Legislature Passes, Gov Signs $88.6-M Emergency COVID-19 Funding Bill

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The Nebraska Legislature yesterday passed and Gov. Pete Ricketts signed an $83.6 million dollar emergency funding bill for costs related to battling the spread of COVID-19.

The package includes $58.6-million for immediate equipment, supply, and personal needs requested by Ricketts and another $25-million put in by the legislature to provide a reserve for quick responses if conditions change.

All but 4 of the 49 senators were present and gave unanimous final approval, which required suspending a rule that spending bills can’t come up for a final reading before budget bills do and before the 45th day of the session. Yesterday was the 43rd day.

Speaker Jim Scheer sent the Unicameral on recess last week because of the coronavirus threat and hold the senators in an emotional speech after the vote that it was a hard decision to bring them back and putting them at risk this week and that he appreciated them coming in and acting.

Scheer put the legislature back into indefinite recess and said he didn’t know when it will reconvene, except that it won’t be in the two weeks before the May 12th primary election so that senators running for reelection can campaign.

There are still 17 business days left in the session and Scheer said lawmakers will cover those 17 days over a period of 3 weeks once the decision is made to reconvene.

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