Norfolk Sen. Mike Flood seeks to call a special session of the Legislature to oppose vaccine mandates.

“One of the big topics in the state right now, and in the nation, is the idea of mandating vaccines for people in the workforce,” Flood said. “The Biden administration has essentially declared its intention to require these.”

Flood is vaccinated and he has encouraged others to get the vaccine, he said.

“I think there’s a lot of value in it. I was vaccinated and I also had a breakthrough case of coronavirus and I have to think that it helped keep my symptoms mild,” he said. “But it was my choice to get vaccinated.”

Flood said he opposes a mandate, though, because he believes getting vaccinated is a personal choice and a mandate would damage the economy.

“There are a lot of companies and employers in Northeast Nebraska that are facing losing some of their best employees over this issue at a time when workforce is the biggest issue in the state. This is a terrible time to mandate vaccines,” he said. “I’ve heard from a lot of people in Northeast Nebraska who strenuously object to having to receive the vaccine, and I do believe it is their choice at the end of the day.”

Flood said the number of positive cases in Madison County and the Elkhorn Logan Valley Health District also has been low.

“Our rates for coronavirus infections are waning,” he said. “I’m not saying that it’s not an issue and precautions shouldn’t be taken, but everybody seems to be fine going to Memorial Stadium with 90,000 people in the stands.”

To call a special session, 33 senators would need to agree to it. If the same number of senators agreed to oppose a mandate, then it would pass, Flood said.

Flood said a bill to oppose mandates could take a number of forms, but he has clear goals of what he’d like to see as the outcome.

“There could be a variety of bills presented that could be considered by the Legislature. I want to respect the personal freedoms of the people of Nebraska,” he said. “I want to protect our economy by not requiring employers to place themselves between the medical freedoms of their employee and the federal government.”

Flood said the federal mandate would likely set off an argument over who has jurisdiction: Federal or state.

“At the end of the day, states have to do everything we can do to act in the best interest of our citizens,” he said. “To make it a condition of their employment, I think, is a few steps too far, or a lot of steps too far. This vaccine mandate is potentially a disaster for workforce in Nebraska.”

Thirty-three senators need to be in support of the special session before it can even be called, and Flood isn’t sure he has the numbers, he said.

“I know there’s a lot of members of the Legislature that feel strongly about this, and I would argue it’s certainly a majority,” he said. “I certainly hope it’s 33.”

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