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Convention of states proposal gains second life in Nebraska Legislature

Convention of states proposal gains second life in Nebraska Legislature

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The Legislature on Wednesday revived a resolution supporting a convention of the states to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Senators returned it to the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, which promptly advanced it to the floor for consideration next year.

The proposal, Legislative Resolution 14, introduced by Sen. Steve Halloran of Hastings, had disappeared from the legislative agenda last month when a motion to pull it out of the committee for consideration failed on a 23-14 vote, falling short of the 25 votes required.

The resolution had been trapped in the committee when a motion to send it to the floor received a 4-2 vote, one count short of the required majority.

But Sen. John McCollister of Omaha, a member of the committee, provided the fifth vote Wednesday after Halloran voted for McCollister's motion to override Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto of his measure, Legislative Bill 108, expanding eligibility for federal food assistance.

The veto override was approved on a 30-19 vote, with 30 votes required to be successful. 

Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk offered the successful motion to breathe new life into the convention of the states proposal, arguing that he would like to "see the people of Nebraska get an up or down vote" on the measure.

Speaker Mike Hilgers of Lincoln opposed the motion, suggesting that "if we lose, it's over; it's done" and warning that revival of the proposal now would "open a Pandora's box" for similar legislative maneuvers in the future.

Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln said Wednesday's action "would set a dangerous precedent."

"Just introduce it again next year," Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha said.

Included in the call for a constitutional convention are proposals to consider amendments to place fiscal restraints and limitations on the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.

The proposal is supported largely by conservative state senators.


Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSdon

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