LB 1175 (1998)
March 20, 1998
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: You've heard the motion. All in favor of advancing LB 1108 to E & R engrossing say aye. Those opposed say nay. It is advanced. We next move to General File 1998 committee priority bills, LB 1175. Before we move, there are items for the record, Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: Mr. President, thank you. Senator Will has an amendment to LB 1028 to be printed and bills read on Final Reading have been presented to the Governor this morning, Mr. President (re LB 234, LB 611, LB 988, LB 1180). (See page 1218 of the Legislative Journal.)
Mr. President, LB 1175 was a bill originally introduced by Senator ... by the Education Committee, excuse me, and signed by its members. (Read title.) The bill was introduced January 14 of this year, referred to the Education Committee. I do have committee amendments pending, Mr. President.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Bohlke, you're recognized to open on the bill.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Mr. Speaker and members, this is a large bill. I think it's ... from what I know it's going to take some time. It's going to take some patience on your part. A great deal of it is very technical, very dry, and very boring. Some of it is not and so let we open on the bill itself and then as we get to the amendments we can actually discuss each of the amendments. The major changes are that convictions that are set aside may be used to deny teacher and administrator certificates. Filing requirements for weather and epidemic
school closings are modified. Option transportation is limited to the same basis as resident transportation. The requirement for an assistant commissioner in charge of vocational education is eliminated. Primary high school districts will be considered affected districts when a Class I dissolves or reorganizes. And state ward receipts are added to the special education allowance. An allowance is made in the lop-off calculation for prior year adjustments and reduce aid. Motor vehicle tax receipts are added as accountable receipts. Funds budgeted for special education are restricted to special education uses. A deadline of September 1 is created for Class I districts to certify their tax request to the high school districts. Some filing dates for districts and deadlines for the department are modified and data sources are clarified. The bill also updates terminology, corrects references, deletes obsolete provisions, and outright repeals obsolete sections. Sections terminating the special education funding formula and providing for the .Nebraska School for the Deaf are outright repealed. That is a general summary of the main points and I anticipate in further discussion we'll get to some of the further details of the bill. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Mr. Clerk, priority motion.
ASSISTANT CLERK: Senator Chambers would move to recommit LB 1175 to the Education Committee, Mr. President.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers, you're recognized to open on your motion.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Thank you# Madam ... Mr. President, Mr. Speaker. Members of the Legislature, I have stated several times that I am unalterably opposed to the Christmas tree procedure. That's where a lot of bills are added to another bill. This that is being done, though, by the committee bill is especially pernicious, not because of the subject matter of individual bills. But you all must realize that the committee, each committee chairperson is allowed to designate two bills as priority bills. When a committee decides to take a bill and label it a priority bill, then add 13 other bills to it, that in effect becomes not one committee priority bill but 14 committee priority bills. Each one of those bills is given a special
status that the bill of individual senators, not included among the sponsors of those other 13, will not have. I had offered a motion to take it off the agenda. But there is some question about exactly when that type of motion would be considered.. And since it has not been resolved, I didn't want to have a rules struggle today, but I can still raise the issues that I think are crucial here. We need to look at what kind of precedent is being established. LB 1175 started out purporting to be what they call a technical cleanup bill. Several of these bills that are to be added don't even have a committee statement so we don't know who spoke for or against them, maybe there was no opposition, but we don't know. Senator Bohlke did hand out a committee statement on LB 1175 and on page 7 of that statement is a listing of the bills which would be added by way of this committee amendment to LB 1175 if the Legislature stands for it. The bills for which I could find no committee statement are the following: LB 1008, LB 1031, LB 1123, LB 1133, LB 1159, LB 1197, LB 1210, LB 1301, LB 1302, LB 1304, LB 1344 and there might be some fiscal notes attached to some of these bills, but I didn't have time to check that out. But if a bill has a fiscal note, then there ought to be an opportunity to know exactly what money is being spent for and an explanation given of that bill. Each one of these items contained in one of these bills was felt by the introducer to be sufficiently significant to offer a bill. Not one of these will be discussed as an individual bill would be discussed. They are put before us in a grouping. And even though we will take time on this bill, if you do decide to take it up in this form, there is going to be a limited opportunity to discuss the bill overall. Here's where the strategy is so beautiful in doing this. You could try to get structured debate which I doubt would happen because I don't believe they could get 33 votes to have this considered with the limited amount of time. After eight hours, they could try to get cloture. Maybe they could and maybe they couldn't. But by having to take each individual bill, they would have to jump through that hurdle on each one of these bills if the body felt it were not worthy. When we have to discuss all of these bills in the context of one committee amendment, there is the possibility of members becoming saturated with the discussion ,and just spacing it off and not wanting to be involved. But I'm looking at the process and I discussed this earlier in the session. Senator Wesely, my young seatmate to my left who, by
the way, is chickening out of the Legislature after this session, I want him to know he doesn't have my blessing in doing that, he has had a discussion with me and maybe I've talked to him on more than one occasion about efforts his committee, the Health and Welfare Committee or Human Services Committee would want to do in terms of putting a number of bills on some of their bills, a major bill, as amendments.. And I let him know I was going to oppose it and some of those propositions were worthy. But if you happen to be a chairperson, you're given an advantage that other members don't have and that's to take a heap of bills and pile them on one bill as a committee amendment. Some of these bills which if we, as members of the Legislature individually tried to offer as amendments might not be able to do so because they may be considered not germane. But since they're part of a committee amendment, they get a chance to have a lot of free passes that individual senators do not have. So I am not aware of what is in each one of these bills. But I am aware that if I counted correctly, 13 bills have been put into this committee amendment and they're being offered to us in this fashion. I'm going to oppose each one of them. I'm going to oppose each one of them strenuously. If a bill is offered to a committee and in the process of its hearing, hearings, two or three serious items come up on other bills or that are contained in other bills and they want to incorporate those into a committee amendment, that's one thing. But this is too much for me. Others may be able to swallow it. The reason a snake can swallow such a large bodied creature is because where the jaws are connected they can unhinge and his mouth doesn't, or her mouth, will not just open from the back and just the front part opens; at the area of the throat, that Part unhinges and you then have a tunnel, a wide tunnel, all the way back into the gullet. And the snake can swallow an item much larger than its girth. Well, LB 1175 has that serpentine capability of swallowing that which is larger than its girth. So I'm going to try to prevent its jaws from unhinging by getting a firm hold on those jaws while they're shut. Most animals have much more power in their biting down muscles than in their opening up muscles because when you bite down, that's when you chew, you cut through meat, you crush bone. So it"s much easier if you're dealing with an alligator or a crocodile to grab the mouth when it's closed and keep it closed than if the mouth is open and you try to hold it open. Keep it closed.
That's why they say keep the barn door closed. Once it's open, things happen. Keep the top on Pandora's box. Keep the smoke in the bottle. But once there is an escape, it's like a jailbreak and everything is free and let loose. These bills may have a lot of merit each one individually. But to do this I think makes a mockery of the system. And if the Legislature goes through with this, those who have an interest in and concern about this system when so much was being said about the system when those rules changes ...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: ... were being proposed at the beginning of the session ought to consider what was the rationale for allowing each committee to designate two bills as committee bills. Nobody said the purpose was to in reality create a situation where they could have upwards of 30 bills which will be priority bills given that committee status. But if this is the way that game is going to be played, then I'm going to attack every committee bill that's a priority. And I'm going to keep doing it until we decide that there is a trade-off to be made and how are we going to make it. And that is what I intend to do and I'll start it for the rest of this session.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers, yours is the first light on.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Thank you and, Mr. Speaker, I turned my light on as quickly as I could because I thought I might need a little time to finish up. There are committees which have offered two committee bills. There may have been committee amendments. But I haven't seen anything as extensive as this and maybe some more such as this is in the pipeline. But my resources are limited. The only thing I have to work with is my stamina and my will and my determination to see that some aspects of our process are going to be respected. Anybody who is not a committee chair is put at a disadvantage when we allow the system to run away in this manner. Anybody not a committee chair and anybody who is a committee chair is given an unfair advantage. Either that rule should mean two committee bills or it should not. If it does not mean that, then I'm going to say that the rule was adopted under false pretenses. And any agreement that we entered into
even if it's a constructive agreement, all that's over. And I am not going to allow to the extent that I can stop it from happening, I'm not going to allow any committee priority bills to move from today without a lot of amendments that I'm going to add. And I'm going to go through this list, this blue... this list of blue bills that we have on our desk and pick out all the committee priority bills. And any of them that are still before us, whether it's on General File, Select File, or Final Reading, I'm going to start drafting amendments to all of them and I will do it. And it's going to be so easy for me because we only have 20 or 30 days left. This should not he done so my motion is that we recommit this bill to the Education Committee and let them have a public hearing and let the public know that all of these provisions are now a part of this bill. And maybe people who did nut object to LB 711 might have had something in LB 1301 that they would not have agreed to. So you might have a lot of people if you put them together collectively seeming to support all of these bills. But if you broke the bills down individually, you might find people who are for some, against others, and neutral on still others. But I'm looking at the process. I don't believe anybody on this floor, I'm saying anybody including those people on the Education Committee who sent these bills out here, who knows everything about every one of these bills and all of the ramifications. I'm going to see if in the course of the discussion the committee will tell us which bills have A bills and how much money is involved and what it's going to be spent for. Maybe they have that information, maybe they don't. I'm not able to put it together. And I wouldn't even profess to be able to do it in the short amount of time that this amendment has been before us. So my motion is to .recommit this bill. If you recommit it, you're through with it. If you don't, then we're going to be here a good long time; and I don't mind being here. Remember, brothers and sisters, we're go right through the lunch hour on Friday. So we're going to see how long you all can last. And I'm willing to let you all call the lobbyists in...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: ... bring food over there. I got a minute left? Let them bring food over there and feed you all. You all can team up on me in relays. One-third of you all sleep,
one-third of you all eat, and one-third of you all sit out here. Then you all rotate and I'll have to stay on the floor all of that time by myself without eating, without sleeping, without resting. This is the day to get me. Get me as good today as Senator Witek got me yesterday.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Bohlke.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Mr. Speaker and members. First of all, Senator Chambers, I don't know, Senator Chambers, if ... you don't need to answer, I'm just directing this toward you, that I heard you first of all trying to extend our session by seven days. Actually we have 13. Now if you want to put an amendment on this technical amendment to extend the session another week, we could probably get a lot of things a lot of people would like done. Second of all, I told you the last time that we went ten hours on a bill of mine that the next time you and I were going toe to toe that I was not going to be in high heels and I was going to be in comfortable clothing. Well, I did anticipate this today. I am in comfortable clothing, I'm in flats, so I'm ready to go. I will go stamina to stamina with you on this bill because it is important. Now seriously, if we would refer this back to committee, the first consequence would be that schools would not get $125 million of special education funding. That would probably be the first reason that I think this would be a very bad idea. But let me also go to the issues that Senator Chambers did raise as far as this as a Christmas tree and not technical. What we did do is last year we had a technical bill come out of the Education Committee and it was on General File. It did not get passed last year and so we put five ... five of the divisions in here are from last year's technical bill. The other amendments that you see in the committee's judgment truly were technical. They were things that were brought to the committee by individual senators. As we looked at them, they looked in our judgment as clearly technical. As we move through those amendments, I think that you will see that and really very... last year, of the last year technical bill before we put it into this, we took out anything that seemed to be controversial so we tried very, very hard to keep it technical and noncontroversial. The first section that we may debate in the only one that is controversial, but it's actually an amendment to something in the bill so, you know, within the
guidelines of what we always do in amending a bill. And so I know that it seems like a large bill with a number of amendments. But in the Education Committee 1 may remind you that we had three fewer bills than Judiciary. We had very, very long hearing days and that is why with the number of bills that we were dealing with and the number of bills that people declared priority bills in the committee that as we went through some of them that were very noncontroversial that changed dates, changed certain things were the ones that we put in here. As we work through this, I think that you will see the committee's attempt to keep this as technical as possible and so I ask you to reject the Chambers amendment. I'm sorry that Senator Chambers feels so strongly on this and that we're going to take a lot of floor time. And I can't do anything about that, only Senator Chambers can. And so I'm ready to go the distance. And with that, I ask you to not refer this back to committee and as I opened on the very beginning to say the most important reason being that schools would not receive $125 million of special education funding. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Tyson. Senator Tyson.
SENATOR TYSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members of the body. I rise in support of the Chambers amendment and this for a number of reasons. The story is told that when Captain Cook first landed on the subcontinent or continent of Australia he saw fauna and flora that he was completely Mystified by. And he saw this strange animal with a long tail, powerful back legs and very weak forearms and it was hopping About at a high speed and he wanted to know what it was. So he asked one of the aborigines that he was in contact with, what is that animal? And he didn't speak the aboriginal language and they didn't understand English so he had to shout because if you were talking to someone that doesn't understand English, it becomes more comprehensible if you shout. But he kept pointing to this animal, what is it, what is it? And the story goes that the aborigine said, kangaroo and that's what it's been called ever since which in that language means I don't understand. Mr. Speaker, I don't kangaroo here. We were given this under date of 3-19. It is 51 pages, 1,358 lines. I calculate on average it's about 16,300 words. We are expected to comprehend, we are expected to understand, we are expected to make an
informed judgment, we are expected to expend large sums of money. And as Senator Chambers pointed out, there is about 13 other bills that we're also supposed to be able to weigh, to comprehend, to pass an informed judgment upon. And this at a time when there are less than 100 hours, actually I calculated there's less than 80 hours of actual floor time available to us for this session. Something is wrong when an amendment of this weight, and that's the only way you... it's a weighty amendment probably in more ways than one. But we have to be able to understand what we are doing. We are dealing in a scarce resource. We are dealing in our fellow citizens' money. The fact that there may be a surplus around here somewhere doesn't have a thing to do with it. We have an absolute obligation to be parsimonious in every respect every time. That we may or may not have been in the past is beside the point. We have to be now. I don't have the capacity, I have to stand here and admit a failing, I'm not smart enough to understand this in a few hours. Perhaps there are many senators here, 48 senators here, who can. I can't. And, therefore, I have to support the Chambers amendment. I have to say I need time to understand, to comprehend, to read, to weigh before I start frittering away the taxpayers' money.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR TYSON: There is an old song sung by Burl Ives, "Time, Time, Time." We don't have the time to do a good job on. this. If the question were divided, it would have to be divided into 14 or 15 minimum, 14 or 15 parts and, therefore, I ask this body to vote for Senator Chambers' motion to return this to committee. That would probably mean that there would have to be a lot of hours spent to bring this thing back in suitable form. If we're going to do this, we have a whole series of other educational bills representing rural interests that if we're going to have a big omnibus bill we better have that. They're part of the state, too. I don't want to shock anybody by that statement but, yeah, some of us that don't live in Omaha or Lincoln are actually, I can prove this, are citizens of the state...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Time.
