Hunt, Cavanaugh threaten to ‘burn’ next session as Speaker Arch defends procedures

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Some lawmakers promised on Wednesday to “burn” next year’s legislative session to the ground following an intense day at the Nebraska State Capitol.

Sens. Megan Hunt and Machaela Cavanaugh made the comments on Twitter after legislators spent hours debating abortion and gender-affirming health care on Tuesday.

The Let Them Grow Act, a bill aimed at banning gender-affirming surgeries for minors was combined with a 12-week abortion ban. Senators then advanced it to the final round of debate.

“It’s not over at all,” Hunt declared. “The 60 day session next year is burned too.”

About an hour later, Cavanaugh sent her own tweet: “12 days this session and 60 next year. I play for keeps and I keep my word. BURN. IT. TO. THE. GROUND.”

Sen. Jen Day criticized supporters of the bill who left the chamber through a back way, calling them cowards.

But Sen. Julie Slama said they didn’t have a choice because “a mob of hundreds of angry protesters” was filling the rotunda.

Don’t you dare get up here and spout about cowardice,” she said.

Opponents of the bill criticized how procedures and rules were implemented during the debate.

One concern some senators had was how the time for debate was handled when cloture was invoked. 

But Speaker John Arch said he has been consistent and transparent on rules. 

“Those people that are standing up today and yesterday and saying we just change the rules anytime we want to change them — not true,” Arch said. “Absolutely not true. But what is happening is the pushing of the use of rules that have never been used for that purpose.”

Nonpartisan Nebraska says there were unprecedented decisions on procedure that could harm the Legislature in the future. 

“It’s very important that lawmakers stop thinking about the immediate results of these rulings and pay attention to the long-term process that we have in the Unicameral,” Executive Director Nathan Leach said. 

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