BEATRICE – Should there be a limit on the number of legislative bills Nebraska lawmakers can introduce in a session?
That’s one of the legislative rule change proposals that was being debated at the end of the week. An amended rule by Senator Ben Hansen limits each lawmaker to 16 bills…with a 10-bill limit for committees.

Some senators this session have brought upwards of 30 bills for consideration. Senator John Cavanaugh opposes a limit on bills, fearing that if a limit goes into effect, it becomes a floor…not a cap.

"I think I had 15 bills this year, which is one less than we're talking about, and Senator Bostar has somewhere in the 30s. If we had this rule, it could be that Senator Bostar would come to me and say, hey...I've got another good idea and I don't have any space...will you take it? And, I would most likely say yes, because I had room. My point is...that you're trying to solve a problem and the solution being proposed may actually, in fact, exacerbate the problem. It might make it worse."

Cavanaugh said if every senator this session introduced 16 bills, the overall number would actually be more than the number that have been introduced during this year’s ten-day introduction period. That doesn’t count committee-introduced bills.

Some lawmakers fear limiting the number of bills they can introduce only increases the influence of lobbying interests and the administrative branch…and takes away the power of individual citizens to have a bill introduced. There was also concern expressed that the limit will result in larger packages that contain many bills.

There would be no limit on bills that could be brought by the governor after the ten-day introduction period.  In the end, lawmakers approved the limits on a 32-9 vote.  They also adopted an amendment, on a 26-8 vote....that raises the cap to 20 bills per senator, beginning with the 2025 legislative session.