Nebraska senators maintain status quo on filibusters

January 22, 2019 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers aren’t likely to make any changes this year to rules that determine how long senators can mount a filibuster to block bills they oppose.

A proposal to change the legislative rule was withdrawn Tuesday after lawmakers debated the issue. The proposal would have guaranteed a collective 10 ½ hours of extended debate during three rounds of consideration on each bill.

Some senators say legislative speakers need the flexibility to determine the length of debate, a practice that’s been in place for decades.

The number of filibusters has surged in recent years, raising concerns that Nebraska lawmakers aren’t using their time efficiently even though many senators say they’re critical to protect minority rights.

Some senators note that Nebraska’s one-house Legislature doesn’t have a second chamber to counter its actions.