OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has ordered state agencies under his direct control not to follow any federal coronavirus vaccine mandate.
Ricketts cast the federal mandate as a violation of personal freedom and government overreach. The mandate generally applies to private-sector employees as well as health care workers and federal contractors, but many employers are still waiting for more specific details from the federal government.
“President Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate is a stunning violation of personal freedom and abuse of the federal government’s power,” said Governor Ricketts in a press release on Friday.
Ricketts has repeatedly encouraged people to get vaccinated but says he opposes mandates. The state has used its lack of a vaccine requirement in job advertisements for in-demand health care professionals.
“While we have encouraged Nebraskans to get vaccinated, this is a personal health decision, and not one that should be coerced. We’ve already made the decision that state teammates at the State of Nebraska won’t be forced to take the vaccine. This order takes the next step and bars cabinet state agencies from complying with coronavirus vaccine mandates from the federal government or other parties,” continued Ricketts in the release.
Suzanne Gage, spokeswoman for Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, indicated in an email that Peterson will review the legality of the federal vaccine mandate.
"The Attorney General is concerned that some or all of these federal mandates could be unlawful. He and his staff plan to carefully review them as they become available and will be prepared to take appropriate legal action," wrote Gage.