Tempers Flare in Nebraska Legislature's Final Days

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Tempers are flaring and patience is running thin in the Nebraska Legislature as senators try to cram their proposals into bills that are up for a vote.

Speaker Greg Adams told lawmakers on Tuesday to stay respectful of one another to maintain the Legislature's credibility in the session's final days.

His comments followed a heated late-night session on Monday, in which lawmakers tried to attach a series of popular insurance-expansion proposals onto a bill that would end the state's public disclosure of insurance-executive salaries.

Critics argued that the amendments were "sweeteners" to help the controversial measure pass, and the whole package stalled.

One senator, Colby Coash from Lincoln says tempers are being tested because time is running out.

"The mood is just, it's a little bit frantic because there's a lot of people that have three days to get something done. I have a priority and I want to get it done by the end of this session. It's very important to me. And I have 17 colleagues this is their last chance and so I think that's raising the anxiety a little bit," said Coash.

His autism insurance bill was revived after a very contentious debate regarding a motion he filed wanting to do away with the germaneness rule and add his amendment to a prison reform bill.

But after hours of discussion, Coash pulled that motion and found a new home for the bill. The autism insurance mandate will now join two other amendments to form a select file bill to be discussed Wednesday morning.

The one sticking point of this is if the bill reaches Governor Dave Heineman's desk and he vetoes it, the legislature cannot override the veto.

Senators are expected to debate well into Tuesday night as well.