Attempt at Special Session on Vaccine Mandates Falls Short

Nov. 1, 2021, midnight ·

Nebraska Capitol (Photo by Fred Knapp, Nebraska Public Media News)
Nebraska Capitol (Photo by Fred Knapp, Nebraska Public Media News)

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An attempt to get the Nebraska Legislature to hold a special session to prohibit vaccine mandates has fallen short.

The idea, spearheaded by state Sens. Ben Hansen and Rob Clements, was to prohibit businesses from requiring employees to be vaccinated, and to prevent schools and other governmental entities from requiring vaccinations in order to receive services. The senators were seeking enough support to call a special session before the regular session in January. Such a move requires 33 senators, two-thirds of the 49-member Legislature. Hansen and Clements turned in 26 signatures on Oct. 19. But Speaker of the Legislature Mike Hilgers’ office said by Monday’s deadline, only two more senators had indicated support for the idea. Gov. Pete Ricketts, who supports vaccinations but opposes mandates, could also call a special session on his own. But Ricketts has said he would not do so unless there were 33 votes to overcome a filibuster and pass a bill. The issue could come up again after the Legislature convenes in its regular session January 5.

These were the senator who signed the original letter supporting a special session: Albrecht, Arch, Bostelman, Brandt, Brewer, Briese, Clements, Dorn, Erdman, Flood, Friesen, Geist, Gragert, Groene, Halloran, Hansen, Hilgers, Hughes, Lindstrom, Linehan, Lowe, McDonnell, Moser, Murman, Sanders, Slama.

Senators who later signed, according to the Secretary of State’s office: Pahls,Williams.

Senators who did not sign: Aguilar, Blood, Bostar, J. Cavanaugh, M. Cavanaugh, Day, DeBoer, M. Hansen, Hilkemann, Hunt, Kolterman, Lathrop, McCollister, McKinney, Morfeld, Pansing Brooks, Stinner, Vargas, Walz, Wayne, Wishart.