Democracy should work in Nebraska

Nebraska's nonpartisan Unicameral is a refreshing relief from partisan trickery and gridlock in Washington. For generations, Nebraskans have put good governance ahead of party loyalty, with legions of state Senators crossing political and ideological lines to find solutions to challenges facing the state.

The recent debate over a bill to provide health insurance coverage to an estimated 54,000 low-income, working Nebraskans is stalled after an unusual display of petty politics and opposition stall tactics.

The bill, LB 577, represents a compromise that has the support of a clear majority of state Senators - Democrats, Republicans and Independents. The bill’s lead sponsor is a Republican, and a recent poll showed that 55% of Nebraska adults support the expansion of Medicaid as provided by LB 577.

Sensing strong support in the Legislature and across the state, opponents have taken the unusual step of filibustering the bill, demanding a supermajority of 33 votes to cut off debate and refusing to allow an up or down vote on the issue.

Nebraskans send 49 Senators to Lincoln to make decisions, not just when it is easy, not just when it is popular, but when the stakes are high and the outcome controversial. And we call on them now to let LB 577 have a fair vote. A handful of Senators should not stand between a majority of Nebraskans’ desire to provide health care coverage to over 54,000 of our low-income, working friends, neighbors and family members.