Monday, 24 Jun 2024

I am a substantial roadblock: a Nebraska state senators filibuster for trans rights

I am a substantial roadblock: a Nebraska state senators filibuster for trans rights


I am a substantial roadblock: a Nebraska state senators filibuster for trans rights

When state senator Machaela Cavanaugh set out to block every bill brought by the Nebraskan legislature this session, it was kind of an accident.

She was so incensed by the advancement of LB 547, a bill looking to block gender-affirming healthcare for young people in Nebraska, she promised to hold up every single bill the legislature brought - including those she agreed with - unless her colleagues agreed to drop it.

If the bill continued to progress, she told her colleagues, she would "burn the legislative session to the ground".

That was 23 February. Ten weeks later, Cavanaugh has spent some several hundred hours speaking on the house floor at length, delaying every single bill the senate tries to pass.

Sometimes she has filibustered bills that she would really rather be passing, like one agreeing on state senator salaries - a mere $12,000 a year - which, if she agreed to it, would mean she could get paid. She has filibustered till her lungs became sore; taken naps on her office floor between filibustering; she's filibustered so much she's barely seen her family.

"I imagine when session is over I will sleep a lot for several days. I'm so exhausted," Cavanaugh told the Guardian in a phone interview, her voice hoarse.

She added: "It wasn't a deeply thought out plan, it was just the tool I have available to me." Nebraska's legislature is technically non-partisan, though each lawmaker identifies either as Republican or Democrat, and that swing is currently in favor of the Republicans, 32-17.

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