Nebraska Sens. Ben Hansen and Robert Clements delivered a co-signed letter from 26 state senators Tuesday to the Secretary of State’s office to request a special session of the legislature. 

There is a growing concern that employers will require employees to choose between their jobs or being vaccinated without regard to their good faith, personal objections, Hansen’s office said in a press release.

People have a variety of reasons for not wanting to take the COVID-19 vaccines, including natural immunity, medical conditions, and rights of religious or personal conscience.

The Secretary of State’s office will survey all 49 senators to endorse a special session. At least 33 senators are needed to trigger the special session.

The special session would be held for the sole purpose of discussing and adopting legislation to prohibit employers from mandating COVID-19 vaccines and prohibiting governmental and/or educational entities from mandating those vaccines as a condition of receiving services, the senators said in the statement.

The senators said it is a critical time for our state and country.

Nebraska’s economy continues to gain strength after enduring one of the most difficult years in history. The state boasts one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates with a forecast of sustained growth. At the same time, the country faces labor shortages across multiple sectors. Any action that would force Nebraskans to leave the workforce risks undoing the progress we have made to restore our economy. 

The senators said time is of the essence to help Nebraskan families and promote growth economically. A special session would work to keep employees in Nebraska from losing their jobs because of COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Hansen and Clements said the session would not affect mask mandates, question the science of vaccines, prevent schools from mandating other current vaccinations to attend K-12 schools, say whether vaccines in general are good or bad, support the effectiveness of varying treatments or consider any other non-relevant topics.

Clements said he has a family member facing termination of employment because of the vaccine mandate, which puts a house mortgage at risk and could leave a family of six homeless. 

“Employees should not be forced to choose between their livelihood and receiving a COVID-19 vaccine with no exceptions,” he said.

Hansen said, “The people have spoken, in overwhelming fashion. 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 vaccination.”

At the time of release on Tuesday afternoon, the letter was signed by these senators:

Sens. Joni Albrecht of District 17, John Arch of District 14, Bruce Bostelman of District 23, Tom Brandt of District 32, Tom Brewer of District 43, Tom Briese of District 41, Robert Clements of District 2, Myron Dorn of District 30, Steve Erdman of District 47, Mike Flood of District 19, Curt Friesen of District 34, Suzanne Geist of District 25, Tim Gragert of District 40, Mike Groene of District 42, Steve Halloran of District 33, Ben Hansen of District 16, Speaker Mike Hilgers of District 21, Dan Hughes of District 44, Brett Lindstrom of District 18, Lou Ann Linehan of District 39, John S. Lowe, Sr. of District 37, Mike McDonnell of District 5, Mike Moser of District 22, Dave Murman of District 38, Rita Sanders of District 45, and Julie Slama of District 1.

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