Debate Transcripts

LB 542 (1995)

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April 7, 1995


SPEAKER WITHEM:  You've heard the motion.  I believe I have lights on from Senator Bernard-Stevens, Hall, and Stuhr.  I think I just forgot to turn them off from the last bill.  No discussion.  All those in favor of advancing LB 434 say aye.  Opposed.  It is advanced.  LB 542.


CLERK:  Mr. President, 542, I have E & R amendments pending, first of all.


SENATOR MAURSTAD:  Mr. Speaker, I would move to adopt the E & R amendments to LB 542.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  You've heard the motion.  All those in favor say aye.  Opposed.  E & R amendments are adopted.


CLERK:  Senator Bohlke would move to suspend Rule 7, Section 3(d) to permit consideration of AM1526, Mr. President.  (See AM1526 on pages 1558-60 of the Legislative Journal.)


SPEAKER WITHEM:  Senator Bohlke.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Yes, Mr. Speaker, members, I have talked with Senator Beutler, I am asking to suspend the rules in order to amend the bill.  I could have attempted to amend it, but an interpretation of if it would have been germane or not I am sure would have been in question.  I thought it was more straightforward to ask for a suspension of the rules to amend the bill.  We have a problem with some interpretation that we need to bring into guidelines under federal interpretation of gun-free school.  If we do not do this, the impact could be that we would lose about $33 million.  That's the reason I would like to bring this back for the amendment.  And as I said, Senator Beutler is agreeable to suspending the rules for that purpose.  I ask for your support to suspend the rules.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  Any discussion on the motion to suspend the rules?  Seeing none, any closing?  Closing is waived.  The question is, shall the rules be suspended to allow for the consideration of a nongermane amendment?  All those in favor vote aye, opposed vote nay.  Have you all voted?  Senator






SENATOR BOHLKE:  I will ask for a call of the house please and accept call-in votes.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  The question is, shall the house go under call?  All those in favor vote aye, opposed vote nay.  Record, Mr. Clerk.


CLERK:  19 ayes, 0 nays to go under call, Mr. President.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  The house is under call.  The house is under call, members please return to the floor and check in.  The question is, shall the rules be suspended for consideration of a nongermane amendment?  Would members please return to the floor and check in.  Senator Bohlke has authorized call-in votes.


CLERK:  Senator Brown voting yes.  Senator Avery voting yes.  Senator Schrock voting yes.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  Senator Pirsch, would you check in please.  Senator Schrock, will you check in.


CLERK:  Senator Engel voting yes.  Senator Bromm voting yes.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  Senator Bromm, could you check in please.  Senator Dierks, Senator Bernard-Stevens, could you check in please.  Had a request for a roll call vote as soon as the additional ...  who are we waiting for, Mr. Clerk?  Senator Bernard-Stevens, could you check in please.  Mr. Clerk.


CLERK:  (Roll call vote taken.  See page 1558 of the Legislative Journal.) 32 ayes, 0 nays, Mr. President, on the motion to suspend the rules.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  The rules are suspended.  Senator Bohlke, you are recognized to open on your amendment.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Yes, Mr..  Speaker and members, as I stated earlier, at the federal level was passed the Gun-free School Act of 1994.  In that it states, and I quote, "Except as provided in paragraph 3, each state receiving federal funds under this act shall have in effect a state law requiring local education agencies to expel from school for a period of not less than one year a student who is determined to have brought a weapon to a




school under the jurisdiction of local education agencies." We, in Nebraska, state two semesters.  In order to come into compliance, we have to change to one year.  If we are not in compliance, we have the possibility of losing $33,277,000 in federal funds; 29,000 of that go into Chapter I basic program.  With that, I would ask you to adopt the amendment.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  I understand, Mr. Clerk, there is an amendment.


CLERK:  Senator Beutler would move to amend Senator Bohlke's amendment.  (See FA132 on page 1560 of the Legislative Journal.)


SPEAKER WITHEM:  The call is raised, by the way.  Senator Beutler.


