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Government inaction: Nebraska lawmakers stymied by filibusters

Nebraska lawmakers have done a whole lot of talking, but not much legislating as they approach the halfway mark of their 60-day session.

So far, they’ve racked up two filibusters, two threatened filibusters and countless headaches.

While Nebraskans love their unique, one-house, nonpartisan Legislature, it has its downsides, such as its propensity to launch filibusters for less-than-earth-shattering causes.

Take this session: so far, lawmakers have had four attempted or successful filibusters on bills that would allow volunteer crime fighters to use flashing amber lights on vehicles, repeal the motorcycle helmet law, ban novelty lighters and go to a winner-take-all electoral vote.

By tradition, not rule, a bill must get eight hours of debate before lawmakers vote on cloture to cut off first-round debate on the floor. That’s a lot of time talking about whether novelty lighters could be mistaken for toys.

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