If there was ever a bill that ought to rally Greens ( and other “3rd” parties ) it is LB 125, introduced into the current Unicameral session by Omaha senator John McCollister. It’s scheduled for a public hearing before the Government, Military and Veteran’s Affairs Committee on Thursday, February 18th at 9:30 am in Room 1507 at the state capital.
LB 125 would institute Ranked Choice Voting ( we used to also call it Instant Runoff Voting) for elections for Governor, Legislature, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator. If you’re unfamiliar with it, RCV allows the voter to rank candidates by order of preference and counting proceeds in rounds until one candidate achieves a majority of 1st and 2nd (or 3rd etc.) choice votes. This eliminates the excuse thrown at Greens of being “spoilers”. We could vote our consciences as Greens but still ally with non Green candidates to defeat regressive forces. Plus, no one is elected without a majority vote which is a great argument by itself. Nebraska Democrats have historically been concerned about our Green votes diluting their political power in local and federal elections. RCV would mean all of us could better afford to vote our conscience, while also voting for additional preferences if our first choice doesn’t win a majority. Especially in a conservative state like Nebraska progressives should do what they can to present a united front and minimize our differences. This bill, albeit a long shot, would go a long way toward helping with that.
Like it has so many other things, the Covid pandemic has also changed some procedures regarding public input on bills and testifying. The public hearing process is still open for live testimony and to drop off written testimony that day ( be sure to indicate you support the bill near the top of written post) . If you are quarantining or just being cautious or working you have two other options: 1. you can leave a public comment (available for legislators, their aides and the public to read) at https://nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/view_bill.php?DocumentID=43491 or 2. you can email the GMV committee at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org by noon the day before (Wed. 2/17) with written testimony that will be included in the public record of the committee hearing.
If you have time ….. the day before all this, Wednesday the 17th, conservative senator Julie Slama (Dist. 1, Peru) has hearings on measures to require photo voter ID, LR3CA, (which would require a vote, being a constitutional amendment) and LB 76 which would revert Nebraska to the winner-take-all apportionment of Electoral College votes and preventing District 2 from peeling off like it did last election for Biden. Same committee, same hearing room; LB76 is at 9:30am and LR3CA is at 1:30pm).
And if you really have time .. A worthy bill doing some basic reforms on redistricting, LB107 (senator McCollister again,) is heard before the Executive Board, Room 1527 also on Wednesday the 18th at 12 noon. While it doesn’t try for an independent commission like his bill last session did, this one still spells out objective criteria to use in laying out new congressional and legislative and other state districts to prevent gerrymandering. R’s outnumber D’s 2-1 on the Exec Bd so we’ll have to see if it even gets out of committee for floor debate. Currently the Exec Board picks legislators for a select committee although the whole legislature votes on the end result.