SENATOR BEUTLER:  Mr. Clerk, members of the Legislature, this is a friendly amendment that Senator Bohlke is agreeable to.  All it does is put the word calendar in there so that we are giving clearly direction to the local school districts to comply with the federal law just an the federal law is interpreted.  This whole thing is dumb, in my opinion, but it is required according to our own Department of Education, and the department, the Federal Department of Education, and so we are doing this.  Thank you.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  Thank you, Senator Beutler.  We are now discussing the Beutler amendment.  Senator Bernard-Stevens, on the Beutler amendment.


SENATOR BERNARD-STEVENS:  Just very briefly, and I will speak on the whole thing, and just take care of it on the Beutler amendment.  The Beutler amendment I support.  I don't want to take too much time because we only have 15 minutes, but I agree with Senator Beutler.  This is a dumb, dumb issue, and the reason it is so stupid is because at the federal level they basically say we have to do it for calendar year, and depending on when that happens in a semester, that may end up being three semesters for whatever crime, whether maybe the child may have forgotten and brought a pellet gun or something to show and tell; they didn't know or understand what it was.  You know, the whole thing is crazy.  The only thing that is a saving grace of the amendment and why I will end up having to support it is, (a), I don't want to lose the 29 million on federal dollars on the Title I, but also it does say in the amendment that every school district has the option to waive this requirement on an




individual basis, and that's why it is such a stupid law because it is saying you've got to do it, and, oh, by the way, you don't have to do it.  But the federal government is saying, boy, we're tough on this issue, but they haven't done anything.  So, consequently, it's a dumb idea, it is a dumb law, but we need to do it in order to get the money, so I will reluctantly support it.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  Senator Chambers, on the Beutler amendment.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Mr. President, the reason I am turning on my light, Senator Beutler and Senator Bohlke were trying to explain things to me, but I didn't want the question to be called or anything before I had a chance to get clear what is happening.  Senator Beutler, in your amendment, it uses the term firearm as defined in 18 U.S.C.  921.  Do we have that definition anywhere before us so we will know what it is that we're talking about?


SENATOR BEUTLER:  Senator, it is not my amendment.  It is Senator Bohlke's amendment.  I do not have that definition in front of me right now.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Thank you.  Senator Bohlke, do you have anything with the definition of firearm, since that is what this is tied to?










SENATOR.  BOHLKE:  Senator Chambers, it is long to read.  May I ...  do you want me to bring this over?


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  Okay, if you will, and in the meantime I will speak, and maybe I will have a chance to speak again after I have...  I can glance at it.  Members of the Legislature, I have heard the description that various of my colleagues have given to this requirement.  I wonder why our action never follows our conviction.  If we think this is an undue requirement being imposed by the federal government, then we shouldn't do it, and if we are going to knuckle under, and this is why I am saying




it, let us stop being so hard on our young people.  If a young girl sells her body for money, don't criticize it.  You sell out the state's integrity.  You change the laws that don't believe ought to be changed and some of our children are aware of this.  If a young man sells dope and he can get money selling it, don't criticize him.  He is doing what our practices as a Legislature tell him and them is the thing to do.  If enough money is involved, everything should be for sale, everything.  And that is not what I believe.  If I thought there should be a one-year period of expulsion, that's what I would vote, whether the federal government had anything to do with it or not, and if I believed that a mandatory requirement of expulsion was something that ought not be in Place, I will not vote for it.  In reading one of the documents that I've had a chance to just glance at because something was underlined, there is verbiage to the effect that the chief officer can make a decision on a case by case basis.  Somebody handed me a note and said then elect "Repelicans." Now after seeing the posturing of the "Repelicans" on this so-called first 100 days of nonsense where they gave Rupert Murdock, the most unseemly, shameless individual, a huge tax break, the "Repelicans" are the last ones I'd vote for for anything, except for sheriff if...


SPEAKER WITHEM:  One minute.


SENATOR CHAMBERS:  ...  I wanted to be a bank robber.  Now if I want to be a bank robber, I'd vote for them for sheriff because I can show them the point where this is really entrepreneurship, and they would not bother me if I robbed the bank and did it on a big enough scale.  But I hope there are other lights on so I'll have a chance to look at this definition before I proceed.  Thank you, Mr. President.


SPEAKER WITHEM:  We are at the point, quite frankly, and there are four lights on, and there are about 15 seconds left.  We will pass over this bill and go to the next one, LB 874, Mr. Clerk.