Ricketts: Meat packer protection bill ‘unnecessary’

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Gov. Pete Ricketts says a move to protect meatpackers from COVID-19 is unnecessary.

In an interview with News Channel Nebraska, Ricketts said he finds no need for a bill from State Sen. Tony Vargas, of Omaha.

"Sen. Vargas's bill is unnecessary," Ricketts said. "What we did through the pandemic is work directly with the food processing plants....It was really kind of a learning experience."

"It was all very successful, and you can see that in the numbers. If you look at the folks who work in our food processing plants who got the coronavirus, they were less impacted than the general population."

Vargas' bill has been scaled back, and no longer calls for six feet social distancing between workers on the plant floor. It does require employers to provide face masks and temperature checks.

The bill narrowly passed the first round of debate and is up for more debate Tuesday.

While Ricketts says the bill is superfluous, he would not comment directly on any action he would take if the bill passes.

"We don't throw that veto word around," Ricketts said. "I'm just encouraging the senators to look at the facts."