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Editorial, 10/29: Nebraska mustn’t interfere with its private employers on vaccine rules

Editorial, 10/29: Nebraska mustn’t interfere with its private employers on vaccine rules

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Nebraska Legislature

The State Capitol in Lincoln on July 1.

Nebraskans don’t work in a vacuum.

Their actions and interactions bring them in close contact with others in their workplaces and community, often with no idea about the other person’s health status or beliefs.

And that becomes problematic during a global pandemic that’s already killed thousands of Nebraskans, which is why some employers have issued their own mandates that employees must receive the COVID-19 vaccine, save for those with medical or religious exemptions. An executive order from President Joe Biden will cover businesses with 100 or more employers, though it requires further clarification.

Yet far too many elected officials in Nebraska are actively seeking to prevent businesses from exercising their legal right to ensure the health and safety of their workers by requiring vaccinations.

Government overreach is often portrayed as elected officials writing laws to insert themselves and their political beliefs in places where they don’t belong. And that’s exactly what too many elected officials in Nebraska seem willing to do on the topic of vaccine mandates.

More than half of the senators serving in the Nebraska Legislature signed on to a call for a special session to explicitly ban the state’s businesses from requiring employees to be vaccinated. Beyond that, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said he planned to oppose Biden’s executive order.

Furthermore, most of the signatories are the loudest voices decrying their version of government overreach that they see fit. When a bill that would have barred discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity was on the legislative docket, for example, many of these same elected officials said that such a prohibition infringed upon those businesses’ rights.

Just as a sword cuts both directions, so, too, do arguments about what businesses can and can’t legally do.

Compulsory vaccinations, for those who are unaware, have been required in schools for ages and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court for even longer. They’ve been a societal responsibility for decades – a small cost to pay for mitigating and eradicating several diseases.

Lastly, the personal liberty cited doesn’t force people to get the vaccinations they absolutely should to help protect them – and all of us – from the pandemic. Simply put, the choice to not get vaccinated brings with it ramifications, just the same as how freedom of speech doesn’t bring freedom from consequences.

For all the upheaval COVID-19 has caused, ranging from inconvenience to heartbreak, the best way to return to normal is to collectively embrace the preventative measures needed to put the virus behind us as well as possible.

Rather, Nebraska’s elected officials are unfortunately spending their time and effort aiming to erect roadblocks on the path back to something resembling normality – at the expense of our state’s businesses.


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