SENATOR TYSON: ... who are paying taxes and some of the money that we're dallying with here is our money. So everyone in the few seconds I have remaining, please support the Chambers amendment. Thank you very much.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Dierks.
SENATOR DIERKS: Mr. Speaker and members of the body, I also stand in support of Senator Chambers' amendment. This ... Senator Tyson has said it pretty well. This is a pretty weighty document that we just had on our desk this morning that we're expected to render some sort of intelligent or informed decision on, and I don't think that's possible. I'm sorry that the ESU money or the service unit money or the special ed money or whatever it is is not going to be available next year, but that should have been taken into consideration before this amendment came to us. We ... I think we abuse the system when we place 13 bills on one committee priority bill. I think that abuses the system. There's no way we can honestly perform our duties here by knowing what's in each one of these bills, by knowing what's in this amendment. I'm not even sure I could know by Monday, but I sure won't know this afternoon. And I would urge that you also refer this bill back to committee. The committee would then have the responsibility of bringing this bill back fairly quickly with the very necessary part that it has to have instead of this Christmas tree thing. This is not, this is not good, this is not good legislation. This is not good policy. We should not accept this type of amendment. I would urge you to support Senator Chambers' referral and I certainly will. I couldn't in good sense in my Ag Committee do something like this. Of course, if I put all the bills I had in Ag Committee on one bill, that might take care of all of them. But this doesn't seem like... this is not what we're about here. I think we are supposed to make informed judgment. We had a bill last year from Education Committee, LB 806, we thought ... some people thought we knew what we were doing. Some of us didn't. But when we left here with the kind of figures we thought we were dealing with, they weren't the figures we were dealing with and we all had a shock when the figures from the Education Department came out in August or whenever it was, September, those figures adjusted the amount of dollars we thought we were going to get in 806. So for us to do something like this I
think is unaccountable. We can't account to our constituents for supporting something like this so I really think it's necessary that we put the bill back in committee and have it brought out with the very important purpose of funding ESUs, the special ed funding. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Hudkins.
SENATOR HUDKINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and members of the body. At the risk of straining relations with my seatmate, I don't believe I could have said it any better than Senator Chambers or Senator Tyson. Last year in the Judiciary Committee...I guess the beauty of the committee system is that when you're on that committee you supposedly read the bills ahead of the committee hearing, you go in, you listen to the proponents and the opposition and then you make a decision and the committee acts and then you have a committee statement. We had an instance in Judiciary Committee last year where we went into the Exec Session and we were handed a quite lengthy amendment. To put it bluntly, I raised a fit. I said I am not going to vote on an amendment of this caliber with not having any more awareness of it than a minute and a half or in this case perhaps an hour. There are too many bills that we are supposed to know something about, and I did not check but Senator Chambers said that there were not committee statements. Well, no, there wouldn't be because if the bills were not advanced from committee, there would not be a committee statement. But I would like to know the reasons behind each of these bills, what they do, who they affect and the fiscal notes. With something this large, maybe there's one particular thing in it that you really, really want. Maybe there's something in it that you really, really hate. And you have to decide, okay, is there enough good in this that I'll vote for it and forget about the part I don't like? Or then you might decide, okay, this one part that I don't like, the whole bill is going down because I absolutely cannot support this one particular provision. Now Senator Janssen told me that he had one of these 13 bills on here and it was a very, very important bill. Now I agree with him, it probably is, but it's just one of 13. And if we're going to have the committee system, if we're going to have the committee priority bill, then let's have a committee priority bill. Senator Bohlke, you mentioned that if this bill doesn't
pass that the schools will be losing out on their special ed funding. If that's what the original 1175 was, and I don't know if it was, okay, you're saying no, but if that is what we're concerned about, then let's deal with just that. Let's not bring into everything else that we're asked to be dealing with. At this point I, in good conscience, cannot vote because I don't know. And if I don't know, I certainly am not going to vote. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Hilgert is proud to announce he has the following guests visiting the Legislature. They are 15 fourth graders from Central Christian School and their teacher from Omaha, Nebraska. Would you please stand up and be recognized by your Legislature. Senator Hilgert, we didn't mean for you to stand up. Senator Schellpeper.
SENATOR SCHELLPEPER: Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman and members. I rise also with some concern about what's happening here with this amendment. Just because the consent calendar is gone this year, now we're going to take 14 bills and put it into one bill. I'm not saying that the bills aren't needed, that they're not good bills. If I tried to do that in my committee, I would never get away with it and I don't think we should do that here either. We should take each bill on its individual priority, take each one. If we're not going to send it back to the committee, let's at least take each bill individually because I think these are very important subjects. We found out last year LB 806, it wasn't what we thought it was. I think this bill is another bill isn't what we think it is. I think it's much deeper than that. But if we take each individual bill of these 14 bills and go through them, I don't have a problem doing that. I know it's going to take time but it's a very important issue. But we shouldn't be putting them all into one amendment. It's a bad precedent. Just because we don't have consent calendar, let's put them all in here, they'll all go on through and we'll say they're all technical amendments. Well, maybe some of them are, then it won't take very long. We can just move through them real fast. But if they're a major proposal which I think some of them are, let's take them one at a time. I think it's fair to this body that we do that. I don't really want to put it back to the committee. I would sooner just take each bill separately because I think then we would know exactly what's in
this bill. Right now the way it's designed to do it, it's something that hasn't been done before with this many bills. We've had amendments on the floor where we've talked about them all, you say, well, I'll put this on here and I'll put that on there but it's always bills that we always talk about. But here we're attempting to say these are technical amendments, let us do it, it's an important bill, we have $145 million we're going to lose, well, maybe we are. But we don't have to lose it if we just take our time, work our way through all these amendments. I think it's that important to this body especially after LB 806 last year. I would urge this body to at least consider each amendment and each bill on their own merit. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Hudkins announces she has the following guests visiting the Legislature. They are first grade students from Eastridge Elementary School here in Lincoln. They're in the north balcony. Would you please stand and be recognized by your Legislature. Good morning. Senator Schimek.
SENATOR SCHIMEK: Yes, thank you, Mr. President, members of the body. I rise to chide Senator Chambers a little bit. He really does need to learn to use this little electronic gadget on his desk. I just went through, Senator Chambers, and I want to let you know that the fiscal notes on each of these bills that's incorporated into this committee amendment; on LB 711 it's zero; on LB 940 it's zero; on LB 1008 it's zero; on LB 1031 it's zero; on LB 1123 it's zero; on LB 1133 it's zero; on LB 1159, it's $10,000; on LB 1197 it's zero; on LB 1210 it's zero; LB 1301, $5,000; LB 1302, zero; LB 1304, zero; and LB 1344 they said there would be minimal expenses for administering this at the local level, but they didn't have a fiscal number, a definite fiscal number on it. So, you know, if that's our concern about...and the bill itself has a zero fiscal note, so that isn't a problem if we're concerned about what might be the cost of this bill that we're considering. And Senator Tyson did mention that our resources are scarce and I agree with Senator Tyson. This bill, the main thing that we need to be concerned about is the scarcity of special education funds I think. So I would just encourage you to if we need to discuss this bill section by section or whatever we need to do, but I think thereto some really important parts in here and I have to tell you that I don't have a bill in here, Senator Chambers. I'm
hoping to add one on later, (laughter) but mine is not part of this committee amendment but you'll get. to discuss my bill separately so thank you very much.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Bohlke.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Mr. Speaker and members. As I pointed out and some of the people I think were not here on the floor possibly when I pointed out that this is two technical bills really. It was a technical bill that went to the floor last year, five of the divisions are the technical bill from last year so they were incorporated into the technical bill this year, and we removed any of the controversial pieces from that technical bill. I do have when we get done with this a motion up there to divide the question so that we will be able to go through each one and discuss. Senator Chambers said that the committee statements as he read off the bills that he hadn't been able to find. Well, when we put it in the technical, obviously, we did one committee statement. But I did pull up all of the committee statements that he mentioned and there was not one person opposing in any single one of the bills except for one bill on the list. All the others didn't even have anyone at the hearing in opposition. They were either proponents or neutral. So, you know, I can tell you that the number of bills that we had in Education, the number of things that we saw were truly technical, and that this was, you know, a vote of eight people on the Education Committee who saw them as technical last year and this year. And so I ... it was not an attempt to Christmas tree, but it was an attempt to when we have things that like where the stickers should be on a school bus windshield, that doesn't seem to me like something you want me to bring to the floor and have a debate. Defining weather and what types of... the definition of weather for when a school closes, do you want me to bring that up as an individual bill to the floor for you to debate? And so you say you don't like a Christmas tree attempt. But if I go through here and I'm pretty tempted to turn my light on and start reading to you, I want to tell you that I wonder how many of you would not even be on the floor listening to it. You would be down in your offices doing work, not listening to it and you wouldn't even' vote on them unless I had a call of the house. That's how technical they are. Now I think that's a difference. And so I think the
committee tried very hard to keep these strictly technical, recognizing the floor time necessary. And if you want to and we'll have a chance division by division and I can hardly wait to see us debate each one of the divisions that I've offered up there and then at each one I'm going to ask if we don't think that that is very technical. And BO we tried to keep to that commitment from the committee. I hope that because of the importance we could let this go and refer it back to committee and then every person who has stood up and said that they don't like this can answer to the constituents for the kids in all the schools who do not get $125 million for special education funding. Now I don't think we want to do that. I do think I'm very willing to divide the question and go through it each one by each one. I put the motion up there, we'll do that. it's going to take time, but I want to tell you it would have taken much more time to bring up an individual bill for each single one of these sections. We were actually trying to save some time for you and recognizing those things that were very technical. And with that, I certainly ask that you reject the Chambers motion to return to... to refer it back to committee. Thank you very much.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Schellpeper has as his guests his son and his family, Tom and DaNita Schellpeper, their daughters Sydney and Courtney. They're from Stanton and they are underneath the north balcony. Would you please and stand and be recognized by the Legislature. Senator Maurstad also has 14 fourth graders from St. Paul Lutheran School in Beatrice. They're here with their teacher and they're in the north balcony. Would you please stand and be recognized. Thank you. Senator Chambers.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Mr. Speaker, I think Senator Bohlke and Senator Schimek missed the point. I had mentioned, Senator Schimek, in going through the books that some of these bills had fiscal notes and I had no idea how much was in them because all I was doing was trying to go through and see which ones had committee statements. I read off the ones that had no committee statements so I made it clear what I was doing, but people don't pay attention. When Senator Bohlke said we could take, she could have brought each one of these bills up one at a time, no, .she couldn't because they're not priority bills. So even if you
divide, and by the way, I was going to divide the question but I was going to make more divisions than her staff made. So I was going... I made it clear what I intended to do with this bill BO I don't want to make it seem like things were just done out of a clear blue sky. They knew what I intended to do, and I was going to make more divisions than this. Let me tell you something else. Senator Schellpeper had said we should discuss them one at a time but here's what happens. You give each one of these bills a priority status. They wouldn't be before us being discussed today because they're not priority bills so that's the difference. Even if you divide the question which is what I was going to do, I'm glad that Senator Bohlke has done it, you're giving these bills priority status. That's the point that I can't seem to get through. You give the committee chair an advantage over everybody else who is not a committee chair. One of us could not draft an amendment that put this many bills in because some would not be considered germane. But in a committee amendment, as long as it's not two subjects, it's considered germane; and even if there are two subjects, people usually don't look at committee amendments with that end in view. I am concerned about the system. But here's what I want you all to remember. Senator Bohlke challenged us to see how many would be here to vote. Well, whether we're here to vote or not is totally irrelevant to what I'm talking about. If we do take them one at a time, I'm going, I promise you this. I'm going to offer amendments to every one of the divisions, that's what I promise you and I will be here. And I'm going to offer amendments to every committee, every bill that was a committee priority bill; and one of the senators assisted me by giving me a list of them and where they are. And I will do it. That's how serious I am about this. And I had talked, as I mentioned before, to Senator Wesely about some of his bills. And there were items he was adding that I agreed with that I thought were meritorious but there were too many and I frankly told him and we talked about it. If you all want to let this precedent be established, vote against my motion and leave it out here and give each one of these bills, which is not a priority of any kind, priority status. That's what is being done. And if the Judiciary Committee decides to do it, then it brings a lot of bills out which are not priority bills. And each one by virtue of being made a part of the committee amendment is given priority status that it would not have.. That's what I mean when
I talk about the rules that other people put in place that I vote against and those who put them in place don't even pay attention to the ramifications of them. And I'm trying to make it clear that no matter what the subject matter of this committee amendment is or the original bill is or which committee it comes from or who the committee chair is, look at what it does to the process. What is happening today is not what was intended when a rule was adopted to give a committee a chance to designate two bills as priority bills. There was all kind of discussion about the important issue...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: ... that might come before a committee and it would have to get out here and no senator would prioritize it. So you let the committee chair do it. And now you have in effect 14 bills in front of you, all given committee priority status. So even if the question is divided and we look at each one separately, each one of those bills is being given priority status. And my colleagues who will support this because it's on an education bill should realize that it can be done on other bills, too, that they don't approve of. I'm not going to play favorites. I like some of what Senator Wesely was going to put on his Christmas tree, but I let him know I won't support it and I'll fight it. And I don't like this Christmas tree and I'm going to fight it, and I'm going to use the system to bring to our attention how serious I deem this matter to be.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Maurstad.
SENATOR MAURSTAD: Thank you, Mr. President. I harken, back to yesterday when I said in an earlier discussion that our process is one where when you get 25 votes what happens, happens. Senator Chambers has been here longer than anyone, been here longer than some of the dust in this room. He knows by now what the power and the authority of a committee chair is. Gosh sakes, I learned that in the first couple of years. We give them a lot of authority. That goes with the position. If you don't like the work of the committee chair, every two years you get an opportunity to hold them accountable, make a change. I'm opposed to the motion to reference this to committee. Playing off of Senator Bohlke's earlier comments, I never wear high
heels, I'm always dressed comfortably, and I'm willing to stay here as long as she wants to stay here and Senator Chambers wants to stay here. Maybe this is one of the days when we're going to actually dig our heels in and stick around for a while. I think it's appropriate that obviously the bill is going to be divided. We can go through the items one by one as the body wants to. But golly sakes, some of the things that I've seen flow through this session relative to the attachment of bills to other bills and whatnot, at least this is a straightforward approach in which it's given all at one time for us to look at instead of being filtered up there piece by piece. I sit here pretty close to the front desk. I just wait for the cart that's coming down the aisle to bring the next amendment sometimes. I don't think this is a big deal. Let's start debating the bill.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Beutler.
