Cavanaugh's filibuster of every Nebraska Legislature bill comes to pause, could end

Senator expects bill banning transgender care for youth to die next week
Posted at 7:05 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 20:05:03-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha has been filibustering every bill in the Nebraska Legislature for three weeks, but that ended Thursday morning.

She announced a pause for now. But if a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth dies on the floor of the legislature next week, her filibuster of every bill will end. She would still filibuster some bills.

The filibuster has been focused on that bill, LB 574. But in an agreement with Speaker John Arch, the bill will be officially debated beginning on Tuesday.

Cavanaugh says the bill will die two days later, on Thursday next week. She believes it does not have the 33 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster.

"It'll fail on cloture," she said. "It's time to get some work done for Nebraska."

Cavanaugh was threatened with censure by Sen. Julie Slama for comparing Republican-led legislation on transgender youth to genocide. Arch said he has no plan now to bring that motion to the floor.

"This is a direct attack and assault on trans children, and not standing up for trans children would be a failure on my part. I'm going to stand up for as long as they need me to or as exhausting as it is, or how much it hurts my throat or my feet," Cavanaugh said. "They deserve that."

She said, "As long as this bill is no longer a threat to the trans children in Nebraska, then I will move forward in a positive direction."

Arch said he and Cavanaugh agreed to schedule LB 574 at the earliest date.

"Senator Cavanaugh and I have had a number of conversations trying to find a way to work forward on this," Arch said. "These issues are so difficult and they're passionate. What you saw over the last several weeks (Cavanaugh's filibuster) is a reflection of where we are in society. We're polarized, divided in society. We're a representative government, so that's what you see in the legislature."

He said that out of 107 bills designated as priorities by the introducing senator, only seven had been heard.

"We both agree we need to get to those (other) issues," Arch said. "So let's deal with this one now, get it out, debate, up (or) down on the vote, and be done."