The Judiciary Committee couldn't muster enough votes Thursday during its executive session to advance a uniquely interesting proposal for a constitutional amendment out of committee.
So Sen. Paul Schumacher's resolution (LR269CA) that would delegate complete or partial sovereignty to a designated, limited and sparsely-settled area of western Nebraska for up to 99 years, is stuck there for now.
The vote was 3-1, with five votes needed to advance. Voting yes were Chairwoman Laura Ebke, Sens. Ernie Chambers and Bob Krist. Voting no was Sen. Roy Baker. Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks and Sen. Matt Hansen declined to vote at all. And Sens. Adam Morfeld and Steve Halloran were absent. Morfeld later said he also would not vote on the resolution.
Schumacher had apparently told some members of the committee he was considering prioritizing the resolution. And some thought it would be an interesting discussion for the full Legislature.
The senator has said he believed the sovereignty could tempt major enterprises that might be attracted by the prospect of no city or state taxes and no local or state regulations. The area is near rail lines, transmission lines, fiber-optic cable connections, recreation sites and an array of transportation options.
The Legislature adjourned on Thursday for a four-day break and will return on Tuesday when an occupational licensing reform bill leads the floor agenda.