Nebraska AG shares examples in ACLU abortion lawsuit against state

The lawsuit alleges the law violates the state Consitution on single-subject legislation.
Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers says the issue at the center of the ACLU lawsuit against the state is something that's been going on for half a century.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 7:53 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - When the ACLU of Nebraska filed a lawsuit against the state of Nebraska last week, the director argued that the new ban on gender-affirming care combined with an abortion ban at the 11th hour violated the State Constitution.

LB574, the bill to ban gender-affirming care for minors — which sparked ongoing filibusters from opponents throughout the session — was passed by Unicameral last month along with its attached 12-week abortion ban, AM1658.

“It was logrolling — and never should have happened,” said Mindy Rush Chipman, interim executive director of the ACLU of Nebraska. “If you have to put subjects together in order to garner support — that is exactly not what our constitutional framers intended. They wanted things to be clear, whether they’re talking about legislators who are voting on it, or community members voting on a ballot issue.”

The state Constitution states “No bill shall contain more than one subject,” and supporters of the suit say this bill encompasses two subjects, not one.

For the first time, we’re hearing specifics when it comes to the defendants of the suit.

Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers says passage of such laws has been a common practice for at least 50 years, terming them “Christmas tree laws.”

He points to at least six examples of state senators doing the same thing with other bills.

For instance -- in 2022, LB741 started as a bill to review stillborn deaths, but the final version ended up including a review of domestic abuse deaths, as well as a public education plan for certain viruses.

In 2020, the AG pointed to LB755 as supportive of his case. It started as a bill to create rules for home barbers, but the final version had infant screening, drug reporting for Parkinson’s, and the Engineers and Architects Regulation Act.

A Lancaster County District Court Judge is set to hear arguments on Monday.