Nebraska's longest-serving lawmaker momentarily stunned his colleagues Tuesday when he announced that he was resigning.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha looked somber as he took the microphone during legislative floor debate, saying he had decided to step down and planned to submit his resignation to the governor and the speaker.
Lawmakers fell silent, then the 76-year-old grinned and said, "April Fools" as the room erupted in laughter. Chambers said the joke was intended to lighten the mood during a heated budget debate.
Chambers was first elected to the Legislature in 1970 and held office until January 2009 when he was forced out by term limits before being re-elected to another four-year term in 2012.