Cavanaugh to pull back on Nebraska Unicameral filibuster

The state senator from Omaha said she reached an agreement with the Speaker of the Legislature.
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 10:33 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh is taking a break from her filibuster.

The Omaha lawmaker informed the Legislature on Thursday that she had made an agreement with State Sen. John Arch of La Vista, who is also the Speaker of the Legislature.

Nebraska State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha
Nebraska State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha

Cavanaugh has been filibustering LB574, a bill introduced by State Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Omaha that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth, for the past few weeks.

A spokesperson from her office confirmed with 6 News on Thursday that while Cavanaugh was pushing for LB574 to be pulled altogether, she had agreed to stop her filibuster if Arch scheduled debate on the bill.

Arch said Thursday that debate over the bill has been scheduled for the earliest possible date: Tuesday morning. Calling this the second-best option, Cavanaugh’s spokesperson said they expect the bill to go to cloture midmorning next Thursday.

She won’t continue her filibuster if the bill dies.

Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature John Arch discusses the 108th legislative session thus far.
Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature John Arch discusses the 108th legislative session thus far.(KNOP)

Cavanaugh has vowed to filibuster every bill for the rest of the session — meaning she can stall for eight hours at a time. Thursday’s session would have found her filibustering a bill put forward by her brother, State Sen. John Cavanaugh of Omaha.

Thursday’s news on the agreement comes a day after a dust-up over Cavanaugh’s characterization of passing LB574 as akin to genocide, prompting State Sen. Julie Slama of Sterling to propose censuring Cavanaugh, though the matter was not further pursued.

Earlier this week, Arch told senators to be prepared for late nights starting at the end of the month as there are a number of bills that still haven’t gone before a committee. A night schedule was expected to be issued on Thursday.

Committee hearings wrap up a week from Friday.

This is a developing story. Stay with 6 News for details.

Assistant News Director Cassie Crowe and Digital Director Gina Dvorak contributed to this report.