$58.6 million Proposed for Coronavirus Emergency Fund

LINCOLN – Governor Pete Ricketts is asking the Nebraska Legislature to transfer $58.6 million dollars to an emergency fund to fight the Coronavirus in the state.

The largest amount of money would go toward purchasing and expanding resources in the state. “That 58 million dollars would be broken down to roughly 38 million dollars for us to be able to do things like buy more personal protective equipment and be able to distribute that to our firefighters and EMTs across the state, especially our volunteer fire department and EMTs, and to our local public health groups.”

Rickett’s added “We want to be able to expand that testing. These are all things that we are looking for additional appropriations to make sure we’ve got the resources necessary to be able to go out and make these purchases and get them distributed. Make sure we can help our local public health department staff up if they need to. That’s the kind of appropriation to have a direct intervention again in fighting the spread of the Coronavirus.“

Four million dollars would go to the Department of Health and Human services to increase staff. The plan also calls for 13 million for staffing at DHHS, Veteran, and 24/7 care facilities. The University of Nebraska Medical Center would get 3.5 million to expand testing capabilities and software to increase the sharing of information.

The money will come from the state’s cash reserve and go into a designated Governor’s Emergency Fund. That allows for a better accounting and transparency for where the money goes and ensures it’s only spent for fighting the Coronavirus. If the money isn’t all used, it would be transferred back into the cash reserve.

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