Ballot issues bring mixed results

With a majority of the precincts recorded in Nebraska, it looks like state senator salaries and term limits will remain the same. Misdemeanors while in pursuit of office could now lead to impeachment and hunting and fishing will become a constitutional right.

Nebraska voters are deciding four ballot issue. The ballot issues this election season include four proposed amendments. The four amendments must receive a “yes” vote greater than 35 percent of the total votes cast in order to pass.

Click here to see the latest vote tallies on Nebraska’s ballot issues from the Nebraska Secretary of State.

The four proposed amendments are:

  • Extending state Senator term limit to three consecutive four-year terms
  • Increasing the salary to $22,500 state Senators
  • Any misdemeanor while in pursuit of civil office is ground for impeachment in Nebraska
  • Establish the constitutional right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife in Nebraska

Changing the term limit to three consecutive terms for state Senators 

The current Nebraska law is two consecutive four-year terms for state Senators. This went into effect in 2006. Sen. Tom Carlson of Holdrege proposed this amendment. Opponents of this amendment say the current term limits allow lobbyists to outmaneuver less experienced lawmakers.

Nebraska is one of 15 states that limit the terms of state lawmakers. Carlson has repeatedly remarked that expanding to three terms would better serve the state because the governor, lobbyists, and political parties have a stronger influence over the officially nonpartisan Legislature.

Increasing salary of legislative members 

The current salary for members of the Legislature is $12,000 a year. Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh proposed the amendment which would raise the salary to $22,500. The $12,000 salary has been in place since 1988. An attempt to raise the salary to $21,000 was rejected by voters in 2006 by a 2-to-1 margin.

This salary increase, if passed, would take effect January 2013. In addition to the salary increase, each member of Legislature would receive an amount equal to his or her actual expenses in traveling by the most usual route from each regular or special session of the Legislature.

Misdemeanor while in pursuit for office is grounds for impeachment 

The current law only allows for impeachment for illegal acts that occur while in civil office.

Sen. Bill Avery sponsored this amendment, which was introduced in January 2012. Avery introduced this bill after the impeachment of former University of Nebraska Regent David Hegert. Hegert was impeached after the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that he broke campaign finance laws during his 2004 campaign.

Establish the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife 

If passed, public hunting, fishing and harvesting of wildlife shall be preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.This amendment is sponsored by Sen. Pete Pirsch.

Pirsh proposed this amendment to protect hunting rights. Pirsch believes hunting and fishing is critical to the states economy. This amendment would state that harvesting wildlife would be the preferred means of controlling wildlife in Nebraska.

Supporters of this amendment say it is important  to protect the right to hunt and fish should special interest groups from out of state decide to move and try to restrict

See these related stories on Nebraska ballot issues.




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