Holocaust education bill narrowed, returned to final reading

A bill on final reading intended to ensure that Nebraska students receive education on the Holocaust was amended to remove a provision related to slavery in America after lawmakers voted to return it to select file April 11.

Sen. Jen Day
Sen. Jen Day

LB888, introduced by Sen. Jen Day of Omaha, would require the State Board of Education to adopt academic content standards for education on the Holocaust and other acts of genocide as part of the state’s social studies standards.

Lawmakers amended the bill on the second round of debate to include a proposal by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne that would require the board also to adopt standards related to slavery, lynching and racial massacres in America.

Senators voted to return the bill to select file to consider an amendment offered by Day that would remove Wayne’s proposal from the bill.

Speaker Mike Hilgers of Lincoln supported the amendment. In the past, he said, a speaker priority bill such as LB888 has not been scheduled for further debate if it is amended to include “new material.”

Hilgers said Wayne’s proposal fits that description because it goes beyond the scope of LB888 and did not have its own public hearing. He said he would not schedule the bill for debate on final reading if Day’s amendment were not adopted.

Day said she supports Wayne’s proposal but that removing it from the bill would be the only way for LB888 to pass this session. She said she is willing to work with Wayne on a bill for next year to include slavery, lynching and racial massacres in Nebraska’s academic content standards.

Wayne opposed the amendment, saying it would “whitewash history” and that lawmakers have amended speaker priority bills several times in the past.

After voting 27-13 to adopt Day’s amendment, senators advanced LB888 to final reading by voice vote.

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