SENATOR BEUTLER: Senator Kristensen, members of the Legislature, I hope we can get into the debate of the bill as soon as possible also. In the context of this particular session, this particular time around, to reject the idea that we should not be putting together as many things as we can in a noncontroversial way for the most part I believe and getting them in front of you so that they can be acted upon, if we're not going to do that with any bills with the few bills that are getting out here in front of us, you're going to face a whole chorus of criticism and concern from the public about why we didn't get a whole number of things done. And I think in the context of how the public expects us to operate, this is the best that we can do. This is the best that we can do. The problem with the system I honestly believe is that the public limits us to such a small amount of time. We have not wasted a lot of time this session. Senator Chambers has been hard on some bills in the early part of the session, but my perception has been that he has been by and large and for the most part very constructive. Probably we need to look at everything we do the way those things have been looked at. But the public doesn't perceive that need at least yet. And that's a great shame from my perspective because I think we can do a lot of good for the public if we had time to deal with matters. You and I under the context of the current situation, we don't even deal as intelligently as we could with new legislation, new
programs, new things that come in front of us. And we almost never have time to look back at existing programs for each one of us individually to pick out an existing program and examine it and see if it could be made more efficient. You know, that part of the process we rarely get around to. The Appropriations Committee is by and large overwhelmed with just keeping up with things. The whole system breaks down dramatically almost every year because we are not allowed sufficient time to do things. And there are a lot of consequences to that. We are not as efficient as we should be. We are back here correcting things year after year after year. We are back here refining things year after year after year that we probably could have done right in the first place if there had been more time. All that just represents I suppose an observation on my part having been here a number of years. But the only other way that you can get the material done in an intelligent way, and I would not say that this is an intelligent way, is to completely and seriously muzzle everybody in here. I And that's not a solution either obviously. But in the context of the situation that exists, we have to deal with a large measure of collegiality. and we have to deal with facts as they are and life as it is. And that scenario demands that we get up before the body as a whole those matters that the body as a whole would want to decide upon and make decisions on. And if we can't do that through the consent calendar...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR BEUTLER: ... or through a collegial atmosphere on some .bills that are not consent but are not major bills, then this is the only avenue left to all the committee chairs and to the Legislature generally to get our work done. And you will see not just the Education Committee but the Natural Resources Committee and other committees trying to get up to you in a limited sort of way ... these aren't all the bills before the Education Committee by any means ... but getting up before you the things that we think the public will want you to decide upon one way or another. This is what Senator Bohlke is doing. This is what you'll see in other bills. It will take time to go through them, but that's why we're here; and we're going to have some late nights. We might as well get used to the fact that the next three weeks it's not going to be any fun at all in terms of
the drain on our energies. But hopefully we can feel good afterwards if we...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Time.
SENATOR BEUTLER: ... spend that time in having gotten our work done.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Vrtiska.
SENATOR VRTISKA: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members of the body. I wondered if Senator Bohlke could help me out. Senator Bohlke, some people in this body and I guess elsewhere have described me as probably the least intelligent, least intellectual and least knowledgeable person in this body, and I don't necessarily ascribe to that description but ...
SENATOR BOHLKE: They said that about me, Senator Vrtiska?
SENATOR VRTISKA: No, I'm talking about me.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Oh.
SENATOR VRTISKA: What I want you to help me with is obviously when this came this morning and it's my first glimpse at what it all ... and I heard some of your comments about $135 million if this bill didn't pass. That does not mean all 13 sections have to pass, is that correct?
SENATOR BOHLKE: That's correct, Senator Vrtiska.
SENATOR VRTISKA: Okay, and you also described that a number of these were technical, a great many of them were technical changes that were not really very controversial.
SENATOR BOHLKE: All of them, in the committee's view.
SENATOR VRTISKA: Pardon?
SENATOR BOHLKE: All of them, in the committee's view.
SENATOR VRTISKA: Well, I guess $135 million doesn't sound
technical to me.
SENATOR BOHLKE: It's a change of date.
SENATOR VRTISKA: It's a change of date.
SENATOR BOHLKE: It just sunsets the date that we need to sunset in order for the special education funding to continue.
SENATOR VRTISKA: Well, my point is that that makes it more than a technical ... it's a technical change, but...
SENATOR BOHLKE: But that's not in the amendment, Senator Vrtiska. That's in the bill.
SENATOR VRTISKA: Well, yeah, I understand that. The thing that I'm trying to get to is that, and I guess you've already indicated that somehow you're willing to go through and help me understand many of these things that I'm going to have to have some help with or else have some time because I don't have the time right now to sit down and try to absorb all this. And I guess if we can get to the point where we can take enough time to divide this up to where we can talk about the different issues and maybe some of them need to be done, some of them maybe aren't that important. And I guess what I'm getting at is I guess I was somewhat disappointed to only get this this morning, and I'm not blaming anybody because I realize that you had a big job to put this together. But you have to understand not being on the Education Committee it's more difficult for me to understand what took place in the Education Committee. As a result, it puts me in a spot of trying to understand what all of these are. Now you've indicated that they're not very ... that they're technical and they're not that important. But apparently they must have some importance or they wouldn't even be in the bill. Is that correct?
SENATOR BOHLKE: Right, Senator VrtiBka. I was trying to, and I don't want to take all of your time, but...
SENATOR VRTISKA: That's okay.
SENATOR BOHLKE: ... but what I was trying to say is they were
things that were brought to the committee that the committee deemed as technical that it's a date change, a data change, a terminology change. And like I said, the other important thing I keep trying to emphasize that it was last year's technical bill that didn't get passed and this year's. And so I could have prioritized the two different ones and I will go through, you know, each division with you and I think they will be things that will be very easy to understand. This was special ordered because we have spent time on other educational bills in getting them summarized and done, that's why this came up late. We found out this week that it would be special ordered and that was why we couldn't get this information to you before.
SENATOR VRTISKA: Well, I appreciate that response. I just have to tell you that from my perspective it makes it much more difficult to try to absorb these kind of bills in this fashion. And, you know, I am not totally of the belief that we need to refer this to committee. But if we don't do that, I think we need to take a lot of time in order to get a complete understanding. And I would hope that it could be divided up in enough divisions that we can deal with the different parts. I do, you know, I've never tried to Christmas tree bills because I never... I guess I never thought ...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR VRTISKA: ... that that was the intent of this body when we started, but I understand why it's done and whether I agree with it or not certainly is not important because the body makes the decision on how some of these things are dealt with. But these are the things that makes it more difficult for me to deal rationally'. And I think that what I'm seeing is-there's some things that I may be totally in agreement with and there's some things I may not want to agree with and I got to figure out how to divide those. So I guess what I'm asking is that ... I guess I would probably support Senator Chambers' reference to committee for the purpose of at least having the time in order to spend a few hours maybe reading this document and try to understand it as you go through it because still it's going to take some understanding on my part. So hopefully we can come to some kind of a ... we can come together to the point where we can...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Time.
SENATOR VRTISKA: ... decide what is the best for ... time?
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Yes, Senator.
SENATOR VRTISKA: Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Jones.
SENATOR JONES: Mr. President and members of the body, I'm going to stand this morning and support Senator Chambers' amendment to refer it back to committee because I just can't understand haw we could got 51 pages here this morning to look at and try to figure it out so either that or it's going to have to be divided to see what the different parts are. How do we know what this will happen here to LB 806 we passed last year? Will some of these affect what was passed last year in 806? 1 guess I don't know that. And how will it affect my schools in my district? I guess I don't know that either. So there is several things that kind of bother me because education in my area is really important because of the sparsity and BO I'm kind of concerned. If we really want to put some bills in it, I think we ought to have a couple more bills in it. We need to have LB 1247 in it and LB 1331. 1 think both of them should go in there, too, if we're going to try to get a lot of bills in it. I think each bill they say... keep saying that this was a technical bill, but I think each bill was important enough that it had its own hearing and was put together so I think that the chairman herself said that she was going to try to divide this question so she realizes that she's going to get it this far as a priority status and then divide it so we are going to be talking about it in several parts. So with that I'm going to stand and support Senator Chambers' motion to return it to committee. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Wickersham.
SENATOR WICKERSHAM: Thank you, Mr. President. I'm going to rise and oppose Senator Chambers' motion. I have a considerable amount of sympathy with the point that Senator Chambers is making. I think the first year I was in the Legislature I made
roughly the same point with regard to an amendment that Senator Wesely was offering to a Health Committee bill. I was concerned because I didn't know what all of the bills were. I didn't appreciate using the process in the way that it was being suggested to us by Senator Wesely. However, the way in which we dealt with the objection that I raised those years ago in 1991 is exactly the way in which we're now proposing to deal with the issue that's been raised by Senator Chambers. We divided the question, we took each one of the measures that were in Senator Wesely's amendment, one by one. To my chagrin, every one of them passed. And when we got all done, things looked just exactly like they were when we started out. And that is probably what would happen if we just settle down and go to work on the 7ommittee amendments that are before us now, take them piece by piece. I think that's entirely appropriate. I'm a strong advocate of having the opportunity for members of the body to know exactly what they're voting on and why they're voting on it, but we need to get to that part of the process. And so for that reason, I would not support Senator Chambers' proposal or his motion to refer back to committee. We've spent almost enough time debating that particular procedural issue to have disposed of any number of the separate issues that are already in the bill. We have a certain amount of time, we have a certain amount of energy. I think we ought to devote it to the bill or the amendment in its form that it's presented to us. I would yield the rest of my time to Senator Bohlke if she wishes to speak to you about the individual proposals that are in the amendment.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Thank you, Senator Wickersham. To give you an idea of how controversial and how much time it may take to explain them when we finally get there, I'll just read a few of them. Section 9 of the bill is amended to allow up to 90 days rather than the current 60 days to submit a reorganization plan for election. Section 10 of the bill is amended by replacing the restriction of any further voting on the reorganization petition with the same restrictions applied to any further action on the petition. The next, section 12 of the bill is amended by clarifying the data year for data and the free lunch and free milk student definition. Another amendment clarifies the data used to determine the special education allowance for the final calculation of aid. Another of the bill is amended by
replacing district with local system for attributing data flow following a reorganization. Another is it's amended by clarifying that formula resources are for local systems. Another, the bill is amended by replacing district with local system for attributing receipts. Another is the bill is amended by clarifying that all classes of school districts are prohibited from using funds generated pursuant to the special education budget of expenditures for any other purpose than special education. The next is Section 26 of the bill is amended by removing the actual from General Fund operating expenditures and by removing a reference to the most recently available complete data year. Section 46 of the bill is amended by deleting obsolete language and by clarifying that special education pro rata requirements for below age 5 services are based on claims submitted. The minimum of seven payments is removed. Section 51 of the bill is amended by deleting...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR BOHLKE: ... obsolete language. Section 13 of the bill is amended to move the deadline from September 20 to August 1 for Class I districts to file and certify reimbursement of property tax statements, budget statements, and the amount of tax required. Language was also added to recognize the possibility of multiple levying boards. These changes incorporated in the intent of LB 1123. The next section is amended to require all districts or is amended to extend the deadline for option enrollment applications from January I to March 1. The deadline for the option district to provide the resident district with the name of the applicant is extended from January 15 to March 15. The deadline for notifying the parents, the resident district, and the Department of Education as to whether the application is accepted or rejected is extended from April 1 to April 15. For students who option out of a district with a desegregation plan, the deadline for the resident district to accept or reject the application to option out of the district is moved from February 1 to April 1.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Time.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Raikes.
SENATOR RAIKES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members of the body. I'll be very brief because I'm simply going to try to add a little emphasis to what Senator Wickersham has already said. I realize that there could be different motives or agendas for this motion to refer to committee, and I certainly recognize Senator Chambers' point about using the committee to convert nonpriority bills to priorities. However, I don't really know exactly how to handle that issue. In this particular case, I am concerned, though, about what might be accomplished by referring this back to committee. I can assure you that this bill and its various features have been discussed and considered by the committee. I realize the frustration of having a big package of material to go through, but I don't know that any further committee action could really ease that burden for you. I would make, try to make one clarification about the fiscal impact. There's an apparent conflict saying the fiscal impact is minimal and at the same time talking about $125 million. Really, the $125 million is considered through the appropriations process. This bill simply sets a date for using a distribution mechanism for that money. So the actual fiscal, the main fiscal impact is considered elsewhere and this is simply a technical change regarding the distribution of that money. I hope that we can come up with efficient and logical divisions and use them appropriately. And I hope that we can defeat the motion to return to committee and go forward with the work right here. Thank you and any remaining time I have I'll yield to Senator Bohlke if she chooses to use it.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Bohlke, you have approximately 2.5 minutes.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Thank you, Senator Raikes. As another senator pointed out, the amount of time we've spent now we probably could have been through a great many of the divisions and discussing them. But that's the way we do things and we all recognize that. I've tried to point out the technicalities here. I hope you understand that. There was some concern I guess from some rural senators that we were omitting something that they thought that they wanted on this bill. Senator Coordsen isn't here. He and I have worked closely together on
another bill that will be addressed in the unification bill. And so if there's a concern of some bill that they thought we didn't include in this, we really did. Any senator that talked to us about something that did look technical to us, we did recognize that. And so I really don't know where that's coming from other to tell you that's simply not the case and that I again hope we can get to a vote quickly and ask you not to refer it back to the committee and that we can proceed with the division I put up on the desk and explain each one of the divisions to you. And as I said, at the end of that time I think you'll see that this truly is technical and all but one section noncontroversial. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Suttle.
SENATOR SUTTLE: Thank you, Mr. President. Oh, for consent calendar. Boy, it would really be nice if we could have had a consent calendar this session. But Senator Chambers says he's not going to let us have a consent calendar this session. And now he says he's not going to let us have noncontroversial bills attached to a committee bill. It's very difficult to know how we can get the work done in the short time we have. I'm concerned about the $125 million to special ed in this bill. I'm concerned about the technical things that need to be done in this bill. And if we were given the opportunity to have a consent calendar, we could have gotten these done on a one-to-one basis on each bill and its merits and we could get on with the business at hand. I'm sorry we've taken nearly the entire morning this morning discussing this point. I wish we could get to the bill. You could be assured, you certainly have had time in the time we've been talking about this to read the committee amendments, get your questions ready for Senator Bohlke or for any of us on the Education Committee, and I would encourage you to do that and hope that you will not support Senator Chambers' motion to send it back to committee. Thank you, Mr. President.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Robak.
