You have seven days for a public....seven days before a standing committee hearing the public has to have notice. The Exec Session process also in my experience has been slightly different in the sense that we didn't have extended amount of time after the hearing in which to consider...
Thank you, Senators Bostelman, Larson and Hilgers. (Visitors introduced.) Senator Geist, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is the first time I've been able to stand and speak to the rules, and so I'd just like to talk for a minute. I appreciate Senator Bostelman going through what the process is with Senator Hilgers. And I also want to address the second house because they need to know what's at stake here. And one of the things that is at stake that I'd like to explain is that we're here to ask you to hold us, your elected officials, accountable for transparency so that you know how we vote. That's why I ran for office. I'm sure that's why many of us ran for office. And I'm sure that's also why you elected us. And so that's what we're really discussing here today. It's not just a rule, it's not just maneuvering. It's talking about being held accountable. You, as my constituents, deserve to look up a record and see how I vote on all accounts. I knocked on 13,000 to 14,000 doors when I was out in my district and that's what I heard from my constituents. They want to know what we do here, and they want to know how we vote. And that's what's at stake. That's what we're offering. That's what we're representing that we want. Senator Harr spoke earlier about us getting to the business of the people. And in my opinion that is the business of the people. That is what we're here to do. And that is what we want to offer. This motion to substitute helps that happen. That's how I see it. That's why I support it. I'm also a really short...get in, get out, say what you have to say. So another reason why I love to text message. But that's why we're supporting this amendment. That's why I'm supporting this amendment, I can't speak for anyone else here, but that's why I am supporting this. So I will say that that's all I have to say. But thank you for the time, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate it.
Thank you, Senator Geist. Senator Linehan, you're recognized.
Good morning. First, I'd like to clarify that, yes, Senator Larson did in fact work for me once. He was an intern in Senator Chuck Hagel's office and as far as I recall he did an excellent job. I generally only recall the ones that got in trouble and I don't remember Senator Larson being in that category. I worked--and I know this is name-dropping--but I worked for Chuck Hagel in the United States Senate for almost 12 years. And I can remember when I didn't even understand what the word cloture meant. In the Senate it takes 60 votes. And a lot of effort had to be generated to get past cloture. It got abused. And now it's basically completely gone away. I don't agree with that. I think minority rights are critically important. But I also think it's critically important that we can...that the minority is in a number that makes sense. And maybe it's 33. It's never made sense to me why it takes 33 votes in the Legislature to get to cloture but only 30 votes to overrule a veto. Now, maybe that makes sense, but it seems odd to me. And the other thing I don't understand is, I don't understand why there's such a pushback on having the transparency to see who was for cloture and who was against cloture. It seems honest to me if you're going to vote...not vote for cloture, people should know what that means. Another thing that bothers me about this publicly--and I've got the...I read the editorial in the World- Herald, I get up fairly early in the morning and drink my coffee and read the editorials mostly, not always, but I try to--and I read the editorial about cloture and about minority rights in the World-Herald, and I think the Lincoln Journal had one and I'm sure there's been...I've gotten the e-mails. But what's missing from the editorials and the e-mails I get are the actual numbers we're talking about. There are 49 Senators. And if you can kill a bill with 30, I think that would be pretty reasonable to most people. And the other thing I think most people don't understand is you don't even have to vote to kill the bill. You can just not be here, so then there is no accountability. From my perception, that's a lack of accountability to your constituents and the Nebraska voters at large. So I...Senator Larson, would you yield for a question?
Senator Larson, would you please yield?
I just want to make sure that I'm not mistaken and I understand the process as it now works. If I had a bill that I'd worked hard on and my constituents supported strongly and I was lucky enough to get it out of committee and get it to the floor and I had--as the rules were last session--and I had 30 votes, could I get...would I necessarily be able to get the vote passed? Would the bill pass?
So even if I had the 30 out of the 49 Senators, I wouldn't be able to get my legislation passed, the way the rules stand?
If the minority group of senators decided to filibuster, you would not.
So if there was a cloture vote to end the filibuster, I would need how many votes?
Thirty-three, as of what it was last year.
So I'd actually not need 29 votes, I'd need 33 votes to get a bill passed in the Legislature?
