Below are some facts and figures from Ernie Chambers' career in the Nebraska Legislature.
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» First elected in 1970.
» Won reelection 11 times in total, including a write-in candidacy in 1988 when he made a simultaneous bid for U.S. Senate.
» Left the Legislature in 2009 when he was term limited.
» Returned to the Legislature in 2013 after sitting out one term.
» Longest-serving Nebraska state senator.
Among his accomplishments
Wrote laws that:
» Instituted district elections to foster black representation on the Omaha City Council, the Douglas County Board and the Omaha school board.
» Banned corporal punishment in Nebraska schools.
» Eliminated the sales tax on groceries.
» Required grand jury investigations of deaths of people in law enforcement custody.
» Established government liability for innocent bystanders injured in police chases.
» Narrowed capital punishment’s application with bills barring execution of juveniles and those with mental disabilities.
Demanded investigations of alleged wrongdoing, including:
» Mock lynching of a Black Nebraska National Guardsman in 1976.
» 1984 shooting death of Cairo, Nebraska, farmer Arthur Kirk in a State Patrol standoff.
» Allegations about the business dealings of former Attorney General Paul Douglas with the failed Commonwealth Savings Co. that led to Douglas’ impeachment in 1983.
» Sexual misconduct allegations arising after the 1988 failure of Franklin Community Credit Union in Omaha.
» Campaign finance violations that led to the 2006 impeachment and removal of NU regent David Hergert.
» Use of legislative computers for cybersex that led to the 2017 resignation of Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion.