Legislature Advances Measures on Vaccine Mandates, State Procurement

Lincoln, NE (February 25, 2022)  State Senators approved a process today by which employees can receive exemptions from employer-imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

LB906, introduced by Blair Sen. Ben Hansen, requires the state Department of Health and Human Services to create and publish a form on its website to be filled out by employees seeking an exemption based either on health or the individual’s sincerely held religious belief. LB906 allows employers to require unvaccinated employees to wear masks or submit to COVID-19 testing at the employer’s expense, but requires that they grant requested exemptions.

Nebraska lawmakers are moving ahead with a plan to review the state’s procurement practices after facing multi-million-dollar problems with a child welfare provider that overpromised and under-delivered. Lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill that would require the state to hire an outside consultant to conduct the study.

The measure comes in response to Nebraska’s problems with Kansas-based St. Francis Ministries. St. Francis was a state contractor that oversaw the care of abused and neglected children in Douglas and Sarpy counties in the Omaha area.

Families of police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty could get a one-time, $250,000 payment from the state under a bill that Nebraska lawmakers advanced today. Lawmakers gave the measure initial approval on a 32-6 vote. The bill, by state Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, would increase the payout from the current $50,000. The measure would apply to police officers, probation officers, firefighters, emergency care providers, prison staffers and other in public safety.