Nebraska state senator proposes censuring filibustering colleague

Slama said Cavanaugh’s characterization of LB574 crossed a line
A state senator is calling for censorship at the unicameral after another senator referred to a bill as "genocide."
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 12:39 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - A dust-up in the Unicameral on Wednesday after a state senator proposed censuring her filibustering colleague Wednesday over her polarizing characterization of a trans youth bill.

Nebraska lawmakers continued to express their frustration with the continued disruption of the Legislature’s daily business. After days of pushback from others in the Unicameral about the continued filibustering from State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, one in opposition said the Omaha senator had crossed the line Wednesday.

Nebraska State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh
Nebraska State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh

The comparison angered some senators supporting the bill enough to take action.

“You can be held responsible for every damn word you say on this mic,” State Sen. Julie Slama of Sterling said in session.

She proposed censuring Cavanaugh after she characterized passing LB574 as akin to genocide. The bill, introduced by State Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Omaha, would ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

“If you are participating in this filibuster... and you are not immediately condemning what she is saying... You’re complacent in an erasure for the millions of lives lost to genocide; and you are helping her spout some of the most offensive nonsense I have ever heard spoken on the mic, on this floor,” Slama said.

“If we don’t have a censure for stuff on the mic said like that, I don’t know we have a censure motion in the first place,” Slama said.

When the session resumed, Speaker John Arch of La Vista said the Legislature would not move forward with the action, and the session resumed.

State Sens. Danielle Conrad and Jen Day used their time to rebuke colleagues on their attempt to silence a fellow senator.

The ongoing filibuster came to a head in Lincoln Wednesday as a senator pushed for censure of a colleague.

Cavanaugh has vowed to filibuster every bill for the rest of the session — meaning she can stall for eight hours at a time.

“I’m not going to be intimidated into sitting down,” she said Wednesday. “I’m not gonna be intimidated to stop advocating for the people who are going to be hurt by this hateful legislation.”

With senators reaching the back half of the current session — the halfway point was Tuesday — Arch told senators to expect to work into the night beginning March 28 in order to get more accomplished.

The filibuster bottlenecking progress at the unicameral continues.

Senators were placed on notice Tuesday to be prepared for late nights starting at the end of the month as there are a number of bills that still haven’t gone before a committee. A night schedule is expected to be issued on Thursday.

Committee hearings wrap up a week from Friday.

Assistant News Director Cassie Crowe and Digital Director Gina Dvorak contributed to this report.

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