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Omaha community members voice opinions on proposed public health authority ordinance

Posted at 10:57 PM, Mar 29, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — More than 30 speakers took to the podium Tuesday at Omaha’s City Hall. They were voicing their thoughts on whether current Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsey Huse should have the authority to exercise powers without outside input.

The issue gaining attention following the county's now expired mask mandate.

“The health director's last mandate bypassed the vote of the city council and excluded a public hearing. Not only that it included a $500 fine or 6 months in jail for nor wearing a mask. In my opinion, that is absolutely tyrannical and draconian behavior and it is a perfect example of why we need to vote on such matters and allow public hearings,” said an opponent of Huse.

“The ability to act with extreme speed in these situations is absolutely key to how we are able to control spread or harm to other people,” said Huse.

Huse opposes the ordinance and wants people to trust qualified health officials.

“The decision to require this position specifically to go through additional layers of red tape in order to protect appears to be in response to an unpopular position rather than any true concern for the public,” she said.

Others say when it comes to public health an appointed person with the proper experience should be trusted to make decisions.

“Our community deserves to have a person making decisions who is highly educated and experienced in the field of public health, anything less is unacceptable,” said a speaker.

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