The legislators in Nebraska who are identified as conservatives are proposing to merge two of the most divisive bills from the current legislative sessions, in which these are; banning abortion, and restricting gender-affirming care on minors.
This unprecedented action comes after conservatives narrowly failed last month to advance a bill that would have prohibited abortions at roughly six weeks of pregnancy by a margin of only one vote. Right now, conservative lawmakers are in favor of a change to the transgender health bill that would limit abortions to those that go no longer than 12 weeks.
Unique Legislative Process in Nebraska’s One-Chamber, Nonpartisan Legislature
According to the shared article in Yahoo! News, this approach sets up a pivotal vote on Tuesday that could go any way: conservatives could win a double triumph on both abortion restrictions and bans on transgender health care this year. The results of this vote will serve as a crucial herald of the state’s future legislative course on these divisive social issues.
Nebraska is the only union state with a unicameral, nonpartisan legislature, creating a particular legislative procedure. Each legislative session begins with public committee hearings on all filed bills. The committee then decides whether to send each bill on to the 49-member full legislature.
A bill that has advanced must make it through three rounds of discussion before it can be passed. While uncontroversial laws typically pass through this procedure without incident, Nebraska legislators frequently utilize the filibuster to block contentious legislation. The amount of time allocated for debate in each round is predetermined:
- Eight hours for the first round
- Four hours for the second
- Two hours for the third
A closing vote is taken to conclude the discussion once the allotted time has passed. To finish the conference, 33 legislators must vote in favor of it. According to the article in PBS News Hour, the bill is tabled for the duration of the session if the cloture motion is unsuccessful. A simple majority is required to pass a measure in the last round or to move it on in the following round if the closing vote is successful. Though they are formally neutral, lawmakers frequently identify as Republican, Democrat, or Independent, and they frequently put forth and support legislation based on their political affiliations.
Currently, Democrats hold 16 members, Republicans hold 32 seats, and the final seat is held by a progressive independent who frequently votes with the Democrats. With such a small margin, the departure of just one lawmaker from either side can significantly impact efforts to enact or thwart legislation.
Also Read:Governor DeSantis Set to Sign Legislation Prohibiting Gender-Affirming Care for Minors and Other Restrictions
The Goal of the Combined Proposed Bill
According to the article in the Associated Press News, the proposed transgender health bill aims to prohibit hormone therapy, puberty inhibitors, and gender reassignment surgery for people under the age of 18. However, there would be exceptions in circumstances of rape, incest, and where the mother’s life was in danger. The abortion amendment, on the other hand, seeks to outlaw the practice after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The transgender health ban and the abortion amendment will be tabled for the remainder of the year if MPs cannot reach a consensus on how to terminate the discussion.
Strong opposition has been expressed to these ideas. At the Capitol, protesters have gathered to express their disapproval as the arguments go on. The hearings on Tuesday may have a significant impact on Nebraska’s most critical social issues, even though the outcome is still undetermined.
Related Article: Attorney General of Missouri Imposes Emergency Order Limiting Gender-Affirming Treatments