SENATOR ROBAK: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members of the body. I think I've had my light on about five times and I'll press it off at least that many times and pressed it back on again. I
really don't know what I want to say except I got up this morning, it was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and it was Friday, put my feet on the floor and grabbed the newspaper and the coffee pot simultaneously which I do every morning, which I do every morning. I can't have coffee without a newspaper and there, lo and behold, I read in the paper again the very words used over and over and over again, key senators or key leaders, or whatever it is in the body when they were talking ... writing about it ... I don't even remember what it was anymore. But after ten years I get a little tired of these special people being called key senators or key leaders. We are all key senators in our own districts. We all represent 32,000 or so many constituents. We all have one vote. We do not vote by party caucus or party committee. We do not party ... we do not vote by caucus. We vote on merits of the bill. Somehow all of a sudden that coffee was kind of bitter, the sun went under a cloud and the newspaper lost flavor this morning and I don't know why. When I got to work and I found this amendment stuck in my face that I had never Been before and again I thought, key senators, key leaders, okay, maybe I am not one, maybe nobody needs my vote then, and that is all I have to say right now. I am still at a listening point at this stage of the game. I'm still listening to this, this, whatever we are doing here today and I'm going to sit here, I'll stay here, I'm missing my... I have constituents at the Governor's mansion who I could have had lunch with today and I'm key with them, I should really be with them. I'm sorry I didn't go now, maybe I can check out and catch the dessert yet and leave the rest of the key senators to debate this bill. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Schimek.
SENATOR SCHIMEK: Yes, thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Speaker and members of the body, I came close to calling the question here because we have had quite a bit of debate on this but I'm not sure that everybody has really made up their minds yet on what to do about this particular motion. I think Senator Chambers has raised an important issue and I think that we need to probably give some thought to this whole issue but I don't think anybody in this body would deny that this happens all the time. Maybe not in the same quantity but it happens and so I guess the question in my mind is, where is that magic line that
says that we don't do it. I mean, in it at two bills, is it at three bills, is it at four bills? I mean that is part of the question. And until...I hate to even suggest this, Senator Chambers, but until we have a rule that deals with this question, I think it is pretty hard to argue I against what the committee did, especially in light of the process this session and in light of the fact that it is a short session, that we do not, as Senator Suttle pointed out, have any consent calendar. I think that the chairman of the committee has explained some of this, some of these sections to us, all of them actually, she has gone through and some of this stuff is pretty "ho-hum" actually. I think that we should get down to the discussion of the bill. I don't think that we are going to find any real difficult issues here, ones that we can't come to some kind of a conclusion on. I think we should move ahead. If it needs to be divided, let's divide it., I don't particularly want to stay here all night, Senator Chambers, I would probably fall asleep at my desk, I'll be very candid. I don't think it is necessary for us to do that. So I would encourage defeating the Chambers amendment and going to the bill and discussing it and moving on with life. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Schmitt.
SENATOR SCHMITT: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have a question for Senator Bohlke, I guess or one of the members of the committee that maybe can answer it.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Bohlke, would you respond to a question from Senator Schmitt?
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes.
SENATOR SCHMITT: This is kind of on the bill more than actually on the committee amendment rather than on actually moving it back to the committee, but I have a problem or a question on the bus drivers' time off, time on. In the amendment, it would be on page 24. If you have the committee statement it would be on page 9 where it refers to the time on and the time off with the bus drivers. Do we need this?
SENATOR BOHLKE: This is to put us in compliance with the
SENATOR SCHMITT: And what was in statute before wasn't?
SENATOR BOHLKE: Correct.
SENATOR SCHMITT: I guess the question I have there, it says, "for the purpose of this subsection 'on duty' means all time from the time a driver begins to work or is required to be in readiness to work until the driver is relieved from work." Isn't a school bus driver ready all the time? If he is called, if he is needed? What is this going to do to the bus drivers that come into a state tournament from Scottsbluff or Alliance, Sidney, Ogallala?
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Bohlke, we are waiting for you to respond.
SENATOR BOHLKE: I apologize, Senator Schmitt.
SENATOR SCHMITT: I just say what with that written that way, what is this going to do with the schools, with the bus drivers from the people that have to come in to state tournaments from Scottsbluff, Alliance, Sydney, Ogallala, clear out in the western part of the state? How are they going to do this?
SENATOR BOHLKE: Senator Schmitt, we were trying to get a clarification with the Transportation Committee legal counsel and if I can get back to you, the problem is that there is a whole section of federal guidelines ...
SENATOR SCHMITT: I understand that.
SENATOR BOHLKE: ... on just school buses.
SENATOR SCHMITT: Right, and I understand....
SENATOR BOHLKE: So we need to...to get that information to you, that is what I was doing and I'm sorry I didn't hear your question and I'll got that answer to you as soon...
SENATOR SCHMITT: And I do understand that because of the...
SENATOR BOHLKE: ... by the time we got to the bill itself...
SENATOR SCHMITT: ... to the CDL requirement...
SENATOR BOHLKE: ... as you indicated...
SENATOR SCHMITT: I understand...
SENATOR BOHLKE: Right.
SENATOR SCHMITT: ... there is a federal reg and that is part of it but I just wonder whether that is worded right to where when these people are in Lincoln, seven o'clock in the morning, they arrive in Lincoln and the ball game is later and they are going to have to go home that night would time off in between that be time off? The way it is written it wouldn't be. I'll wait for that answer. The second question...
SENATOR BOHLKE: When we get to the bill and legal counsel is looking at that.
SENATOR SCHMITT: Okay. And the second question I had , you were referring to stickers on the windshields or whatever these buses, these are safety stickers that are required?
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes.
SENATOR SCHMITT: Isn't that required by the Department of Education, the location where those are put on?
SENATOR BOHLKE: This just moves the location so that the driver has a clearer view.
SENATOR SCHMITT: Okay, thank you. I'll wait for the answer. I'll yield my time back to the Chair.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Thank you. Senator Beutler.
SENATOR BEUTLER: I'll waive.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: He waives off. Senator Robinson.
SENATOR ROBINSON: Mr. Speaker and members of the body, I just rise... I have one of the bills that are in there and it has to do with the Arlington schools. Last year they were given ... I think it was around $230,000 or $240,000 because of greenbelting and the bill came out of committee without any negative votes. The bill passed on the floor without any negative votes and what happened is the bill passed but something happened and they never got their money. So they are going to have to wait two years to finish getting their money, they will have to wait until May of next year so consequently they've lost $10,000$15,000 and that is what the bill would do would change it so they would be paid immediately for that $240,000. Now all of you voted for it. There has never been any negative votes about it and I don't think there would be any discussion on it. So, I think any of you got up and questioned it, if this happened to a school in your district you would stand up and say just exactly what I am saying. And I think we ought to divide the question and get on with what we are trying to do. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Dierks.
SENATOR DIERKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask Senator Chambers a question if I may.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes.
SENATOR DIERKS: Senator Chambers, as I understand it you have more or less drawn a line in the sand. This bill goes back to committee or every committee priority bill gets amended, is that right?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: I will offer amendments on every committee priority bill and and I'm in the process of drafting them so instead of saying I've drawn a line in the sand, let's say I've chiseled a line in the concrete.
SENATOR DIERKS: okay, but ... unless this amendment passes now, what you are going to do is draft these amendments for all the
committee priority bills?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes, I am.
SENATOR DIERKS: Okay. And then does it matter whether they are ... where they are in the process, whether they are still in committee, whether they are on the floor or up on Select File or what does it really matter?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Since I have a listing of where they are I have started with those on Final Reading, I'm working my way through Select File, then I will get to General File because I want to get to those that might be considered, that are farthest along in the process to make sure they don't slip by without me having a chance to stick my hook in them.
SENATOR DIERKS: Okay. Well, members of the Legislature, you know, this makes the process a little more difficult, I believe. We are working in a time schedule that is pretty shortened here and I think we all recognize the importance of some of those bills, and I understand the importance of some of the bills that Senator Bohlke has put in this committee amendment and it is done craftily because it could keep 13 bill sponsors here to help support this bill out of... off the floor. That was somewhat the same process that was used on 806 last year. It was done craftily because it puts money in to at least 25 or 26 legislative districts that kept those senators in support of the bill. Those of us that didn't win, did not support the bill. I have got the same problem with this particular process because it has been contrived or constructed to keep people here to support this bill across. With that, we are going to get every committee priority bill with an amendment on that we are going to have to deal with that in this shortened time frame. My estimate is that we should go ahead and return this to committee, let them bring it back in the simple form that it came to the committee. Let us deal with that issue in a simple form of ... pass this resolution of Senator Chambers to refer back to committee and let the rest of the process take place as we want it to. I'm not going to... I don't want to jeopardize my committee priority bills. I don't think the rest of the committee chairmen want to jeopardize theirs and that is exactly what we do unless we refer this back to committee. Now, you can
call it whatever you want but I call it judicious for us to accept this resolution and I will support that and I hope the rest of you will, too. I'll give the rest of my time to Senator Chambers.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers, you have approximately a minute and a half.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Thank you, Senator Dierks, thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I want to make something crystal clear to my colleagues, if committee chairs are going to do what I consider to be unreasonable, I'm going to do what they consider unreasonable. I'm going to do under the rules what is allowed to me if they feel under the rules this that they are doing is appropriate. I stated in the beginning I don't care if every one of these bills is noncontroversial. I don't care if I would support every one of them. I am looking at the process and I stated before today that when the Christmas trees came, I was going to be chopping them down. As far as consent calendar, I told before we even came into session what I was going to do. If they tried to shut me up I was going to make sure they had no consent calendar and it was a trade-off. They decided to trade consent calendar to put me in the box. So that should be no surprise to anybody. What surprises them, and it shouldn't, is that I'm delivering on what I promised to do. Now, I'm not concerned about how upset or offended people get if I put amendments on these bills. Every bill before us is open to amendment. Every section is open to amendment. That is according to the rules. I am going to do it. That is what I am allowed to do. So I don't care whether they don't send this back to committee. I'm going to be here all, they said 13 days, I'm going to be here all 13 days anyway as I have been here every day except when it snowed too hard and I'll be here till we adjourn as I have been every day.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Time. Senator Stuhr.
SENATOR STUHR: Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislature, as a member of the Education Committee, this is a very difficult issue. We have been extremely busy in the Education Committee hearing a number of bills, a number of issues. My concern, however, is that in the last few days we seemed to have
continually added amendments and additional bills to 1175. I'm wondering if there might be some senators that are willing to withdraw some of their bills from the committee so that it would be less cumbersome, that we could address the changes that need to be addressed and then move forward with the issue, which I think we all feel, and I know that the chairman feels and as members of the committee, there are technical parts to this bill that must be passed this year. So I am going to vote to return it back to committee so that we might just have a little time to deal with this. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Beutler.
SENATOR BEUTLER: Question.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Yours was the last light anyway, Senator Beuler. Senator Chambers, you are recognized to close on your motion to refer to committee.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Thank you. And I'm going to have another motion on this bill. Several of them, because I am as serious as a heart attack. I've been in this Legislature longer than anybody. And I had said in the first few days that I was going to wash my hands of the System and let the people do whatever they wanted to do. But I changed my mind. I'm not going to do that. I can kill two birds with one stone. I can deliver on other promises that I made and I can help, to some extent, preserve the integrity of the system. The Judiciary Committee has an ungodly number of bills every session. And I fight against them trying to load up bills in committee and Senator Hudkins and others can tell you what I have done to fight the committee of which I am a member from doing that and I said, don't even send the bill out there as a favor to a senator because what they will do is try to add it to Another bill as an amendment and say the committee advanced it, that makes it easier. I've said, don't keep bills in committee as favors because somebody might try to pull it out. I have argued repeatedly that our job as a committee is to kill these bills that should not go on the floor, and that is what I'd do in the committee. And I am at that committee and I work hard when I'm at the committee. I question the people who come. I analyze and read those bills. I will say that some of the members have
told me that they rely on me for some of the work that I do. So I'm not somebody who just comes out on this floor and says, well I am tired, I don't like this, we are going to do it my way or no way. If-everybody worked as hard as I work, I wouldn't even be making this motion because others would have beat me to the punch by saying we are not going to load up a committee bill with 13 other bills. But if that is the way they want to do and if that is the way they view their responsibility and they are doing what they feel they ought to do, I am going to do what I feel it is my responsibility and if I could not deliver on it, I would not say it. So I don't make threats. We are negotiating and we are discussing. We have reached an impasse. They want to take this bill and give priority status to 13 bills that didn't have it, so I say the others are going to suffer for it then. Those that were committee priority bills are going to have some amendments. Now I probably won't get a single motion that I am offering on these bills adopted but time is what I want. I value time. And I'm going to get my time. And when we start dealing with those bills, that is when I will bring my hour glass up here and set it on my desk and that will be the signal of what I intend to do. I don't have to be angry, I don't have to be indignant, I don't have to raise my voice, there need not be another soul on the floor. Just as sometimes when C-SPAN will span the chamber of the House and you see nobody is in there but the one talking to whoever is forced to sit up at the desk so that they can have somebody there. I will talk to empty chairs. I will talk to desks. I will talk to the books. I will talk to the papers. I will talk to the ceiling, to the walls, to the windows, to the drapes. I'll talk. And if you are not here, it makes no difference because time continues to move. As I watch that sand fall through that hour glass, I will know that my purpose is being served and I don't need anybody's help. I don't need anybody's assistance and I certainly don't need Anybody's permission. I am a grown man. I have been working for my pay for a long, long time.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: And I don't have to get people's permission. So we are just going to decide how we will do it. Didn't Senator Maurstad tell you that he would be here as long as I am. Where is he? He is probably around here someplace but see that
is what I count on. People tell me they will stay as long as I stay but I observe. I have seen that we don't even stay here until six o'clock when the Speaker told us a long time ago we are going to try to work at least till six o'clock. I know my colleagues. I will not break my promises that I make to you or you would lose all respect to me. So I am drafting some amendments so that I can get them up on the desk today before we adjourn. And with that, I'm going to see if I can acquire a call of the house, so that my motion which is to recommit this bill to committee will have a chance of being adopted.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: There has been a request to place the house under call. All those in favor of placing the house under call vote aye, those opposed vote nay. Record, Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: 21 ayes, 0 nays to place the house under call.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: The house is under call. Would all unauthorized personnel please leave the floor. Will all unexcused members please return to the chamber and record your presence. The house is under call. The house is under call. Senator Janssen, will you please check in? Senator Preister, would you please check in? Thank you. The house is under call. Senator Robinson, would you please check in? Senator Matzke, would you check in please? Senator Engel would you check in? Senator Hillman, the house is under call. Senator Kiel, the house is under call. We are looking for Senator Hillman and Senator Kiel. Senator Kiel, the house is under call. The question before the body is the adoption of the motion to refer LB 1175 back to the Education Committee. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Have you all voted who care to? There has been a request for a record vote. Please record.
CLERK: 12 ayes, 26 nays, I'm sorry, 12 ayes, 25 nays on the motion. (See page 1219 of the Legislative Journal.)
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Mr. Clerk, items for the record.
CLERK: Mr. President, Enrollment and Review reports LB 63, 1107, 1110, 1110A as correctly engrossed.
A new resolution LR 346 by Senator Maurstad. Ask the Legislature to extend its condolences to Ken Peterson's family. I have amendments to be printed, Senator Vrtiska to LB 1142, Senator Robinson to 1161, Senator Abboud to 1120. That's all that I have, Mr. President. (See pages 1220-23 of the Legislative Journal.)
