Legislature Advances Emergency Pandemic Funding on Final Reading

LINCOLN – The Nebraska Legislature reconvened this week to pass emergency funding for combatting the coronavirus pandemic. They passed the funding on a third and final reading yesterday. The bill would appropriate $83.6 million to be used for fighting the pandemic.

Funds would be transferred to the Governor’s Emergency Cash Fund and then directed to a new program called the Governor’s Emergency Program – COVID-19, allowing for funding to come from one source instead of appropriating money to a number of different agencies. State Senator Steve Halloran says that this funding will be used if it becomes necessary.

Emergency request was for a little more than 58 million dollars. And subsequently there was 25 million dollars added to that. So most of that funding was for hospital equipment. Emergency equipment for hospitals and for UNMC and for the DHHS, in the event that there would be a large outbreak.

The extra $25 million will be used if unforeseen needs arise. An emergency clause will enable the bill to go into effect as soon as it’s signed by Gov. Pete Ricketts.

The Nebraska Legislature will now go to recess until further notice. Speaker of the Legislature, Jim Scheer, has said they will wrap up this year’s legislative session but no date has been announced yet.

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