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Amendments to Guide Legislative Process Introduced

Speaker Arch Sets Nonpartisan Tone on Rule Changes


January 3, 2024

Kearney, NE—On the first day of the Nebraska Unicameral’s second, 60-day session, Speaker of the Legislature, John Arch, has introduced a package of 21 rule changes that set the stage for a healthy debate amongst Nebraska lawmakers. Mostly technical in nature, the changes are broken down into “technical corrections,” “codifying precedents,” and “process improvements.”

To amend their rules, Nebraska lawmakers require a three-fifths majority vote (30 out of 49 members). These amendments must first be approved by the Legislature's five-member Rules Committee and scheduled for debate by the Speaker. This process is distinct from that at the start of a new Legislature in odd-numbered years, where rule proposals can be directly introduced on the floor. This procedural distinction ensures a more structured approach to rule amendment outside of the new Legislature's commencement.

A public hearing for the proposed rule changes is scheduled, with a minimum notice of three days. The hearing is expected to take place on Monday, January 8th, with specific details regarding the time and location to be announced later. This hearing will provide an opportunity for public input on the proposed amendments.

This year's debate on rule changes in the Nebraska Legislature is expected to be more concise compared to the extensive discussion in 2017. The Chair of the Rules Committee, Sen. Steve Erdman’s suggestion that the debate might extend to the full 60-day session is seen as unlikely since there are no mandatory changes required at this juncture. In contrast, the 2017 session saw a significant portion devoted to establishing permanent rules. Any additional changes post-adoption of the permanent rules will be scheduled for debate at the discretion of the Speaker, allowing for a more streamlined process this session.

Nonpartisan Nebraska supports changes to the rules that are fair, supported by lawmakers from across the political spectrum, seem likely to improve the legislative process, and are consistent with parliamentary law.

Nonpartisan Nebraska is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit founded in 2020. Currently operated by volunteers, the organization’s mission is to preserve the nonpartisan structure of the Nebraska Legislature through public education and political science, historical, and parliamentary procedure research focused on Nebraska’s unique one-house legislature.

Nathan Leach 

Phone: (308) 627-8111

A .pdf version of this press release for printing or downloading is available here.




Hartley Burr Alexander | Nebraska State Capitol

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