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Thank you, Mr. Clerk. Before you move to the next item, I do raise the call. Senator Hillman also has the following guests visiting the Legislature, they are Conny Herdt and Lynn Herdt from Scottsbluff, Nebraska. They are seated under the south balcony. If they are still there, would you please rise and be recognized by your Legislature. Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: Priority motion, Mr. President, Senator Chambers would move to reconsider the vote just taken.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers, you are recognized to open on your motion to reconsider.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Thank you. Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislature, there was, I guess it would be called a country western song called, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia". There was a contest between the devil and this individual as to who could play the violin or the fiddle better. So, this ... they showed, they had the devil playing the violin and when you heard the devil, you felt like, well, anybody well anybody can play better than that. And that is how he would sucker them in. So the young guy came, he went down there to challenge the devil and told the devil after the devil had played his, you sit down in that chair right there and let me show you how it is done. Well now I'm going to show not only how it is done because that is known now. Some people knew what that motion was when I took it up there. But to show that it will be done. And what I am doing on this bill today I intend to do on all those committee priority bills. One way that can be avoided and I can be frustrated is for the Speaker to simply not schedule them. Or, if they are scheduled then each person who has a priority bill can ask for structured debate. But if they don't put any amendments on their bill themselves, then my amendments have to
be taken up because the structured debate cannot prevent us form offering amendments and motions. So if in order to frustrate me, Senator "A" is going to put amendments on his own bill then he is playing into my hands because all I want to do is take time on the bill so what do I care whether I offer the amendment or the senator offers it, or somebody else offers it. Brothers and sisters, water cannot be contained in a sieve when the water is in liquid form and the sieve is functioning like a sieve. You can try to throw a net over the wind but you can not contain the wind in a net. So after all of these years when people try to outdo me by showing that they can be stubborn we will just have a contest each session and see who the last person standing is. Now if I had that bill I would say yes, I am going to fight for this bill and I will drive Chambers into the ground. And I don't care if everybody else loses their bill because I am going to get mine, or at least teach him a lesson. But what is the lesson that I will be taught? That is what we need to consider and that is why in one of the Bard's plays he wound up saying, "That is the question." And forget about the "To be or not to be." But, always ask what is the question and that should be propounded for the purpose of determining what the ultimate end is. Do you think my ultimate end in offering that motion to reconsider is to get enough senators to change the way they voted so that I can get an up or down vote again on the original motion which was to recommit that bill to committee? No! No! I know that. But all I want to do, and I am in that mode now, is to take some time. And, after I've offered my preliminary motions, which will be of a parliamentary nature, then when the bill is before us, as the body insists on having it, I will just offer amendments to each one of the divided portions. Then we will see if the one who put you all into this bind can whipsaw you in this manner. If you don't agree to give me cloture, then I'm going to let my bill stay before the body and let Chambers take all the time and your bill won't go anywhere. So you'd better give me cloture. Maybe that will work and maybe it won't because there is another element in the equation. There is a trainmaster who has to keep the trains running. So is the trainmaster going to continue allowing one train to encumber the tracks which every other train must utilize to get from point A to point B, allow that train to continue to encumber the track, block all the others, because the engineer of the train is stubborn? That's what we'll have a chance to see, too. That is
another question. I notice that my good friend, Senator Maurstad, has ducked out again, probably to get some liquid refreshment because he's ... oh, I see him. I see him. lie's still on the premises. I just want to be sure. And the only reason I called him by name because he's the only one who said that he'd be here forever although I think Senator Schimek, but she's sitting here, said she would be with me also even though she may drop off into the arms of Morpheus and, but just don't snore. But even if she snored, it wouldn't bother me. I have often said I wish we conducted our affairs like they do in the House of Commons where when I'm talking like this people could just boo and hiss if they wanted to. And then I would just talk louder, and then they'd boo and hiss louder, then I'd just get quiet and they wouldn't be aware that I'm not talking anymore and they'd just be booing and hissing and anybody seeing it would wonder what's the matter with those crazy people. Then when it came to them what they had done, 'they'd be so embarrassed that they'd be quiet and then they would let me talk and I'd be heard. One of my colleagues is shaking her head in the negative, but I know my legislators. These are my legislators and I know them. And what we're going to see this afternoon is how long we'll stay here. I'm prepared to keep us here and I will be on this floor and I will be participating actively. These are the times when there can be philosophical discussion to talk about the legislative process and the role of the Legislature. If the Speaker would tell the Rules Committee to go into session and craft a rule giving to every senator the right to designate two priority bills and that senator for the first amendment offered could put anything into it he or she wanted to and it would be considered germane, then I wouldn't do this because then every senator could do what these committee chairs are doing. And each senator could argue every one of these things is not controversial. The very first question that Senator Schmitt asked about the bill could not be answered yet every part of it is noncontroversial. The committee went through every part of it. They understand it all. But when Senator Schmitt asked his question, it could not be answered. And a comment was made that something in the bill relates to defining weather for the purposes of determining when school will be in session. And that's supposed to be technical and noncontroversial. Maybe it's not controversial to some people, but there have been times when the Omaha Public Schools had
school when surrounding districts closed the school because of the bad weather. So that may not be quite as easy as they think. There's one that deals with something about written rules and regulations relative to truancy. Well, when a bill comes before us, I don't just look at the new amendatory language, I look at the existing law. And I think there need to be some changes in that truancy law so 'it's not going to be a matter like Senator Bohlke said, she'll get up here and explain what the new language is and that's the end of it. No, that's just the beginning. You all have to Bay about this when Winston Churchill said, this is not the beginning of the end, no, this is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end, but maybe it's the end of the beginning. Maybe what I'm doing today will signal the end of the beginning. But I will be here and it will be no more difficult for me to do each day what I'm doing today. I'm not going to be more tired. In fact, if there is any fatigue that I feel now which I'm unaware of, I'll feel less of it Monday because I got two days Off, two days to just rest. Usually I don't think about my colleagues when I leave here. Out of sight, out of mind.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: But this weekend I'm going to contemplate each one of my colleagues separately. I'm going-to get that panoramic view that they give of the Legislature, well, what I mean is looks like a rogues gallery really where they put each senator's picture. And I'm going to take a certain amount of time, Senator Chris Peterson, and just focus on each senator and contemplate that senator individually over the weekend. And when I come back here, I will be prepared to have discussions with my colleagues, dialogues if possible or monologues if necessary. But since there's a determination by the body to have this bill before us and grant priority status to 13 bills that didn't have it, I'm going to go along with what the body has ...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Time.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: ... decided.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Crosby.
SENATOR CROSBY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members. Very quickly, the main reason I voted not to send it back to committee is because of the section in the original bill in 1175 that has to do with special education money. And I did talk to the fiscal analyst for education, for the Department of Education, with our fiscal analyst, the Legislature's fiscal 'analyst, to explain that to me so I would understand why we needed this particular section. But the other thing I've done is look at the committee statement and the list of people who came in for or against the bill. And I always think that gives you a clue as to who ... why certain people are on this floor are for or against a bill. One of the people who were in against it were the Class Is. The others are from small school districts who still feel that LB 806 did them in. I get letters and I know you do, too, from a lot of people in small towns and students and so on who still feel that 806 was completely unfair to them. So when you look at that list, the school administrators and the School Board Association were witnesses by letter. The legal counsel introduced. the bill and the other person, someone from Holdrege Public Schools testified for the bill. The Department of Education came in neutral. Senator Bohlke, I want, I have two just quick questions to kind of fill me in because I am trying to understand, I'm trying to understand the original bill. Do a lot of these things in 1175, in the original bill, come from the Department of Education?
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes.
SENATOR CROSBY: I mean you don't sit around and think all this up. Okay.
SENATOR BOHLKE: If you heard my reading, yes.
SENATOR CROSBY: Comes from the department, yeah, I listened. But the other thing about the school ...
SENATOR BOHLKE: I may be dull but not that dull.
SENATOR CROSBY: The school bus question that Jerry Schmitt asked, if that were let go would it turn everything upside down if we didn't do that until next year?
SENATOR BOHLKE: We're working on it right now with the Transportation Committee.
SENATOR CROSBY: Okay, thank you. My only ... my suggestion and my concern, I do think the special ed money is probably overriding as far as any of the other issues are concerned as far as I can see in looking at the bills that you added and so on so it would just seem like maybe eventually if we ever get to the bill itself that if nothing else you could pull that part out and run that part and let the rest of it go if that would solve the problem. Because as I said in the beginning, the reason I voted not to send it back to committee is because of that particular section. And if I understand it correctly, I do think that that is an important component for all the school districts, is that right, just nod your head, it's for all the school districts, that particular part is very important. So thank you. I guess I don't have any more to say. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislature, I'm something like one of those marathon runners or one of those running backs where the longer you play, the more contact it is, the stronger you become and the more involved you are. This that I'm talking about relates to the integrity of the system and there are people who know that that is at stake. You know what the lobbyists are doing right now and they've been doing it, scrambling around to find bills that they can convert into Christmas trees. You saw what the "Silver Fox," Senator ... he's not even here, Senator Brashear. And when I talked to him about his scheme, I said, you got something to bribe everybody in there, haven't you, but I'm going to fight it anyway. And to show that I don't play favorites, I've got amendments up there right away on that bill, LB 1099, should he manage to get it out of committee to make sure that it won't go anywhere. And I'll guarantee people who would call me concerned about all these new taxes that it was going nowhere. I told them, I promised them that I guaranteed it and I would stop all that by myself. But I won't have to stop that by myself. There are others who understand how bad that proposal is. But I get the calls because people know that I will fight against those things that
I think are wrong, and I'll fight for those things that I believe are right. This that is being attempted by the Education Committee is not appropriate. It is an abuse of the rule that relates to selecting two committee priority bills. But you haven't heard me say that you ought to impeach the chairman or disband the committee or anything like that. I just said that since this is the way they construe the rule they have shown me how the game is to be played. They have done this. I'm going to say like the king said to Sir Thomas More when Sir Thomas More would not agree that he should be able to get a divorce And the king got very angry and then the king said to Sir Thomas More, Thomas, see what you make me do. Do you see .what you make me do? That's what I have to say to the chairperson of the Education Committee. Senator Bohlke, you see what you make me do? And to the members of the Education Committee, I even heard the wizard get caught up in this, Senator Beutler got caught up in it. But those who spoke the strongest for it are members of the Education Committee. if you've been a part of a conspiracy, you've got to go along and stay there. You've got to hold together. In unity, there might be strength. But sometimes in unity of a kind that is based on a flawed principle, it does not connote strength but a lack of wisdom. When Senator Tyson, my pupil, and I have serious discussions which I enjoy, we will both agree that we don't care what is being talked about here. We get paid by the month, not by the hour, not by the day, not by the bill. We're not here on peace work. We're not hourly workers. We're paid by the month. We get $1,000 a month before taxes whether we come at all, whether we stay here the whole time, whether we stay part of the time, whether we sleep. No matter what we do we're paid $1,000 a month. So what difference does it make to me if I'm talking about this bill, LB 1175, and all of its parts or working on other individual bills crafting amendments, trying to improve legislation even if I disagree with it but which might be enacted into law and I wanted to do as little damage as possible. I don't hear senators when I'm helping them improve their legislation saying, boy, Senator Chambers, I wish you wouldn't take all that time. I wish you wouldn't have read my bill and offered these amendments.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: ... I wish you wouldn't have taken the time to draft the amendments, no. But now that I must as the elder statesman of the Legislature, Senator Willhoft, must help preserve the integrity of the system, I'm now persona non grata. But that's all right. Politicians must have a thick skin and that's why the law allows the types of things to be said against us and we have no remedy under the law which would entitle a private citizen to a suit against the person at libel if it is written or slander if it's spoken. We're deemed to have a thicker skin and we voluntarily put ourselves in this position. So I voluntarily put myself in the position, the Legislature has voluntarily put it ...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Time.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: ... and we'll just work it out.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Dierks.
SENATOR DIERKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members of the Legislature. I, too, understand that the reconsideration motion is probably not going to be successful and that the reason for it is to provide a little lesson. And I guess I'm disappointed from one standpoint and maybe some of you refer to this probably as maybe we're being blackmailed, I looked at it more as a reality check with what has happened here with this bill not being referred to committee. We now know we're going to be looking at amendments on every priority bill there, senator and committee priority bill. And I think that that could be disastrous. I guess maybe disastrous isn't the exact word, but it's a failing. It shows that we're failing. And I think that the purpose for Senator Chambers' motion to refer to committee was valid. You know, I think we've done with this piece of legislation what we shouldn't do. And I don't care either how simple the bills were. I just don't think that this is the proper way for us to conduct business in the Legislature. Recognize the fact act we don't have consent calendar as we've had it before and many of these bills probably would have appeared there. But on the other hand, we've been spending a lot of time on priority bills and so we haven't really... the time that we would have used for consent calendar has been used on priority bills so we have been using the time I think judiciously, maybe
not wisely, but at least judiciously. And I would hope that you might have a change of heart and vote for the reconsideration motion. I think it will help move the rest of these hills through the body as we think they should be moved from now on. We are past crunch time. Crunch time happened I think maybe about the 10th of January. But it's time for us to be realistic I think as to what we can accomplish this year and that realism is that we should reconsider this bill, refer it to committee and allow the rest of the committee and senator priority bills to be heard on schedule. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislature, I wonder what the editors whom some of theme senators will be expecting to applaud -them for being critical of me will say about the fact that I was opposed to 13 individual bills being put into one amendment and the Legislature being asked to swallow them. For those of you who care about those things, you got more to worry about than I do. First of all, I don't even care. I don't care what the editors say, I don't care what the reporters write or what they don't write and what they don't get right, you don't expect them to get right, get it right. They don't take what we do any more seriously than we do. So they just come down here, they put in a little time, jot a bit about this, jot a bit about that to make it look like they're earning their money and they're gone. One reason the public doesn't really understand well what the Legislature does is because of the poor reportage. And they're not given much space in their paper or much time on these television shows, I meant these newscasts as they call them. I do want to correct one thing that Senator Dierks had indicated. I had said that I'm offering amendments to all of the committee priority bills because it is a committee that has offended and I asked for a record vote so that I can see which senators like this process and want me to offer the amendments. And I will put amendments on their priority bills, but not every senator's priority bill. This is one time I'm going to use the rifle or laser approach rather than the spotlight, the wide beam or the scatter gun approach. I will put amendments or motions on every committee priority bill. First of all, not much is lost through that because no senator thought that subject was important enough to prioritize.
