Nebraska Legislature’s Executive Board holds hearing on resolution to censure Sen. Halloran

March 28, 2024, 6 p.m. ·

Sen. Michaela Cavanaugh shares testimony with the Legislature's Executive Board at a hearing on a resolution to censure Sen. Steve Halloran Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Brian Beach/Nebraska Public Media News)

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Sens. Michaela Cavanaugh and Julie Slama introduced a resolution to censure Halloran after comments during last week’s debate on a bill regarding obscene materials in schools.

While quoting testimony which included a passage from a memoir describing the author’s rape, Halloran inserted the name Senator Cavanaugh after a description of a demand for oral sex.

Halloran says he was directing the comment at Michaela’s brother, Sen. John Cavanaugh, in order to get him to pay attention to his speech.

At Thursday’s hearing on the resolution, Michaela Cavanaugh said a formal censure is necessary to protect the dignity of the legislature.

“A censure is a statement that we disagree with Senator Halloran,” she said. “Whether he was asking for me to perform a sex act or my brother is irrelevant.”

Halloran did not attend the hearing. Instead, he provided a statement in which he wrote, “If I am guilty of anything, it is of working zealously to protect Nebraska’s children, exercising my First Amendment Right of Free Speech in debate on the Legislative floor.”

The Nebraska Republican Party posted a call to action Wednesday night on X, formally known as Twitter, urging followers to submit an online comment opposing the resolution.

The resolution received 269 online comments in favor and 251 comments against.

Executive Board chair Sen. Ray Aguilar said the board would not make a decision regarding the censure resolution right away and urged members to think about it over their four-day weekend.

“The potential censure of a member of the legislature is a very serious matter,” he said. “And the fact that the last time such an event occurred was in 1955 highlights that it is not an action that is taken lightly.”

If voted out of the Executive Board, the resolution will go up to a vote by all members of the legislature.