Oftentimes in recent memory that is what has happened.
And would the Senators who didn't vote for cloture have to vote at all?
So I could have a bill that their constituents wanted passed but they wouldn't have to vote against it to kill it.
Exactly. They could go back and say they really wanted it, too, but there just wasn't enough to break cloture, and they could ask if they voted against cloture and they say, no, I didn't vote against cloture. But it doesn't mean they voted for cloture.
Okay. I think that's what's missing, that understanding of the numbers. I'm a real numbers geek and that's going to become more and more obvious the longer I'm here. But I think when people talk about issues, they need to talk about the facts. And this argument...we do need to protect minorities' right, whether it be agriculture, minorities...
Thank you, Senator Linehan and Senator Larson. Senator Wishart, you're recognized.
Good morning, colleagues. I am listening intently to the debate and learning this legislative process and rules. But I did want to add some historical perspective. My legislative aide was able to find the motion to substitute amendment about which Senator Larson and Senator Harr are speaking. And it was actually Senator McCoy in 2014 who was amending LR41CA, which was Senator Lautenbaugh's constitutional amendment that dealt with horse racing. And so I just wanted to clarify that it was actually Senator Lautenbaugh who objected to Senator McCoy's motion to ask for a substitute amendment. So you know, I'm learning this process. I do think history helps a little bit. And so I just wanted to bring that up. And with that, I yield the rest of my time to Senator Pansing Brooks.
Senator Pansing Brooks, you're yielded 3:50.
Thank you, Senator Wishart, and thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm rising because of a couple of things. I'm really down far on the queue, so I wasn't going to speak until something happened just a minute ago. And that was when my colleague, Senator Erdman, came up to me and said, I have an interest in one of your bills. And he talked me through some of the issues regarding it. And he said, well, would you mind if I signed on? And I don't know if he wants me announcing this on the floor, but whatever. You know, I sort of got a clump in my throat at that point. For the past two years we've done that all the time. That's the norm. Working back and forth across the aisle. My colleague and friend Senate Halloran said, those of us who are fighting for this nonpartisan Legislature and talking about how it's been and that we are nonpartisan, he called us rude. I'm taking that directly onto my...as a mantle, I guess, because I will continue to talk about the nonpartisanship. We are a different body than anywhere else in this country. We're different than Congress and it is special and precious. It is a treasure in the middle of this country that we need to protect. And I wasn't going to say anything because I thought, well, I don't need to stand up and talk about whether or not I'm rude. I guess I'm rude, because I am fighting to say it's important that we maintain our nonpartisanship body. We are not moving back and forth. I'd like to ask Senator Halloran a question.
Senator Halloran, will you please yield?
Thank you, Senator Halloran. You served with me on the Judiciary Committee, is that correct, Senator Halloran?
That's correct, Senator.
And would you say that we've gotten along quite collegially in that committee?
I would, too. And have we had great disagreements about when somebody wants to bring an amendment or on whatever is considered a liberal versus conservative issue?
Have we...I'm sorry. Have we had any...
Have we had large disagreements in that Executive Committee?
No, I think...I believe we've all been pretty compliant.
I do, too. And so, Senator Halloran, I would just point that out as something to...as an example of how this body works, of how we can work back and forth. How we will find common ground, even though that body is considered...even though that Executive Committee is considered more...with more progressives than with the conservatives, we are getting along and communicating on a lot of issues to find good law for Nebraska. Wouldn't you agree to that?
I would agree. And if I can take back one word, I'll take back rude. I apologize for that, to the whole body. But in place of rude I would say disingenuous.
Okay. Well, thank you, Senator Halloran. Again, I would like to say I am not being disingenuous when I am fighting for this body. I think it's important to fight for Nebraska, for the special...you know, so rural versus nonrural, is that partisan?
Thank you, Senator Wishart, Senator Patty Pansing Brooks, and Senator Halloran. Senator Murante, you're recognized.
Thank you, Mr. President and members, good morning. I actually would like to echo some of the statements made by Senator Patty Pansing Brooks, because one of the realities is in this Legislature we are at the beginning part of February. And we all will have priority bills. And we all will have an opportunity to do for our constituents what we think is best for them and for the state of Nebraska. And I don't think that this Legislature ought to be mired down in a rules debate for an extended period of time because at the end of the day we all have something that we can accomplish. We are not at the point in the Legislature where good pieces of legislation are going to die simply by virtue of pettiness, spite, or partisanship. I don't believe that. This is a long session and we are still very early in that long session. But the fact remains that the reason we are having this rules debate is because of promises that were made. And they were described as being promises. And those promises were that there would be a price to pay for what happened on January 4. Fair enough. Anyone can...anyone in this body can proceed however they want to proceed. But if the issue is there is a block of 17 who is going to filibuster, quote unquote, everything, then I think it is incumbent on those who actually want to accomplish something in this body to take action. And you see, I'm old enough to remember a time where discussions on filibusters had a little bit of a different tenor. And not to age myself but that means I'm at least three years old. When filibusters were not virtuous, when there was a different group of 17 and it was labeled in the media as the group of 17. It wasn't the group of 27. There's always a number and the number is always wrong for some reason. But back in the day of 2013 filibusters were a sign of corruption, that to block the will of the majority was a character flaw, that if you would stand up and fight in opposition of bills, you should look yourselves in the mirror. You were the equivalent of corrupt Louisiana legislators. And...I'm not...this is not a paraphrase. These are actual examples of floor debate that we would need to go back and look ourselves in the mirror for filibustering bills. But today the tenor of debate has changed. That 17 has grown to 27. Again, the numbers were wrong in both instances. And today we talk about minority rights, when three years ago it was the tyranny of the minority. Actual language in the Lincoln Journal Star by state senators. I thought about just printing off the floor speeches, because some of those members are still on the floor and we can have a point counter- point from the same members arguing the exact opposite position. But that's where we're at. Now, I don't believe that an amendment to the permanent rules is a necessary component to get us to where we want to go. I think there is a way that we can reach an agreement and understanding to move forward together. I don't have a proposal for you right now, but if anyone is willing to work with me, I am willing to work with them. And I don't ask you to take my word for it. Look at what we've done in the Government Committee thus far.
Look whose bills have been scheduled. Look whose bills have been advanced. So I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is, but you can't say to me, well, we're not really talking about filibustering everything, that was just one member, when thus far this session we've spent five hours talking about a military license plate bill that could have been resolved in a 15-minute meeting in Senator Watermeier's office between General and Select File. We spend a week talking about the budget that ended up passing unanimously. The first bill we're going to get to when we're done already has...is a different license plate bill that has ten amendments filed to it. We have enough rereferencing motions to take up two weeks. But no, we're not going to filibuster everything. No, that...pay no mind to that. So I'm willing to work with anybody, but let's show a little good faith on both sides of the aisle and not offer...
...objection motions to a motion to substitute an amendment. Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Senator Murante. Senator Chambers, you're recognized.
Thank you. Mr. President and members of the Legislature, first of all I don't have big boy clothes; I'm a man. I'm not a boy in any sense of the word. Even when you use it advisedly, don't direct it to me personally. I'm not a boy. Senator Lowe, I was going to ask you a question whether you got money from the Governor or not, but I can check my list on that. And I'm looking at all the people who are talking now who have not talked before and they were part of that unholy alliance the first day. I told you all it poisoned the well. And when you poison the well, you poison everything for the session. I didn't go to Democrats or "Repelicans" or anybody else to tell you what I intend to do. I told you all I don't need a lot of company. I told you that I'll do what I will do and that you all cannot stop me. And I'm the one who will deliver and I'll challenge you to challenge me. You all are white people and you're used to doing things together, because I know how treacherous and traitorous you are to each other, because I watched you. I've been here 42 years. I watched the dirty, back stabbing, double crossing that Terry Carpenter mentioned. So I don't trust you. I mention that you all make agreements among yourselves but none of them bind me because the people involved cannot be trusted. We're going to continue talking about the permanent rules. I've told you, I don't care if we talk about them for 90 days. You all might say that you don't mean it. I will show you how long I will talk. Tomorrow when we start, don't anybody else say anything, but yield me time and I'll show you that I'll take the whole day. You all have burned off another day today. We're almost down to the equivalent of a 60-day session. When we meet in the 60-day session, I can do that standing on one foot on top of a basketball. But none of you can say that I have not told you what I will do. I'm not like the rest of you all. You all talk and then you lie when you talk. You trick and mislead these new people. People lied to Senator Halloran about the way things are done. You think people are so dumb here that they couldn't see what's going on when groups work together to put people in a chair position? How stupid does he think people are? And tomorrow I'm going to tell you all about a guy named Ramey Whitney. I thought he was a land baron, he was a farmer. Terry Carpenter told me, Senator Chambers, don't listen to him. He didn't make money farming, he married a rich woman. Now, there are people who call themselves farmers, they marry rich women. That's what they do. They don't tell the truth. I told you, if you think I'm not telling the truth, challenge me. You know who refused to answer questions that I asked? And yielding to a question is routine. Senator McCoy. The dyed-in-the-wool-hat racist who insulted on television President Barack Obama. He was so intimidated by me that when I asked him would he yield to a question he said, no, because I'd embarrassed him already. He'd gotten a whole lot of money from this guy, Herbster, that he's now working for in his stable. And I said, I could lose the Governorship for a lot less money than Senator McCoy's going to spend, and he never got over it. Senator Kinter, who was following McCoy was afraid to answer questions and he refused. Those are the only two who refused to yield to questions. So don't tell me about what is not done, what hasn't been done. But the fact that something has not been done or hasn't been done frequently means nothing to me. If I think an approach is appropriate, I will take it and I don't need your approval.
I'm going to see how Senator Bostelman votes on Senator...he's not looking up...the young senator, in protecting the rights of LGBT people, because there's a big picture on the front page of the Lincoln Journal Star of two gay men in the military who said that they could not be who they were under that no tell, whatever it is. They're veterans, they're military people. I watched you salute some up there. I'm going to see if he supports those veterans' rights to be gay, to be married, to have admitted it, and be treated like human beings like everybody else under the laws of this state. I'm going to see how real Senator Bostelman is. You don't want me to call people's name, then don't make public displays of your patriotism and all these other statements that you get praised for. I listen to you and I remember. Eighty years old and my memory, the best I can remember, is not slipping yet. So we're going to have some good old times.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, Senator Chambers. Mr. Clerk, any announcements?
Yes, sir. Hearing notices: Education, signed by Senator Groene; Transportation, by Senator Friesen. Series of reports: your Committee on Judiciary chaired by Senator Ebke reports LB81, LB100, LB293, LB321, LB349 and LB371 to General File. Transportation Committee chaired by Senator Friesen, LB171 and LB271 to General File and LB86 and LB164 to General File with amendments. And the Judiciary Committee chaired by Senator Ebke reports LB93 and LB158 to General File with amendments and LB574 as indefinitely postponed. Mr. President, Senator Craighead wants the Committee on Committees to meet tomorrow at 10:15 in room 2022. Name adds: Senator Hilkemann to LB18; Senator Holloran to LB121; Senator Pansing Brooks to LB180; Senator Albrecht to LB289; Senator Brewer to LB342 and LB355; Senator Baker to LB438; Senator Brewer to LB556; Senator Lindstrom and Senator Erdman, LB576; Senator Hilkemann, LB578; Senator Ebke, LB611; Senator Blood, LB624; Senator Brewer, LB624, LB635, and LB650; Senator Hilkemann to LR23 and to LR24; Senator Pansing Brooks to LR26. (Legislative Journal pages 421-427.)
LB81 LB100 LB293 LB321 LB349 LB371 LB171 LB271 LB86 LB164 LB93 LB158 LB574 LB18 LB121 LB180 LB289 LB342 LB355 LB438 LB556 LB576 LB578 LB611 LB624 LB635 LB650 LR23 LR24 LR26
Mr. President, priority motion. Senator Chambers would move to recess until 2:30 today.
By the rules that we're currently under, the Speaker has the ability to speak to this motion. Senators, I will draw your attention, recessing means that we will be coming back into session after the lunch hour. Adjournment means we are done with floor debate during the day. I would urge you to vote red on the recess for today. There's been a motion to recess, all those in favor say aye. All those opposed say nay. Nays have it. We are not in recess. There is a motion to adjourn. All those in favor say aye. All those opposed? The ayes have it. We are adjourned.