Nebraska AG Doug Peterson challenges Omaha mask mandate

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson filed a lawsuit in Douglas County District Court on Wednesday to block Omaha’s mask mandate. Douglas County Chief Health Officer Lindsay Huse released the temporary mask mandate for Omaha on Tuesday. local and state law” when making the directed health order. The complaint filed in Douglas County District Court states, “The mask warrant is unlawful because, as alleged here, the warrant exceeds Dr. Huse’s authority under the Omaha municipal code, the retainer conflicts with applicable state law, the portions of the Omaha municipal code that Dr. Huse relies on to justify his retainer are pre-empted by the state law, and the warrant violates Article XI, Section 5 of the Nebraska Constitution. The Omaha Peterson mask warrant is intended to prevent local authorities from enforcing the warrant. The hearing on the complaint was originally set for January 18, but was moved to Monday, January 24. Judge Stratman will hear the complaint in Douglas County District Court. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts released a statement Thursday supporting the lawsuit. power like this undermines confidence in our nation’s response to the pandemic,” Ricketts said in a statement. “It is appalling to see the Douglas County Director of Health circumventing proper legal avenues and overstepping her authority. I fully support the Attorney General’s legal action to uphold the rule of law in Nebraska. wide for Omaha. The mandate went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. In the letter, Peterson wrote that Huse had not received “approval from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services” to issue the order. authority to unilaterally issue such a warrant without first obtaining DHHS approval,” Peterson wrote. “You previously requested DHHS approval for a similar mask mandate (Directed Health Measure) on August 24, 2021, which DHHS declined. At that time, you were advised that if the Douglas County Board of Health was attempting to enforce an EHR without state approval, the Attorney General can challenge that action.” In response to any legal action, Huse said at a press conference Tuesday that the action has been “reviewed by multiple legal authorities within the city and county attorney’s office and we believe we are on very strong legal footing.”

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson filed a lawsuit in Douglas County District Court on Wednesday to block Omaha’s mask mandate.

Douglas County Chief Health Officer Lindsay Huse released the temporary mask mandate for Omaha on Tuesday.

Now, Peterson says Huse “exceeded the authority given to him by local and state law” when making the directed health order.

The lawsuit filed in Douglas County District Court states, “The mask warrant is unlawful because, as alleged here, the warrant exceeds Dr. Huse’s authority under the Omaha municipal code, the warrant is in conflict with applicable state law, the portions of the Omaha municipal code that Dr. Huse relies upon to justify his warrant are preempted by state law, and the warrant violates Article XI, Section 5 of the Constitution of Nebraska.

MORE: Read the full court filing challenging Omaha’s mask mandate

Peterson aims to prevent local officials from enforcing the warrant. The hearing on the complaint was originally set for January 18, but was moved to Monday, January 24.

Judge Stratman will hear the complaint in Douglas County District Court.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts released a statement Thursday supporting the lawsuit.

“An abuse of power like this undermines confidence in our nation’s response to the pandemic,” Ricketts said in a statement. “It is appalling to see the Douglas County Director of Health circumventing proper legal avenues and overstepping her authority. I fully support the Attorney General’s lawsuit to uphold the rule of law in Nebraska.

On Tuesday, Peterson sent Huse a letter saying he plans to challenge the order, if the Douglas County Board of Health proceeds with the order, which applies to the entire city of Omaha. The mandate went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

In the letter, Peterson wrote that Huse had not “obtained approval from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services” to issue the order.

“As you know, pursuant to (Nebraska Revised Statute 71-1631), you do not have the authority to unilaterally issue such a warrant without first obtaining DHHS approval,” Peterson wrote. “You previously requested DHHS approval for a similar mask mandate (Directed Health Measure) on August 24, 2021, which DHHS declined. At that time, you were advised that if the Douglas County Board of Health was attempting to enforce an EHR without state approval, the Attorney General may challenge that action.”

In response to any legal action, Huse told a news conference on Tuesday that the action has been “reviewed by multiple legal authorities within the city and county attorney’s office and we believe we are on a very solid legal basis”.

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