Nebraska Hasn’t Passed a Bill This Year Thanks to Mega-Filibuster

  • A Nebraska state senator has filibustered every bill in this year’s legislative session.
  • State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh is doing so in opposition to an anti-trans bill, The Washington Post reported.
  • The bill would ban medical care and gender-affirming surgery for transgender youth in the state.

A Nebraska state lawmaker has embarked on a series of filibusters in protest of an anti-transgender law conservative lawmakers are aiming to pass, stalling all bills in the current legislative session.

Democratic state Senator Machaela Cavanaugh has filibustered every bill since the start of 2023, signaling her opposition to a bill that would ban gender-affirming surgery for transgender youth under the age of 19 that is on the legislative agenda, according to The Washington Post.

The Nebraska state legislature is on track to debate just 30 of the 820 bills that were introduced this session, and Cavanaugh — the first Nebraska state senator to adopt the blanket filibuster strategy — is showing no sign of folding, per the Post.

“This bill legislates hate and targets trans youth,” Cavanaugh told The Post.

The bill, LB574, would bar puberty blockers, gender-affirming surgeries, and hormone therapy for young people. 

In Nebraska’s 49-member Unicameral legislature, 33 votes are necessary to end a filibuster. So far, there have not been enough supporters. 

“I will burn this session to the ground over this bill,” Cavanaugh told her colleagues in a February session, according to the Post. “I have nothing but time, and I am going to use all of it.”

Cavanaugh’s protest filibuster is also blocking five other anti-trans bills, as well as a bill that would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, but she said that her priority is LB574. 

“The dream would be for the bill to die and for us to move forward with the work of the state,” Cavanaugh told the Post.

Senator Kathleen Kauth, who introduced LB574, told the Post that lawmakers were ready to have “debates all night” in order to find ways around Cavanaugh’s protest filibuster. 

Nebraska is just one of many states currently dealing with the nationwide push to legislate the types of medical care trans people can receive.

The American Civil Liberties Union tracker of anti-trans bills in the 2023 legislative session has so far identified 273 bills, many of which are concentrated in Republican states like Texas and Florida.

Seven state legislatures have so far passed bills that would restrict medical care recommended by medical professionals for transgender youth. Recently, Republicans in the Kentucky legislature passed a bill that would restrict gender-affirming care for youth, as well as force doctors to de-transition youth already medically transitioning. The ACLU of Kentucky called it the “worst anti-trans bill in the nation.”

In Florida, where similar legislation is being proposed, experts told Insider’s Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert and Katie Balevic that these bills will have a detrimental impact on trans youth, and seek to “erase them from public life entirely.”

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