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Legislature passes 'grand compromise' & abortion procedure ban

Posted at 5:59 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 18:59:28-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — In a lot of ways, Thursday felt like the final day of the session, senators gave going away speeches, others embraced and said their goodbyes to colleagues.

But it was also an odd end to the session, as senators had huge bills that they had to over the finish line.

The first being the so-called ‘grand compromise.’

“We’re put in a situation where maybe because this giant compromise we all felt we had to vote for,” says State Sen. Curt Friesen.

The bill lowers property taxes, giving more and more relief as the state hopefully recovers from the pandemic. It also incentivizes businesses.

Rural senators said it’s far from perfect, but they helped pass it, saying they’ll take the tax relief.

“Whether or not, someone thinks it’s substantial or not, we can have that discussion but it’s probably the biggest, one thing we’ve done in six years,” says Friesen.

It still drew pushback, with some saying it was rushed, that it could endanger future budgets and that nobody got what they ultimately wanted.

“To come back in four months, we have a better and clearer picture of where we are financially so that we don’t handcuff ourselves of opportunities to make Nebraska better,” says State Sen. Justin Wayne.

Then came the final vote on dismemberment abortion, a procedure allowed in the second trimester of pregnancy.

It’s been struck down by most states that have passed similar bills, but conservative senators argued the bill would stand up in court.

“Not one time has anyone pointed to a case that applies to the facts here. But it doesn’t exist,” says State Sen. Mike Hilgers.

Opponents promised a court challenge.

State Sen. Carol Blood, who’s voted for anti-abortion bills in the past, says the bill is written poorly, and the alternative and only method available, isn't any better.

“When you kill a child with a different method, you’re not any better than when you’re pulling him out limb by limb. What the hell is wrong with you?” says Blood.