Nebraska's motorcycle helmet law likely staying put; vote to end a filibuster falls short - Omaha.com
Published Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 12:15 pm / Updated at 11:09 pm
Nebraska's motorcycle helmet law likely staying put; vote to end a filibuster falls short

LINCOLN — Motorcyclists in Nebraska will have to keep their chin straps tight after the latest legislative effort to repeal the helmet law failed.

The vote to end a filibuster of the repeal bill came up eight votes short of the 33 votes needed Tuesday. Under the rules, Legislative Bill 393 is removed from the agenda and now has almost no chance of coming up for consideration again this session.

In the end, the latest repeal bill hit the same dead end of four previous similar measures that made it to the Legislature for full debate.

Opponents of repeal said lifting the helmet requirement would lead to more deaths and more traumatic brain injuries. Survivors of motorcycle crashes frequently turn to state and federal programs to pay for costly long-term care, so the helmet law also saves tax dollars, they argued.

Repeal backers tried to frame the issue as one of personal freedom. They also said the helmet law costs Nebraska economically because riders avoid the state and many of Nebraska's 92,000 licensed motorcyclists head for surrounding states on weekends.

“Is the sake of liberty worth the trade-off of lives?” asked Sen. Sue Crawford of Omaha, who said she supports the helmet law.

Sen. Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins made repealing the helmet law his legislative priority. He had hoped that requiring helmets for riders under 21 and making all motorcyclists wear eye protection would have been enough to win more support.

He said Tuesday's vote showed the repeal may have had the 25 votes necessary to pass if he could have mustered the 33 votes to cut off debate.

He said the time spent debating the measure — nearly eight hours — was still worthwhile because a helmet repeal measure had not been discussed since 2010. That year, 27 senators voted to cut off debate.

Nebraska has had a helmet law in place since 1989. Missouri is the only surrounding state with a mandatory helmet rule. A total of 19 states require helmet use.

How they voted

How state senators voted on a motion to cease debate on a bill to repeal the helmet law. A vote in favor would have ended the filibuster and allowed a vote on the underlying bill while a vote against would have tabled the bill for the year. Thirty-three of 49 senators must vote to cease debate.

Yes (25): Adams, Bloomfield, Brasch, Carlson, Christensen, Coash, Conrad, Davis, Garrett, Hansen, Janssen, Karpisek, Kintner, Krist, Larson, Lautenbaugh, McCoy, Mello, Murante, Nelson, Pirsch, Scheer, Schilz, Schumacher, Smith

No (22): Ashford, Avery, Bolz, Campbell, Chambers, Cook, Crawford, Dubas, Gloor, Haar, Hadley, Harms, Harr, Howard, Johnson, Kolowski, Lathrop, McGill, Nordquist, Seiler, Watermeier, Wightman

Present not voting (2): Sullivan, Wallman


Contact the writer: Joe Duggan

joe.duggan@owh.com    |  

Joe works in the Lincoln bureau, where he helps cover state government, the Legislature, state Supreme Court and southeast Nebraska.

Oil industry ad campaign mocks Nebraska cowboys who protested Keystone XL pipeline
In Omaha, bus tour calls for hourly minimum wage over $10
Fremont police searching for missing 56-year-old man
Prosecutor: Baby might be alive if day care employer had spoken up
NRA seeks universal gun law at national meeting
Beau McCoy calls Pete Ricketts a 'convenient conservative' for immigration stance
Omaha senator seeks minimum wage ballot measure
Agreement reached to end dog racing at Bluffs Run at end of 2015
Police probe bank robbery
Man accused of trying to open flying plane's door pleads not guilty
Ben Sasse shifts tactics, calls ad by Shane Osborn 'hypocritical'
Forecast on the upswing after Thursday's rain
EB Harney Street lane closed
Ex-UNMC student loses appeal; claimed program didn't make accommodations for his depression
Grace: Your older self has a request — use sunscreen
At NU's helm, J.B. Milliken built the university by building relationships with state leaders
City's Personnel Board is behind ‘ban-the-box’ proposal
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
Richard Paul Dreier, 90, was wounded in attack during WWII
Police issue arrest warrant in teen's shooting death
Kelly: Huskers' glory days of '80s live on — on the small screen and on stage
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Construction to start in May on West Broadway apartment/retail structure
3 Nebraska Board of Education candidates call for high standards
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Breaking Brad: 117-mph riding lawnmowers and 12-scoop banana splits
The Chicago White Sox are selling a 12-scoop banana split inside a full-size batting helmet for $17. You know what you'd call someone in Chicago who'd eat this? "Health nut."
Breaking Brad: Walmart beats Russia, stakes a claim on the moon
Russia is claiming it owns a section of the moon. If you follow the news, you know this probably doesn't end well.
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
The idea that Paul Hogan had studied and then hatched at his mother's table was that older people, rather than moving in with relatives or to an assisted-living center, would much prefer to stay home instead.
Kelly: Huskers' glory days of '80s live on — on the small screen and on stage
The 1984 NFL draft was unusual for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and these days it's remembered in the name of a rock band, the 1984 Draft. Tonight, the band is featured on the NFL Network.
Breaking Brad: Nebraska GOP candidates unified against naked squirrels
Some of these Nebraska campaigns are tilting pretty far right. At a recent forum, there was a consensus that we need to ban public dancing and clothe naked squirrels in public parks.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
7M Grill
Half Off Delicious Comfort Fusion Food & Drinks!
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »