Trans youth care bill, abortion amendment set for final reading in Nebraska Legislature

Lawmakers will vote on LB574 & AM1658 with 10 days remaining in the Unicameral session
Unicameral Speaker John Arch tells 6 News LB574 will be put up for a final vote Friday afternoon.
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 6:47 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - With 10 days left in the legislative session, Nebraska state senators will have their final round of debate on the bill to ban gender-affirming care for minors and its attached 12-week abortion ban.

Unicameral Speaker John Arch informed lawmakers on Thursday that LB574 has been slated for final reading to begin no later than 2 p.m. Friday — and that the Legislature would be working through the noon lunch hour.

The last push will come three days after a lengthy debate including whether to attach abortion amendment AM1658.

Legislative rules say there must be a day between second- and third-round votes, so the earliest the Legislature could have legally debated the issue again was Thursday — but the calendar was already stacked.

Lawmakers discuss LB574 debate, protests

Several state senators complained about the loud crowd in the rotunda that could be heard through the glass doors, saying it made them feel unsafe.

Debate continued Wednesday after yesterday's fallout when LB574 advanced.
Legislature vote attaches abortion amendment to youth trans care bill

After several hours of debate, Nebraska state senators voted Tuesday night to attach AM1658 to LB574 before bouncing the bill back to final-round voting.

After several hours of debate, Nebraska state senators voted Tuesday, May 16, 2023, to attach...
Debate over LB574 & AM1658 draws protests

People opposed to debate over the ban on gender-affirming care for youth had planned to gather Tuesday night, but the debate got going much earlier than expected.

Protests are continuing as people await a vote on LB574.

If approved — and it seems apparent the conservatives have the votes to do that — the bill would take effect as soon as it’s signed by Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen because it contains an emergency clause. Once that happens, abortions would be prohibited after 12 weeks from the last period; current Nebraska law allows abortions up to 20 weeks.

State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha noted the urgency of that timeline in her comments on Thursday.

“Ladies, birthing folk, go get tested right now. Find out if you’re pregnant. I don’t care if you missed your period or not — get tested,” she said. “I don’t care if you’re perimenopausal, get tested and find out if you are pregnant, are you going to die from that pregnancy, and get it taken care of between now and tomorrow afternoon...”

A final vote is expected tomorrow on LB574 in Lincoln.

But State Sen. Mike Moser of Columbus said the amendment isn’t a total ban on abortion.

“The alarm and the tone of the delivery was political theatre,” he said. “… A lot of people who are considering abortion are going to move it forward so they can get it done within the 12 weeks.”

Debate is set to resume Friday on a controversial gender-affirming care bill.

State Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn expressed concern about the volatility of the debate.

A final vote is expected tomorrow on LB574 in Lincoln.

Protesters made themselves known during Tuesday’s debate. The loud chants could be heard in the background as senators got on their mics for debate, several of them complaining about the loud crowd in the rotunda that could be heard through the glass doors. It was also a topic of follow-up discussion on Wednesday with some senators saying the situation made them feel unsafe.

Also in the Unicameral on Thursday

Nebraska lawmakers passed one of the main bills involving the state's two-year budget Thursday.

Digital Director Gina Dvorak, Managing Editor Kevin Westhues, and Assistant News Director Cassie Crowe contributed to this report.