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COVID-19 virus scare shuts down Unicameral

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LINCOLN — Speaker Jim Scheer announced this morning that the Nebraska Unicameral would not reconvene this week as originally planned.

"In consultation with Senator Hilgers, speaking with public health authorities, the Governor, as well as input from many of you, we have made the decision that the current legislative session will not reconvene tomorrow and will be postponed until further notice," Speaker said in an email to news media outlets.

"We have made this decision primarily for the health and safety of the state and to protect the health of the members in the body. The Governor encouraged this weekend that public gatherings of more than 50 individuals should be postponed, a recommendation also made by the CDC. Even with non-essential staff not in the chamber, and with senators from around the state at the Capitol, we have concluded that suspending the session is in the best interest of the state.

Scheer said Senators are aware that more funding may be needed in the fight to both slow the virus and bounce back from it.

"Of paramount importance is ensuring that we have the tools to fight the coronavirus. We have spoken with the Governor's office about the potential need for an emergency appropriation to assist in that effort. Be prepared to be called back to session for the limited purpose of passing any emergency appropriation," he said, adding that could happen as early as next Monday. 

State employees are now busy clearning the chambers, as requested by many of the members.