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STEVE ERDMAN: Special session was needed

STEVE ERDMAN: Special session was needed

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Over the past several weeks I have received numerous emails encouraging me to help the governor call for a special session to deal with the vaccination mandate problem. As you may know, the governor had asked the Legislature to show 33 senators who were in support of a special session before making that call, but the Legislature could only produce 28 senators in favor of calling for a special session.

State Sen. Steve Erdman, District 47

State Sen. Steve Erdman

District: 47

From: Bayard

Party: Republican

What is not understood by many is that the governor has the authority to call for a special session of the Legislature on his own whenever he feels it is necessary to deal with a specific issue. So, the reality of the situation is that the governor may still call for a special session without any of the senators signing on to the Legislature’s petition, which has now expired.

Gov. Ricketts had originally said that it was important to show that 33 senators were in support of a special session before he would call for one. The reason he gave was to override a potential filibuster. However, there was no guarantee that a filibuster would have occurred. A filibuster may not have been imminent. Today no one knows whether a filibuster would have ever happened. Without a filibuster, it only takes 25 votes to pass a bill, and we had 28 Senators tentatively already on board. So, the governor held our personal liberties and our constitutional rights in the balance in order to avoid a filibuster.

Because we are coming into an election year, I find it difficult to believe that very many of our State Senators would have filibustered a bill designed to protect our personal liberties and constitutional rights. To be clear, these vaccine mandates are not just about preventing a disease. This is about compromising our personal liberties and constitutional rights. This time it may seem like it is only about a harmless vaccination, but what other constitutional rights are you willing to give up for the sake of government control and total compliance? Positions about vaccinations are not the real issue here. If an individual wants to be vaccinated, he or she has every right to do so. No one is stopping them. However, if a person doesn’t want to get vaccinated, he or she should have that same right as well.

In the end it comes down to whether a person believes in the rights granted to us by our constitutions. For example, Article 1, Section 1 of the Nebraska State Constitution says, “All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the right to keep and bear arms…” It also says, “To secure these rights, and the protection of property, governments are instituted among people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” If we are truly a free and independent people, as the Nebraska State Constitution says we are, and if the government only exists by way of our consent, then no government should ever have the power to tell us what we should put into our own bodies. Such an action constitutes government overreach and it is a gross intrusion into our personal freedom to make decisions about our own personal lives.

Make no mistake about it: President Biden is playing a gigantic game of Chicken with the American people. Either millions of Americans will bend their will to the federal government by getting vaccinated or they will fight for their constitutional rights and liberties. If they choose the latter, the economy of the United States will come to a grinding halt as we lose even more of our most essential workers. This is why the governors of several states have chosen to intervene by issuing executive orders to protect both employers as well as employees from the federal vaccine mandate. While I appreciate the fact that Gov. Ricketts has issued an executive order to protect government employees, he now needs to do the same for all employees.

Unfortunately, the State Legislature has missed its golden opportunity to have this discussion about our personal liberties and constitutional rights of the floor of the Legislature. A special session of this kind would have given State Senators the opportunity to prove to the people of Nebraska that they really do mean it when they take an oath to uphold our Constitution. To defend the Constitution of the United States and of the great State of Nebraska is what a State Senator or any other politician for that matter is supposed to do. That is our most sacred duty!

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