'It was a mockery': Senator Steve Halloran hopes rule changes will clean up last year's unique legislative session
HASTINGS, Neb. – Last year's legislative session saw plenty of high energy and controversial bills hit the floor as senators overcame filibusters to pass a 12-week abortion ban, a bill to ban gender altering procedures for people 19 years and under, and a bill allowing concealed carry of weapons in Nebraska.
It’s safe to say no one thought 2023 would be the most notorious legislative session in recent memory.
"I think last year if you would've interviewed and asked me that question, I would not have predicted last year would've turned out like it did." said District 33 Senator Steve Halloran.
Senator Halloran represents District 33 in Hastings, and is one of thirteen senators who will be term limited after serving back to back terms after the conclusion of this 60-day session starting on Wednesday.
Senators can run for more than two terms, but must wait four years after serving consecutive terms.
He’s passed 12 bills in his seven years as senator, but Halloran will be more focused on making sure future sessions in the legislature don’t end up like last year.
"Part of my goal, part of our goal, a number of us senators going into the next session, is to look at some rule changes," said Halloran. "Some of the changes we're suggesting will take some of the load off the shoulders of the Speaker (of the legislature) on whether or not, for example, to have cloture in the filibuster, and put it back to the body for a vote of whether or not we should end the filibuster."
His other focus, along with other senators will be to reduce or eliminate property taxes.
You may have heard of the EPIC option by now, which launched in November. EPIC would eliminate all property, income, and corporate taxes, and be replaced with a consumption tax on all services and new goods at a rate below 8%.
Due to the nature of the bill, it likely won’t be passed in the legislature prompting Halloran and other supporters to get signatures to get the proposition on a future ballot for Nebraska voters.
"Us being a unicameral, a one house system... the second house, being the voters, would allow the second house to have that issue on the ballot and let them decide, since we in the legislature sit on our hands on that issue." said Halloran.
After the 60-day session is over, Halloran says he has the next chapter of his life lined up.
"I've got a special interest group that's been lobbying for my attention for the last seven years," said Halloran. "That's my grandkids. So I intend to give that special interest a lot more attention."
Senators will first meet on Jan. 3, and the last day of the 108th Nebraska legislature is scheduled for April 18.