Global Courant 2023-05-19 19:35:59
Conservative lawmakers in Nebraska have successfully pushed for a combination of a bill banning sex reassignment surgery for minors to be combined with a 12-week abortion ban. Lawmakers in the state are expected to have just enough votes to pass the bill on May 19, 2023. Democratic lawmakers in Nebraska are pushing for the bill to be stopped. Omaha Senator Machaela Cavanaugh has taken the lead in filibustering every bill this session, including the bills she supports, to protest the bill banning gender surgeries for minors.
Conservative lawmakers in Nebraska are expected to have just enough votes to pass a bill on Friday that combines a ban on underage sex surgery with a 12-week abortion ban.
The mood in the Nebraska Capitol since the hybrid measure was brought forward by a single vote on Tuesday has been mixed. Lawmakers exchanged insults and promises of retaliation on the legislative floor and protesters loudly voiced their displeasure even in the days following the vote.
Omaha Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh has led an effort to filibuster nearly every bill this session — even the one she supports — to protest the ban on underage sex surgery. She has railed against conservatives who voted for the hybrid law, warning that people, medical professionals and businesses will leave the state for it.
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Cavanaugh declared in early March that she would “burn the session to the ground because of this bill,” and she and a handful of progressive allies have persevered since then. They have introduced hundreds of amendments and motions to delay any bill at any stage of debate, hampering the work of the legislature and leading leaders to scramble to determine which bills to push through.
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The day after lawmakers merged the abortion limits with the trans health bill, she clashed with Senator Julie Slama, who insinuated that conservatives supported banning sex surgery to retaliate against Cavanaugh. Slama noted that initially the ban did not have the 33 votes it needed to survive.
“But then Machaela Cavanaugh stood up and shut up because she was just thrilled that the national media was here to give her a little more attention,” Slama said. “So that got us 33 votes.”
Cavanaugh replied that she was willing to suffer the scorn of the Conservatives.
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Bella Caracta gives a stand-up interview in the Nebraska Capitol rotunda. Protesters from both sides put their placards in front of each other during a final lecture on the Let Them Grow Act, on May 16, 2023, in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Kenneth Ferriera/Lincoln Journal Star via AP)
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“But it’s going to cost you, colleagues,” she said. “I’m going to take all the time. Every single minute to make sure the speaker has to decide what’s actually on the agenda for the last few days.”
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Conservatives in the one-house, officially non-partisan legislature announced early this month that they would amend the trans health bill to curtail abortion restrictions, creating a bill that combines the session’s two most controversial measures.
That unconventional move came after conservatives failed to introduce a bill that would have banned abortion once heart activity can be detected — which happens around six weeks of gestation, before many women know they’re pregnant. Nebraska currently bans abortions from 20 weeks gestation.
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Legislative rules state that a bill that fails to defeat a filibuster must be introduced for the year. So opponents were surprised when Conservatives announced a plan for a 12-week ban. Progressive lawmakers say it was an underhanded way to ram a ban through after the issue had already failed. Conservatives say they see it as a compromise.
A supermajority of 33 votes is needed on Friday to end the debate, after which a simple majority of the legislature’s 49 legislators can pass the hybrid bill. Republican Governor Jim Pillen has said he would sign it into law. Because an emergency clause has been attached to the bill, it will take effect immediately.