The Legislature appeared headed Wednesday toward potential agreement on compromise legislative and congressional redistricting plans after an initial impasse threatened to abruptly end its special session with a failure to act.
Speaker Mike Hilgers of Lincoln expressed optimism that the Redistricting Committee will be able to reach some kind of consensus on compromise proposals in time for debate to begin on a congressional redistricting plan on Friday.
"I am very confident that we can get this across the finish line," he said.
Hilgers said he hopes to see consensus agreement on revised legislative and congressional plans by late Thursday. The speaker would like to schedule initial floor debate on a congressional plan on Friday.
Although members of the Legislature are elected on a nonpartisan ballot, they gravitate into Republican and Democratic camps when redistricting appears on the agenda every 10 years.
The original proposals submitted by the Republican majority of the committee have been trapped by filibusters after daylong floor debates, with the resulting deadlock prompting Hilgers to warn his colleagues that the Legislature might need to adjourn its special session without agreement and wait to tackle redistricting at its regular session beginning in January.
People are also reading…
Hilgers huddled with members of the Redistricting Committee in the speaker's office after conclusion of Wednesday's morning session and emerged with a positive impression that negotiations are making progress.
Describing the meeting as "very collegial and focused," he said "everyone wants to get this done" while also recognizing that "nothing is easy in this process."
Earlier, two key senators engaged in the negotiations confirmed that progress is being made, but declined to be quoted or identified, recognizing the sensitivity of discussions that are still underway.
Hilgers said some senators "worked into the night" on Tuesday, adjusting boundaries of proposed legislative and congressional districts that had been contained in separate proposals previously offered by the five Republican and four Democratic members of the committee.
"I know they're making progress," Hilgers said, "but there's not agreement yet."
However, he said, "there is a spirit of negotiation and compromise."
Senators recognize "the repercussions of not getting it done" during the special session, Hilgers said.
Waiting until the regular legislative session that begins in January would disrupt the 2022 election year, probably delaying the primary election that is scheduled in May.
Meet the Nebraska state senators
Nebraska's state senators
State Sen. Julie Slama, District 1
State Sen. Robert Clements, District 2
State Sen. Carol Blood, District 3
State Sen. Robert Hilkemann, District 4
State Sen. Mike McDonnell, District 5
State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, District 6
State Sen. Megan Hunt, District 8
State Sen. John Cavanaugh, District 9
State Sen. Wendy DeBoer, District 10
State Sen. Terrell McKinney, District 11
State Sen, Steve Lathrop, District 12
State Sen, Justin Wayne, District 13
State Sen. John Arch, District 14
State Sen. Lynne Walz, District 15
State Sen. Ben Hansen, District 16
State Sen. Joni Albrecht, District 17
State Sen. Brett Lindstrom, District 18
State Sen. Mike Flood, District 19
State Sen. John McCollister, District 20
State Sen. Mike Hilgers, District 21
State Sen. Mike Moser, District 22
State Sen. Bruce Bostelman, District 23
State Sen. Mark Kolterman, District 24
State Sen. Suzanne Geist, District 25
State Sen. Matt Hansen, District 26
State Sen, Anna Wishart, District 27
State Sen. Patty Pansing Brook, District 28
State Sen. Eliot Bostar, District 29
State Sen,.Myron Dorn, District 30
State Sen. Rich Pahls, District 31
State Sen. Tom Brandt, District 32
State Sen. Steve Halloran, District 33
State Sen. Curt Friesen, District 34
State Sen. Raymond Aguilar, District 35
State Sen. Matt Williams, District 36
State Sen. John Lowe, District 37
State Sen. Dave Murman, District 38
State Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, District 39
State Sen. Tim Graget, District 40
State Sen. Tom Briese, District 41
State Sen. Mike Groene, District 42
State Sen. Tom Brewer, District 43
State Sen. Dan Hughes, District 44
State Sen. Rita Sanders, District 45
State Sen. Adam Morfeld, District 46
State Sen. Steve Erdman, District 47
State Sen. John Stinner, District 48
State Sen. Jen Day, District 49
Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @LJSdon