The individual senators who voted against sending the bill back to committee felt that my offering amendments to their bills was insignificant because they don't care and they'll weather the storm if there's comes up. But there is another thing to consider. There are bills that the Speaker has set aside. What becomes of those? Well, we don't want to consider too much at one time. You can put so much on the plate of even a hungry person that he or she will lose his or her Appetite just because of the overabundance. So I want to deal with this in a manageable fashion. I want to talk again about our rules. The Education Committee can say that there is nothing written in the rule that says you cannot put 13 bills into a committee amendment and they re telling the truth. Senator Schimek had asked where do you draw the line in terms of how many bills would be the allowable number. Senator Schimek, when we were dealing with a rule change that were adoption that would require amendments to be printed in the Journal, we didn't settle on a specific number of pages because you couldn't specify that because one amendment might go slightly over and not so much so that it couldn't be printed so you would try to give guidelines. The Supreme Court has said and others have followed suit when they're dealing with these pornography cases, we may not be able to say in every case what it is by definition in advance, but we know it when we see it. So there might be ...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: ... a situation where a committee, I don't know if this is my third time but I'll be informed by the chair if it is, we would be able to look at the construction of a committee amendment and make a determination and we can each do that on whether we think this is a Christmas tree effect and too many bills are being added. Whatever the magic number is and wherever the line is drawn, 13 bills is not that number and 13 bills crosses the line on the wrong side.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Tyson.
SENATOR TYSON: I caught just the last part of Senator Dierks' remarks and one of the remarks that he had made was that he felt that this was ... this motion to refer to the committee reconsideration was in the nature of a ploy, a ploy on Senator
Chambers' part. And I have to say that I sincerely hope that it is not. Now those of us who voted to return it to committee just a few minutes ago did not fare exceptionally well but contrary to common opinion, I happen to be an optimist. As you know, there are optimists and pessimists and they say the pessimist is a former optimist who has come in contact with reality. But that's neither here nor there. The pessimist considers that his glass is half empty, the optimist that his glass is half full. I look upon this and I am by nature an optimist because a lot of you have commented on my sunny smile, the twinkle in my eye which is actually a glitter, and my generally upbeat approach to everything. I have to think that members of the body as they consider the total ramifications of this bill and the total effect it will have not merely on the subject of the bill but on the other bills that are to come. I think that another vote on this will be successful. But in order to make my point a little more clear, Mr. Speaker, would you inquire of Senator Chambers if he would respond to a couple of questions.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers, would you respond?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Verily, verily, I certainly shall.
SENATOR TYSON: Senator Chambers, I'm a little weak on some of the process here and that's why I have selected a mentor who has been here longer than I, and I'm not going to mention who that is, but in his absence, I wonder if you would tell me this is the according to the ... this is the 47th day, is that correct?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes, that is what I've been told.
SENATOR TYSON: And this is the 60-day session, is that correct?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: I've been told that.
SENATOR TYSON: And if we were to work eight hours a day, a full eight hours every day for the 13 days, would that come to 104 hours?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Hours, yes, 104 hours, it certainly would.
SENATOR TYSON: NOW the 14th of April is the sine die adjournment date, is that correct?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: That's correct.
SENATOR TYSON: So we're probably not going to work eight hours on that day, is that a reasonable assumption?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes, but there is a variable. Some days we will work 12 hours perhaps. I will anyway.
SENATOR TYSON: Okay. The last day which would be, would that be Holy Thursday is our last day prior to that time?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes, and if I have my way, it will go up in holy smoke.
SENATOR TYSON: So we probably may not work eight hours on that day.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: That's probably correct.
SENATOR TYSON: Now let's take 16 hours off the 104.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes.
SENATOR TYSON: Is that 88?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes.
SENATOR TYSON: That is 88 hours. Are we going to work till what, 5:00 or 6:00 tonight?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Midnight.
SENATOR TYSON: Midnight tonight?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes.
SENATOR TYSON: Okay. Would you say that it's probably correct that we have less than 80 hours that can actually be committed to the study and the consideration...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR TYSON: ...the making of judgments on the bills that are remaining us?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Pessimistically and realistically you're probably correct, but optimistically we could squeeze in a few more hours.
SENATOR TYSON: Would you buy my estimate of 80?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes, I will.
SENATOR TYSON: I mean you think that's probably a pretty accurate...
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes, and it might even be on the high side considering the way the legislators get tired.
SENATOR TYSON: Okay. The LB 117S in its current form brought to us by the same wonderful committee that brought us LB 806 last year, would you say that there is a high probability of that bill going to cloture?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: I cna...I know what I'm prepared to do. I don't know what others are prepared to do and what I've prepared to do will take more than eight hours.
SENATOR TYSON: And that's just on where this bill is now on General File.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Certainly.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Time. Senator Chambers, you have spoken three times. Senator Schellpeper.
SENATOR SCHELLPEPER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members. Once again I'm going to rise to probably support the reconsideration of either taking it back or else discussing the individual bills separate. I know that has been discussed also. Some of the bills in 1175 and in this committee amendment I think are very
important bills and they should have been made priority bills but they weren't. My committee, we have several bills in my committee that are very important, they need to pass this year, they're not going to pass. We have already had one bill up that dealt with some horse racing things that have to pass according to the Racing Commission, but it's probably not going to pass. They'll have to just live without it unless we can find some way to get by the logjam. But here we are taking 14 bills, putting them into one bill that's also a committee priority bill that I think needs to be discussed along with all the others and not jump through to try to get priority status for all those other bills. We just took one bill and put in there. We have some amendments that we worked out with the horsemen and, you know, just trying to get that worked out with the horse tracks. But it's not something that's going to be that many different subjects and that many different things that have to happen, and Senator Chambers has a problem with that. So I can see why he has a problem with this like many Of Us do because it's an issue that the more we get into it the more we're going to find out that we don't like it. I think we found that out last year. I had a lot of concern with LB 1228. 1 didn't like it. That's another bill that is the state trying to tell everybody how they're going to run everything with education. And all these bills are designed to we're going to just take it, you'll like it, believe us. Well, I think we found out last year that we don't like some of the things that happened and we just need to try to work things out and discuss things farther, try to go through every issue, each part of every bill and we'll probably get there eventually. But I think the committee, Education Committee, needs to get the message that they are doing something here that nobody else has been able to do this year. And it's probably not a good precedent to get started down that road. Just because we don't have any consent calendar, some of these bills might have been on there because they're probably just technical. But there are some major bills also in this committee amendment that need to be discussed separately. So I think as we go on farther and farther and farther into all of the issues that we need to step back, take a look at this amendment that we just got on our desk this morning to see what's actually in it. We've heard a lot of comments back in the lobby about why we have to have this, we have to have this. Well, there's a lot of bills here that have to have this year,
we have to have this year. Whether we get them or not, that's another thing. The world won't come to an end if we don't get a lot of these things. But I think if we'll, if this body will just work their way through, we'll get through them. We still have a lot of long days left. We can get through it. But we shouldn't be jumping into some things like this. No other committee has put that many bills trying to get a priority status into that many other bills so I think it's something that we shouldn't be doing this afternoon. So I would at this time support the reconsideration. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Tyson.
SENATOR TYSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, members of the body. Mr. Speaker, if you would inquire of Senator Chambers if we could continue our dialogue.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers, would you respond?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes, I shall. Yes, I will. I'll answer any questions.
SENATOR TYSON: Let's see, where were we? We were on about 88 hours...
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Something like that.
SENATOR TYSON: ... and counting.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes.
SENATOR TYSON: Do you feel in your experience, of course, you've only been here 28 years. What do you know?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes, right.
SENATOR TYSON: Do you feel in your experience an a member of this body that there will be some other bills that might be of greater importance than 1175?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Senator Tyson, being the nonjudgmental individual I am, that is something that each person would have
to determine. But I'M sure there are some people who might feel other bills are more important than this one.
SENATOR TYSON: So if we took 88 hours and subtracted 16 hours from them, we're down to is that 62? No, that's 72, I'm sorry...
SENATOR CHAMBERS: It's all right.
SENATOR TYSON: ... 72 hours. I don't believe, Senator Chambers, in being confrontational or combative about these things, and I realize that somewhere I don't know, unjustly, you have gained the reputation that you can be confrontational. 1 certainly don't know where they got that idea, but...
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Nor do I.
SENATOR TYSON: (Laughter) I've noticed your sunny, cheerful, optimistic disposition in the past, Senator.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Thank you.
SENATOR TYSON: Would you say that these other bills requiring a higher priority such as the income tax...
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Well, that's not a high priority for me at all so if you named them I'd tell you what I think.
SENATOR TYSON: No, I realize , what I am saying, I'm not referring to you in this context, Senator.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Oh, okay.
SENATOR TYSON: I'm referring to others in this Chamber who feel that some of the Governor's priority bills may also require some time. Would you say that the income tax would fall into that?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: I would hope the income tax would fall period.
SENATOR TYSON: But it could be... I'm sorry, I used clumsy verbiage. Would you include that on the list of things that may
be of interest to other people?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Oh, definitely.
SENATOR TYSON: Okay. Would you consider the ... something I'm sure you're for and you might like to comment on this and, that would be the half cent sales tax for the city of Omaha. Would you consider that in that list of ...
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Down with the half cent sales tax and Omaha with it.
SENATOR TYSON: How about rural development? Is that of interest?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Well, I don't live in the rural area so, you know, comme ci, comme ca. I
SENATOR TYSON: You're on the Agriculture Committee, Senator. I looked it up.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: But, see, not every doctor will accept every patient being of a mind that not being a cab driver I don't have to accept every fare.
SENATOR TYSON I see. LB 924, the information technology bill, would that be in there?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Well, I can't even work the gadget on my desk 80 it's not too significant to me.
SENATOR TYSON: Well, and, of course, I think Senator Schimek was right and just to chide you on that.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: And I stand well chided.
SENATOR TYSON: But the point that I'm making and I'm using Senator Chambers' experience in this body, there may be the possibility that if this were referred back to committee, if people of good will were on that committee, other interests that might have a hand in coming up with this bill that could be considered by this body, it might go through very, very easily.
If it's an important bill and Senator Bohlke says that it is, if there's a lot of money involved, and various people say that there is, then perhaps a conciliatory...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR TYSON: ... compromising attitude may be better than the take it or leave it approach that has been taken BO far. This has been touted as a technical bill. There is inherent in that description a plea to trust in the expertise of the Education Committee and I'm sure that the people on the Education Committee have that expertise. But when something is thrown in front of you, said, here, you've got five minutes to read, that's only 51 pages, you've got five minutes, ten pages a minute, that's six seconds a page, have at it and then trust us. That is not a fulfillment of the obligation that we undertook when we came down here. A hundred and twenty-five million dollars ...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Time.
SENATOR TYSON: ... on one hand I was told, $45 million on another, trust us. No, I can't do that. I want to know, there's a lot of things here that I rely on other people's expertise and I want to know that the people whose expertise I trust have had a hand in the formulation of it, and I don't have...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Time.
SENATOR TYSON: ... that now. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Robinson announces he has the following guests visiting the Legislature. They are Mary Jo Veskrna, Sydney and Trevor from Blair, also Vicki and Doug Hughes along with Kelsea and Cera-Rose from Lincoln. They are the daughters and grandchildren of former Senator Dennis Rasmussen. I think they're in the north balcony. Would you please stand and be recognized by your Legislature. Senator Dierks.
SENATOR DIERKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and members of the
body. I was just going over this list of senators' priority bills and the committee priority bills that Senator Jensen passed out. If you've had a chance to look at that, you'll see that there is quite a few bills there that have not even been debated on General File yet. Some are still held in committee. I think that some of those, possibly one or two of those, could be coming out. But there are 12 bills there that have not been dealt with on General File. This week we spent two days moving two bills, Monday moving two bills from Select File and another day moving three bills from Select File. If that's any indication of how we're using our time, what's going to happen to these 12 General File bills that haven't even been out here for us to do is to reconsider this vote on Senator Chambers' motion, bring it back to the floor and then support the motion to move it back to committee. We can... I didn't even check on the committee priority bills. There's 15 of them that had no debate and we all think that those are important. We think that they are. We... and I think those committee chairmen think they're important, too. But are we going to jeopardize the rest of those bills because of some action or inaction on our part today with this piece of legislation? It's really time for us to I think come to grips with this, bring this bill back for reconsideration, this motion, and then send the bill back to committee. Thank you very much.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Wehrbein.
SENATOR WEHRBEIN: Question.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: The question has been called. Do I see five hands? Senators, do I see five hands? Okay, I do see five hands. The question before the body is, shall debate cease? All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Have you all voted? Senator Wehrbein, for what purpose do you rise?
SENATOR WEHRBEIN: Request a call of the house, please.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: There's been a request for a call of the house. The question before the body is shall the house go under call? All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Record, Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: 21 ayes, 0 nays to place the house under call.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: The house is under call. Will all unauthorized personnel please leave the floor. Will all unexcused members please return to the legislative Chamber and record your presence. The house is under call. Members, would you please return to the Chamber and record your presence? Senator Bromm, Senator Coordsen, Senator Robak, Senator Elmer, Senator Tyson, the house is under call. Senator Wickersham, Senator Robak, Senator Matzke, the house is under call. Senator Wehrbein has authorized call-in votes. There has been a request for a roll call vote. Senator Wickersham, Senator Matzke, Senator Robak, Senator Willhoft, the house is under call. Senator Wehrbein has authorized us to proceed with the vote. The house is under call. Will members please remain in your seats. Mr. Clerk, call the roll. We are voting on whether to tease debate.
