'We need to do what we can'

Hansen, senators request special session to ban COVID-19 vaccines mandates

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Nebraska senators are concerned with federal mandates being put on businesses forcing them to vaccinate their employees for COVID-19 or face punishment.

Sens. Ben Hansen of Blair and Robert Clements of Elmwood delivered a co-signed letter from 26 Nebraska state senators to the Secretary of State’s office Tuesday to request a special session to consider legislation to prohibit employers from mandating that employees get vaccinated against coronavirus.

“I believe from what I hear is the majority of Nebraskans agree with this, think the same — whether they are vaccinated or not — you shouldn't be mandated to take them by your government to keep your job,” Hansen said. “As we heard more and more businesses forced to do it and people not wanting to do it, I can't ignore my constituents and Nebraskans that long. There's too many people saying it, and if I'm the one that needs to do it, then I will.”

The senators only needed 10 signatures to submit the request. Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen will send out letters to all senators to see if they are in favor of a special session. If 33 senators sign on, it triggers the special session.

Hansen said he has heard of businesses throughout the state of Nebraska mandating vaccines, some because they are federal contractors.

“A lot of businesses from my understanding are starting or employees are scared it's going to start,” he said. “When the federal government is intruding on states' rights, that's where the Legislature can play a role.”

Hansen said he's received hundreds of emails, phone calls and correspondence about this topic.

“It's people from all walks of life. They don't want to get the vaccine or they're pro-vaccination and they're worried people will be forced to do it.”

Hansen said this request for a special session is not about mask mandates or questioning the science of vaccines or preventing schools from mandating current vaccinations to attend K-12 schools.

“It's not about whether vaccines in general are good or bad,” Hansen said.

“The people have spoken, in overwhelming fashion,” Hansen said in a press release. “We need to do what we can to protect the livelihoods of Nebraskans who are at risk of losing their jobs if they exercise their choice not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.”

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