Senator calls for unicameral to take action on economic crisis, not “cable news clickbait” legislation

“Day 33 of the legislative session and we still haven’t done a single thing to address our economic crisis."
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 12:58 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2023 at 1:05 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Nebraska Unicameral adjourned for the day Thursday after a filibuster by Omaha Senator Machaela Cavanaugh didn’t allow any of the bills on the agenda to move forward.

Cavanaugh said she was filibustering because the first bill on the agenda was introduced by Senator Kathleen Kauth, also of Omaha, who is also behind the Let Them Grow Act, which would make gender-affirming care for transgender kids illegal.

“I don’t want to let her bills pass,” Cavanaugh said. “I know it’s mean but so are the bills she’s introducing. I’ll be petty on behalf of our children.”

This filibuster came less than a day after both the Let Them Grow Act and Senator Joni Albrecht’s Heartbeat Bill banning abortions after about six weeks gestation both passed out of the Health and Human Services Committee in 4-2 votes.

Cavanaugh called the bills “cable news clickbait legislation” modeled after other states and not in response to real issues Nebraskans are facing.

“Day 33 of the legislative session and we still haven’t done a single thing to address our economic crisis and how our low-income wage earners are suffering in this state,” Cavanaugh said. “But we have done a lot to talk about and address how to hurt our most vulnerable populations, how to attack public health writ large.”

One example Cavanaugh gave of this is a lack of action on expanding eligibility to the state’s Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides cash funds for families in need.

She said the state has $130 million in the TANF fund that hasn’t been used and could be going to help families.

“Your constituents are experiencing economic hardship and their legislature is not taking any action to expand eligibility to get those dollars out to people to help may for essential needs,” Cavanaugh said. “The cost of eggs, milk, gasoline, bread, everything is going up and we are sitting on money that could be helping needy children.”

10/11 Now reached out to Senator Kauth for a response to what Cavanaugh said about the Let Them Grow Act as well as Cavanaugh mentioning Kauth in her reason for filibustering.

“Unfortunately, Senator Machaela Cavanaugh does not practice the professionalism and respect for her colleagues that she demands for herself,” Kauth said. “The Let Them Grow Act, LB 574, is designed to protect children who are dealing with gender dysphoria from engaging in experimental, irreversible and harmful interventions that have life-altering ramifications. Children’s brains have not fully developed even by age 19 they cannot process the impact of these interventions.”