CLERK: (Roll call vote taken. See pages 1223-24 of the Legislative Journal.) 31 ayes, 1 nay to cease debate.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Debate has ceased. Senator Chambers, you are recognized to close on your motion to reconsider the vote to refer to committee.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislature, I've been doing some serious thinking and to show how collegial I am if you all will allow me to accept that vote that you just gave as the vote on my motion, then I will be as reasonable as you are in your offer by accepting it. The way everybody is smiling, maybe they'd do it, but I suspect they wouldn't. Members of the Legislature, you all know good and well that you're not going to challenge me all the way and I know it. But if you do, I can deliver. I don't have anything to lose at all. I have nothing at stake, nothing. And the most formidable and implacable foe that you can have is one whom you have offended and he has nothing to lose. His only aim is to make you lose and make you lose that which you want the most so that's where we are. I can make a bet and if my side comes up losing, I don't have to pay off. But if your side loses, you have to pay. I can't lose. But I lose on this vote and for awhile we'll have
to go through this and just see how far I'm willing to take it. And I will take it all the way to the bitter end if bitter it is. Senator Tyson was trying to tell you all the difference between an optimist and a pessimist by using an analogy of a glass that has a certain amount of liquid in it. He said if the liquid is at the half way mark in that glass, the pessimist will say the glass is half empty, the optimist would say it's half full. And the question that he did not deal with is what would the person say who has no glass at all? See, most people don't consider all of the alternatives. They're accustomed to thinking in a limited way. And because they narrow the alternatives to those they think of, they feel that there are no additional ones, that there always are others. And it's my job since I'm always outnumbered to try to find those others. And I have to find them within the confines of the rules that I always vote against. This motion is going to be taken to a vote because I'm not going to withdraw it. Today I don't yield a centimeter. But who knows after today maybe people will become reasonable. And I deal with people the way they deal with me. If they're rational, reasonable and fair-minded, then I will be rational, reasonable, and fair-minded. But sometimes it takes a while for us to reach that point. Right now we're just kind of having a war of wills, and it's an unequal contest and I feel like a bully. But nevertheless, I can't just let somebody slap me and I just let them slap me. Senator Chris Peterson, I've never struck a woman in anger in my life and people might wonder what I would do if I was attacked when I was younger by a female. I'd frustrate her because first I'd just grab both of her wrists and just hold her. And then if she's going to kick me, then I'd sit down and sit her on my lap and wrap my legs around her ankles and she couldn't, she couldn't kick me, she couldn't get loose. And if she tried to butt me with her head, I'd just sit back too far where she couldn't reach me and that would hurt her more than if I would slap her. Then after she calmed down, I'd let her go and I've never had to hit a woman and she wasn't able to hurt me. So there are different ways to deal with confrontational people and those who would even inflict violence. But now if it's a male...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: ... and he's going to give me a knuckle
sandwich and he lands and doesn't knock me cold, then I think that when somebody does that they'd follow through and they'd want me to treat them in the same way they treated me. So that means if he pops me, he wants me to pop him back and I'd do it. And I've tried to give back everything somebody gives to me with interest, Senator Tyson, to show how much I appreciate their kindness toward me. So I'm willing to-give back what is given to me on the floor of the Legislature with interest. And the interest that I give is based on principal, Senator Tyson. I intend to continue going forward in a good spirit, Senator Cudaback, not being angry with my colleagues.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Time. You've heard the closing. The question before the body is the reconsideration motion of the motion to refer LB 1175 back to Education Committee. All those in favor of reconsidering, vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Have you all voted? There's been a request for a record vote. Have you all voted? Please record.
CLERK: (Read record vote. See page 1224 of the Legislative Journal.) 12 ayes, 17 nays on the motion to reconsider.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: The motion to reconsider fails. The next item, Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: Mr. President, another priority motion, a motion to bracket until April 13 offered by Senator Chambers.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers, you're recognized to open on your motion to bracket.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislature, onward, ever onward to bigger and better things, higher heights, and deeper depths. This gives you all a way out, but I hope you don't take it because I want to see how long Senator Maurstad is going to stay here with me. If you adopt this bracket motion, it has the affect of laying the bill over and it gives you an escape hatch. But what I have to offer, brothers and sisters, are priority motions. And I will not offer a motion to adjourn. Now I could offer a motion to recess for a couple of hours and we would have to take that motion up. It's a priority motion and it's probably one that would take priority over this motion.
So if I get antagonized enough, this may turn into a clinic on motions and maybe we would take a vote on a motion to recess and it would fail. Now I wouldn't make that motion because it might succeed, oh, but if it's a recess we'd have to come back. Maybe somebody would want to reconsider that motion. But in any case, I have to make crystal clear for the record what is going on here. I'm not just serving notice to my colleagues, I'm serving notice to the lobby. They think that they have ways of getting things done, but I know everything that every lobbyist has planned. And I would advise them if they don't want their plans known, don't tell anybody else. And I'll give the quote that Senator Tyson gave me from Stonewall Jackson, if the sleeves of my coat knew my plans, I would burn the coat. So the lobbyist had best not even tell his coat sleeves. But they've been around here a long time. They get information that's supposed to be confidential. Why do they think I will not know? People have ways of trying to get on the good side of me so they tell me things. I can't read minds. I saw where Kreskin, he's called "The Great Kreskin," he contacted the U.S. Justice Department and offered to settle all of this problem that that fellow named Starr with two Rs in his name is trying to do with his grand jury. He said, just let him talk to all these people because he can read people's minds and he'll know right when he talks to them who's telling the truth. And he has guaranteed that any secrets that bear on national security he will not reveal. He will keep those state secrets. That's what "The Great Kreskin" said he would do for the country. And so reporters contacted a spokesman for the White House and asked him, are you going to accept Kreskin's offer which, by the way, he signed "ESPecially yours", with the ESP capitalized. And this spokesman for the White House said, well, he already knows our answer. I guess if he really does ESP he did know. Well, what I'm suggesting here is that lobbyists are not going to run the rest of the days in this Legislature. They may think they are. So if any of you all fall into the slimy, grimy clutches of these lobbyists and think somehow they can guarantee you passage of a bill if you do their work for them, forget it because I'm in a mood now to not let things get by easily that would not have been the case two or three days ago. In fact, yesterday is when it started. Yesterday is when they really got on the fighting side of me. But I didn't offer an amendment on the budget bill today and I didn't comment on it because I had
said that with a cooling off period things could be different and things were different on that bill. I'm not aware as I think about it that I commented on any of the bills that were before us this morning. And then this one came and I could no longer look the other way. So we've got to stay here for a while, for better or for worse. Senator Hillman, it's like those people who are on the lifeboat. We're surrounded by a big ocean. The only way they can get out of my presence is to jump off the lifeboat into the ocean. Would they rather face, face drowning or face the sharks? That's what they have to decide. But I intend to stay here. I intend to hold enough of the legislators here to keep a quorum, or we go home anyway because if we don't have a quorum, we cannot conduct business. I'll hold us here, and I'll make us stay here. After this motion to bracket, I may offer a recess motion which is not debatable, which I can move to reconsider if it fails, or I can move to reconsider if it succeeds. So there are a few more opportunities to keep us here before we plunge into a discussion of the bill itself. If and when we reach that point, I will have something to offer on each division of the amendment. And that will give me more than enough time to run this day off the clock, and run some of my colleagues out of this building. Then, I will be able, as these other bills that are on Final Reading and Select File come up, to go after them. And I'm not going to offer enough amendments or motions on each bill to carry it to cloture. I'm not going to do that. Probably the most motions I will offer on any bill will be four, then that gives me eight opportunities if I would choose to reconsider, which I may not. Maybe I'll mellow out and won't even take those motions at all. Maybe between now and Monday, my spine will open up on one end or the other and all my backbone will drain out and I'll come back here a Jell-O man like my colleagues often are, when the business people tell us what we need to do. Or maybe I'll come back and the bone will be ... will have changed into steel, and I'll be less yielding than I'm prepared to be now. One thing you have on your desk, and you ought to thank Senator Jensen for this, is a listing of all these bills, senators' priorities bills, committee priority bills, and where they're located in the process, so it gives you kind of a heads up, as they say, on the bills that are likely to be targeted. I have to get a copy of the votes by the individual senators to know which individual priority bills I
may choose to offer a motion or two on, just so that they won't feel left out. I never want anybody to feel left out. That would be very unfair, and I don't want to be unfair, but here's what has got to be kept in mind. Today it's a bill with some other bills that we're being told are not controversial, are technical in nature, and maybe all that's true. But as the session moves on, this precedent will be followed. And how are you all going to tell somebody else, when they have a bill with provisions other than these, that they have put together and threatened and bullied and coerced people into voting for, that it ought not to be done because you don't like the provisions? You build a trap that catches yourself ... excuse me. Senator Wesely asked me, was I feeling ill? From ... that's about as long a time as I will suffer an illness. That's about as ill as you'll see me, and that's the longest illness I've had probably in the last ten or 12 years. And I'm... Senator Wesely is happy that I don't get sicker "oftener" or longer. But this is one of those motions, again, that is designed only to take time. Everything that I do today is designed...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: One minute.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: ... only to take time. And the question that needs to be answered is why do I want to take time? This is the softening up process. I will acknowledge what it is. I am doing what is necessary to soften my colleagues up. A farmer knows how to treat the ground if it's very hard, to' put it in the condition where planting can take place. If you throw seed right on top of the hard ground, any little creature that eats seeds will eat it up. So I'm preparing the ground, those hard heads, those hard hearts. I've got to soften them to the point where if water falls, the water of wisdom, it will not just roll off, like water off a duck's back. It will seep in. When the weekend comes upon us, some of what I'm saying...
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Time. The call is raised. For those of you who were concerned about the call not being raised, the Chair has a habit of not interrupting speakers just to raise the call. Senator Cudaback.
SENATOR CUDABACK: Mr. Speaker, members, there used to be a company that would say our most important product is progress.
Well, I think this body should learn from that. Our most important product here is education. I really believe this, sincerely, and if we can't work together to make this come about, well I think there's something wrong with this body. I'd like to ask Senator Chambers a question, please.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers, will you respond to Senator Cudaback?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: I was talking to somebody from another dimension. (laughter)
SENATOR CUDABACK: Me.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Oh.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Would you respond to Senator Cudaback?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Happily. Happily.
SENATOR CUDABACK: Senator Chambers, if this bill were to go back in committee for a day or whatever, and they could come up with some essential parts of the bill, would this body, then, be able to vote those parts up or down? Do you think that'd be possible?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: That's possible without it even going to committee. They don't have to send it to committee to do that but, yes, however they arrived at that point, what you asked could be done.
SENATOR CUDABACK: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes, it could.
SENATOR CUDABACK: They would get together with whomever come up with these essential parts, they'd be...
SENATOR CHAMBERS: As long as it wasn't too many.
SENATOR CUDABACK: Okay. Got ya.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: And here's the way that would work.
SENATOR CUDABACK: Uh-huh.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: They would get three items that they think are very important. That would be maybe they'd offer that as a substitute to the committee amendment or tell them, vote down this committee amendment, and then put that one up. And then that'll be dealt with like a committee amendment. If you like it, you'll vote for it, if you don't you won't. Then in the same way that any bill that is before us, anybody can make an attempt to amend it any way they want to. They could then, if they chose, try to offer any one of these others or all of them individually as amendments to the bill. And if that was the approach they'd taken, I'd argue against it, as an attempt to make a Christmas tree, but I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now.
SENATOR CUDABACK: Okay. Thank you. Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask Senator Bohlke a question, please.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Bohlke, would you respond to a question from Senator Cudaback?
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes.
SENATOR CUDABACK: Senator Bohlke, are all these elements in this bill, are these all essentially ... would they have to pass this year in order to make our system even better? Or some of these could be carried over to the next year's...
SENATOR BOHLKE: Well, I don't know if it's any different than any bill we voted on this whole session.
SENATOR CUDABACK: But there are parts of ... my point is, there are parts of this bill that must be...or must is a loose word, but should be passed this year. Right?
SENATOR BOHLKE: There are some that are of a higher priority than others, Senator Cudaback. And Senator Chambers and I have .had a discussion and as soon as I can get...
SENATOR CUDABACK: Uh-huh. Okay. Good.
SENATOR BOHLKE: ... Senator Chambers off the mike and me off the mike, maybe we can continue to discuss ...
SENATOR CUDABACK: With this conversation, I will ... I will give the rest of my time to Senator Bohlke if she wishes to have it.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Thank you Senator Chambers. I'll give the time back to the chair.
SENATOR CUDABACK: But my point is, for education, if we don't work together, why we're lost. And I think on this one here, if we just kind of get the bodies together that are negotiating here, I think it can be worked out and we... it's a must. Thank you.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislature, Senator Bohlke and I are in that interesting position of trying to find a way to talk to each other without a vote having been taken so that the issue would still be before us without our being about to come together for that purpose. So if somebody is of a mind to speak, I will talk to Senator Bohlke and see what we might be able to do.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Chambers.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: I'll take at this point, so we don't artificially do it, I'll let us stand at ease for 10 minutes.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Okay.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: We'll now resume. Senator Chambers, you are recognized for what purpose?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: To withdraw that bracket motion.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Bracket motion is withdrawn. Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: Well, Mr. President, I believe we're back to consideration of committee amendments. I have a proposed division by Senator Bohlke as chair of the Education Committee.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Bohlke, you have requested a division of the committee amendments. As Chair, I received, I believe, this document from you. It's a proposed 14-segment division. I'm going to hand out, if that is an acceptable division. I've had a chance to review those divisions and, as Chair, I do find the issues divisible. I just want to make sure that this is your request for division of these specific divisions.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, it is, Mr. Speaker.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Senator Bohlke, the Chair is going to rule it's divisible pursuant to the 14 segments. Now what I'd like to do is ask you in which order do you want to take up these various segments and, as we take up each segment, we'll identify those for the record which ones they are and allow you to open on those.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Mr. Speaker. So that I'm going ... you asked which order of these?
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Yes, Senator.
SENATOR BOHLKE: The number one I would ask would be the first. Number two would be the second. Number nine would be the third, and number 10 would be the fourth. And after that, I have no particular preference. It could be as printed.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: Then the chair will take the rest of those in their numerical orders as they are filed, and this is the division as so ordered in that method of chronology of taking up the individual segments.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Correct.
SPEAKER KRISTENSEN: So ordered. Senator Bohlke, you're recognized to open on segment one of the divided committee amendments.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Mr. Speaker, as I had indicated earlier and, well, I will tell the members of the body as we go through this, what I have done in the order is I've had a discussion with Senator Chambers and have identified those that I thought had particular priority to the bill. Those will be the numbers that I indicated number one, number two, number nine and number 10. 1 plan to pass over ... well I won't need to. We'll take up those in that order and, as I understand it, Senator Chambers is agreeable to that. And then it is my intention that I will ask you to vote red on the remainder division... remaining divisions. And so with that, I will open on division one which amends the changes regarding affected school districts in the original bill. The green copy provides that the primary district would have to approve any Class I district reorganization or dissolution. The amendment reduces the number of Class Is subject to the change by providing that only primary districts with 50 percent or more of the Class Is' district valuation. If this division is not adopted, the green copy provisions will remain and every Class I will have to get approval from their primary high school district before they could proceed with any dissolution. This just says they have to get that permission if there is more...if there is 50 percent or .more of their valuation in that primary district. That is the first division, and I will assist in trying to answer any questions.
PRESIDENT ROBAK PRESIDING
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator. Senators, discussion on the first division of the committee amendments. Seeing none, Senator Bohlke to close on the first division. Closing is question before the body is the adoption of the waived. The quest first division of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Have you all voted. Please record.
CLERK: 27 ayes, 0 nays, Madam President, on adoption of the first component of the Education Committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The first division is adopted. The second division, which is page 48, lines 1 and 2, and 6 and 7. Senator Bohlke, to open.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Madam President, members. Division two amends LB 940 into LB 1175. LB 940 was advanced to General File and makes one minor change in the reorganization sections. The first change is to allow up to 90 days rather than the current 60 days, to submit an approved reorganization plan to the votes ... to the voters. A second change in the division amends the green copy by clarifying that restrictions on further voting on a petition should apply to any further action on the petition. That's what the second division does, and I will try to answer any questions you may have.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator Bohlke. Senator Dierks.
SENATOR DIERKS: Thank you, Madam President. I'd like to ask Senator Bohlke about the divisions.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Senator Bohlke, Senator Dierks has a question.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes.
