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Badass Nebraska Senator Vows to Block Anti-Trans Legislation “I Will Burn the Session to the Ground Over This Bill.”

by Emily Lauletta

As more and more anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ legislation keeps popping up this year, one senator out of Nebraska has given us hope that there are still some US politicians fighting for justice and equity. 

Last week, senator Machaela Cavanaugh stated her opinion about an anti-trans bill being floated in her state in the starkest terms possible. “If this legislature collectively decides that legislating hate against children is our priority, then I am going to make it painful – painful for everyone.” 



The Bill in question would keep any Nebraskan resident under the age of 19 from receiving gender-affirming care, and Senator Cavanaugh has embarked on a three-week filibuster in order to block it.

A filibuster is an action often used by congress to delay a vote on a bill. In order for a vote to happen, a bill has to be out of the debate stage, so a filibuster is a way to keep the bill in the debate stage indefinitely. Members of congress will talk for hours on end so no official vote can happen. Basically, it’s a way to block legislation by talking forever. Many times, members of congress have utilized filibusters to simply get out of doing their jobs, or have used the filibuster to stop the progress of social justice legislation, (especially during the civil rights era) so, it’s cool to see a congress person use this tool in favor of social justice. 

The Nebraska senate allows for 8 hours of debate each day while congress is in session. For those 8 hours over the past three weeks, Cavanaugh would filibuster. No bathroom breaks allowed.

Throughout her filibuster, Cavanaugh has discussed everything from the plot of the Dreamworks’ movie Madagascar, to her favorite kind of Girl Scout cookies. She even continued filibustering throughout a case of strep throat. 

Cavanaugh only recently agreed to momentarily stop filibustering, as Speaker John Arch has agreed to bring the Bill to the floor for an official debate. The debate is scheduled for next week.

On her 3-week-long filibuster and the subsequent debate of the Bill, Cavanaugh stated, “If we’re gonna save lives of trans kids, it’s worth it. 100% it’s worth it. I think it’s time to move forward with the session, I think it’s time to debate the actual bill and show the people of Nebraska that we will not legislate hate and move forward and actually get to the business of the state.”

“I will burn the session to the ground over this Bill,” she said.

Cavanaugh even earned a mention from Kal Penn on The Daily Show, as he started off his Headlines segment with, “Inspiring news out of Nebraska–yeah, how often do we get to say that.” 

Senator Cavanaugh is a shining example of the kind of allyship trans individuals need in the US government right now. Her actions are giving us hope that more like her will come out of the woodwork.

Top photo: Screen grab from @HeartlandSignal on Twitter from Nebraska Public Media

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