SENATOR DIERKS: The sheet that's handed out, Senator Bohlke, are there 14 divisions?
SENATOR BOHLKE: On the sheet before you? Yes.
SENATOR DIERKS: And this is what we're going to discuss?
SENATOR BOHLKE: No.
SENATOR DIERKS: What are we doing to discuss?
SENATOR BOHLKE: We are going to, as I indicated, discuss number one, number two, number nine, number ten. And it's my intention after that to ask the body to vote red on the remaining divisions.
SENATOR DIERKS: Okay. Thank you. Senator Chambers, please.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Senator Chambers.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: Yes.
SENATOR DIERKS: Is it true that you have decided not to file those amendments to the priority bills?
SENATOR CHAMBERS: I had filed them, then I instructed the Clerk that I want to withdraw them.
SENATOR DIERKS: Thank you. Thank you, Madam.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator. Senator Wesely would like the Health Committee to meet in 2022 ... 2102 right now. Seeing no further discussions, Senator Bohlke to close on the second division. Closing is waived. The question before the body is the adoption of the second provision of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Have you all voted? Please record.
CLERK: 25 ayes, 0 nays on the second component of the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The second division of the committee amendments is adopted. The third division is page 29, line 12 through page 35, and line 24. Senator Bohlke to open on the third division which is numbered nine on your handout.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Correct. Thank you, Madam Presdient and members. This division, two issues that were brought to us, one by Senator Matzke and one by Senator Don Pederson, that clarifies a problem that we had in the extreme remoteness factor, and another for existing criteria for a school qualifying for the sparsity factor. It will allow a few more schools to qualify for the sparsity factor. It... the amendment provide that for local systems qualifying for the extreme remoteness factor, the total adjusted formula of students shall be greater than or equal to 150. The adjustments of the extreme remoteness factor will not be included in the calculation of the average formula cost per student in each cost grouping, but will be included in the calculation of local system formula needs.
The other, Senator Don Pederson pointed out that he had a school district in, I believe it was Lincoln County, Wallace, that was ... did not fit the sparsity category, mainly because North Platte happened to be a population center in that county, which automatically threw Wallace out. This looks at that situation, corrects it, and will allow a few other school districts, I believe, to come into that sparsity category. That's what this division does, and I'll answer any... attempt to answer any ,questions anyone may have.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Are there any questions? Is there any discussion of the third division of the committee amendments? Seeing none, Senator Bohlke, do you wish to close? Closing is waived. The question before you is the adoption of the third division of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Have you all voted? Please record.
CLERK: 25 ayes, 0 nays, Madam President, on adoption of that component of the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The third division of the committee amendments is adopted. The fourth division is page 35, lines 25 through 38, and line 25. It is number ten on your sheets. Senator Bohlke to open.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Madam President and members. The issue addressed here was brought to... one issue was brought to us by Senator Coordsen. The other issue was brought to us by Senator Robinson. These were two errors that happened in their district that had significant impact of aid that the school district received. One was an error that the property tax administrators' administrative office made. The other include ... went to an issue with greenbelting that we tried to solve last year in Senator Robinson's district. This clarifies those and allows us to make those corrections to the school districts. With that, I will try to answer any questions. Thank you.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator Bohlke. Mr. Clerk.
CLERK: Senator Coordsen would move to amend this component.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The Chair recognizes Senator Coordsen to open on his amendment.
SENATOR COORDSEN: Thank you, Madam President and members of the body. As Senator Bohlke indicated, a portion of this section is a bill of mine, LB 1210, which addressed a clerical error in the valuation of two of my school districts, after the certification date happened on December 1, 1997. In order to allow the error to be corrected, and the error won't be corrected and under this language until December 1 certification of... on 1998. But on page 37, line 12, it says, 'Ion or before March 15, 1998". That needs to be changed to "on or before May 15, 1998" and that corresponds with the language in line 23 which says May 31. So the March was changed to May, on line 23 but not on line 12, and it must be changed to line 12 for the State Department of Education to make the necessary adjustments for the error, and when the state aid is certified this coming fall. So with that, I would ask for the adoption of this amendment. Thank you, Senator Coordsen. Senator Chambers.
SENATOR CHAMBERS: That's all right.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Is there any discussion of the Coordsen amendment? Seeing none, Senator Coordsen waives closing. The question before you is the adoption of the Coordsen amendment to the fourth division of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Please record.
CLERK: 25 ayes, 0 nays, Madam President, on adoption of Senator Coordsen's amendment to the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The Coordsen amendment is adopted. Is there any discussion on the fourth division as amended? Seeing none, Senator Bohlke, to close. Closing is waived. The question before you is the adoption of the fourth division of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, opposed vote nay. Have you all voted? Please record.
CLERK: 26 ayes, 0 nays, on the fourth component of the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The fourth division is adopted. We turn now to the fifth division which is number three on your handout, page 49, lines 20-26 and page 50, lines 17-21. Senator Bohlke, to open.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Madam President. On each of these next divisions, it would be the recommendation of the chair of the Education Committee, and I think a number of people that I talked to, other senators who we addressed their issue previously, it would be my recommendation that we would vote red at this time. That's my opening, that's my closing, probably.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator Bohlke. Is there any discussion on the fifth division of the committee amendments? Senator Dierks.
SENATOR DIERKS: Thank you, Madam Chairman. members of the Legislature, actually, Senator Bohlke, now is this ... is this motion to vote red on the rest of the divisions that are on here, or just number three?
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Senator Bohlke.
SENATOR BOHLKE: It is my understanding we have to take each of the divisions and vote upon them.
SENATOR DIERKS: Okay. Thank you.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Is there any further discussion? Seeing none, Senator Bohlke, having waived closing, the question before you is the adoption of the fifth division of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Please record.
CLERK: 0 ayes, 17 nays, Madam President, on adoption of that component.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The fifth component fails. The sixth component is page 1, line 3 through 2 ... through page 2, line 23, and page 38, lines 26 through 41 ... excuse me, page 38, line 26 through page 41, line 18. It is section four on your sheet.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Madam President, members, my recommendation would be the same for this, that we would vote red.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Is there any discussion? Seeing none, the question before you is the adoption of the sixth division of the committee amendments. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Please record.
CLERK: 0 ayes, 17 nays, Madam President, on that component of the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The sixth component fails. The seventh component is page 3, line 11 through page 5, line 26, and page 28, line 16 through page 29, line 11. Senator Bohlke.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Madam President, members. I would recommend voting red.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Is there any discussion? Seeing none, the question before you is the adoption of the seventh division of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Please record.
CLERK: 0 ayes, 17 nays, on adoption of that component of the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The seventh... excuse me... the seventh division fails. The eighth division, page 5, line 27, through page 9, line 19. Senator Bohlke.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Madam President, members. My favorite color remains red.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator. Any discussion? Seeing none, the question before you is the adoption of the eight division of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Please record.
CLERK: 0 ayes, 14 nays, on adoption of that component for the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The eighth component fails. The ninth component, page 19, line 11 through page 24, line 16. Senator Bohlke.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Madam President, members. I recommend we vote red.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Is there any discussion? Seeing none, the question before you is the adoption of the ninth division of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those oppose vote nay. Please record.
CLERK: 0 ayes, 16 nays, on the adoption of that component of the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The ninth component fails. The tenth division, page 24, line 17 through page 28, line 15. Senator Bohlke.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Madam President, members. I recommend voting red.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Is there any discussion? Seeing none, the question before you is the adoption of the tenth division of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Please record.
CLERK: 0 ayes, 13 nays, on adoption of that component of the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The tenth division fails. Eleventh division, page 41, line 19 through page 43, line 8. Senator Bohlke.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Madam President, members. I recommend voting red.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Is there any discussion? Seeing none, the question before you is the adoption of the eleventh division of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Please record.
CLERK: 0 ayes, 15 nays, on adoption of that component of the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The eleventh component fails. The twelfth component, page 43, line 9 through page 44, line 3. Senator Bohlke.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Madam President, members. I recommend voting red.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Is there any discussion? Seeing none, the question before you is the adoption of the twelfth amendment ... twelfth division of the committee amendment to LB 1173. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Please record.
CLERK: 0 ayes, 13 nays, on that component of that component of the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The twelfth amendment ... twelfth division fails. The thirteenth division, page 45, line 9 through page 47, line 18. Senator Bohlke.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Madam President and members. I recommend voting red.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Is there any discussion? Seeing none, the question before you is the adoption of the thirteenth division of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Please record.
CLERK: 0 ayes, 10 nays, on adoption of that component of the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The thirteenth division fails. The fourteenth division, all remaining portion of the committee amendment. Senator Bohlke.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Madam President, members. Senator Chambers, the fourteenth division here that is as you read, legal counsel pointed out, is really the technical one, is to... it is not a bill. It's an amendment like the first
instance. If... I see you shake your head, yes, because it is truly technical, I would like to go ahead and take that up. Thank you. Senator Chambers indicates that he has no objection. This really is the very, very technical part of the bill and I would recommend voting green.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator Bohlke. Is there any discussion? Seeing none, the question before you is the adoption of the fourteenth division of the committee amendments to LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Have you all voted? Please record.
CLERK: 25 ayes, 0 nays, Madam President, on adoption of that component of the committee amendments.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The fourteenth and final division of the committee amendments is adopted.
CLERK: Senator Schimek, I now have an amendment from you, but I have a note that you want to withdraw AM3820, Senator.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Is that correct, Senator?
SENATOR SCHIMEK: That is correct.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: It is withdrawn.
CLERK: I have nothing further pending of the bill at this time.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: The Chair... Senator Dierks.
SENATOR DIERKS: Thank you, Madam President and members of the body. One of the reasons that my interest has been involved here with this piece of legislation and that I have been trying to keep it from advancing is that I have a concern about a piece of legislation that I have in Education Committee, and it was not dealt with other than to have a hearing. And it was not one of those that was privileged to be on this bill as part of the cleanup. It's about LB 1331, and I want for this to be on the record. LB 1331 was an answer to some of the problems we found with LB 806 last year. LB 806 took away budget authority for Class I school districts. LB 1331 restores that authority. We
continue in this body to look with disfavor and disdain on the very rural schools of our state. These are the schools that produce some of the finest students that we have. Percentage-wise, no other school can compare with them. I don't care whether you're from Omaha or Ewing, or where you're from, you can't compare with the education these youngsters get in those Class I schools. It just doesn't happen. And yet, we period...we've just consistently gone about destruction of those schools. And with last year's bill, 806, we took their budget authority away and just another step to destroying that fine little piece of education facility we have in this state. And yet, when I bring this bill ... when I brought this bill to committee, and we had an excellent hearing schedule. I mean, we had a great number of people down in support of the bill, it received no consideration as far as coming to the floor. It wasn't advanced, it didn't get any particular attention as far as the cleanup bill is concerned. There are a couple of other bills in there, I think, had the same fate, but this one is particularly interesting to me because it looks to me like, again today, we go ahead and we look ... we look ahead to...to the philosophy that the Class Is, and maybe the Class IIs and IIIs, are undesirable. They don't fulfill the will of certain philosophy as present in this body, and I have problems with that. We have an opportunity about once a year to help straighten some of this out, and this year it's getting away from us. I really have... I wish I could take each of you to the Class I schools in my district. There are several there, and everyone of them do a quality job of educating. There isn't one that fails. Their attendance rate is excellent. Those children all come from farm and ranch backgrounds, and they have a great desire to learn. They have a great work ethic, they know exactly what they have to do to make a go of it in this life. They haven't ... they haven't found the reason to be doubtful or distrusting yet, the students haven't. They haven't just faced it, like their parents have. We have an opportunity again this year to correct that very terrible wrong we did last year, and I was hoping this might be the instrument that we could do that with. I don't have as many problems with this piece of legislation now since some of those bills were stricken, but I do have... I do have the urge to keep you informed that all is not well in rural Nebraska, and we are not making it well with this piece of legislation. And we are again here, providing
some redrafting of the affiliation bill without a proper affiliation bill hearing, and I have problems with that. We need to somehow come to grips with the needs ...
PRESIDENT ROBAK: One minute.
SENATOR DIERKS: ... of these Class I schools. We Just need to do that. LB 1331 was a vehicle that would take care of that, but that hasn't been deemed necessary as far as the philosophy is concerned on Education Committee to come out of committee and help ... help solve their problems. I ... I wish...thank you, Madam President.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator Dierks. Senator Bohlke.
SENATOR BOHLKE: Yes, Madam President and members. My first reaction in hearing Senator Dierks' opening was to just not saying anything. Then as he proceeded on, I thought it was necessary, beings it is a public record, for the record to clarify a number of things that were said. First of all, that this body complete ... continues to hold Class I schools in disdain, I think, is not at all true. We are, as far as I know, the only state in the country that recognizes sparsity and very sparsity in a special manner for schools, and takes that into consideration, to direct funds to those small Class I schools for the first time in the history of this state. I think before we have all said that the bill previously was in reaction to 806, to limited funds that we had available to schools. Never once did you hear me talk about not having quality education in Class I schools. Clearly, that is on the record a number of times. And the last that he, Senator Dierks, was upset that his bill wasn't on this. I said that we tried to keep it technical and noncontroversial. He knows that there was controversy on his bill. In fact, Senator Dierks never came to me, never asked me why the committee wasn't voting it out. I had no conversation with Senator Dierks about it, and so the other senators who came to me and asked me about particular issues that were important to them... of course they were not controversial ... we did manage to work it in the bill. And in fact, if you will notice, those were the very divisions that were amended on to the bill. And so, for all of us who voted for LB 806 and realized that it was very difficult, I think it's
very unfair to say that we would ever hold Class I schools in disdain. I hold them in very high regard. I think that there is quality education in all of our schools across Nebraska, and it was simply, as you know, a matter of property tax relief that people had wanted through 1114 and 299, that we had to come up with a way to direct funds to the schools of Nebraska that, with funds, certainly not about the quality of education in Class Is, certainly about what we could afford to do and where we could afford to send those state dollars, and certainly, as we can see, left it up to local control for those schools to vote outside the levy limit if they wished to continue to operate as they wish. That was never ... we did not do anything to prevent the schools that you've read about, from doing that and holding that election. And so, I, as chair of the Education Committee, I feel a commitment to stand up, and for the reputation of the committee, and certainly for the reputation of the entire body, when someone says that we hold Class Is in disdain. We certainly don't. We think they do a wonderful job, that quality education goes on. It was simply a matter, with limited dollars, we had to make choices as to where we could direct those dollars. Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: Thank you, Senator Bohlke. Seeing no further lights, Senator, do you wish any additional closing? Closing is waived. The question before you is the advancement of LB 1175. All those in favor vote aye, all those opposed vote nay. Have you all voted? Please record.
CLERK: 26 ayes, 2 nays, on the advancement of LB 1175, Madam President.
PRESIDENT ROBAK: LB 1175 advances. Mr. Clerk, items for the record.