Nebraska AG sues to stop Omaha mask mandate enforcement

Hearing set for Jan. 24
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson and Gov. Pete Ricketts
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson and Gov. Pete Ricketts
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 9:07 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 9:31 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - The Nebraska Attorney General said Thursday morning that he filed a lawsuit late Wednesday seeking to stop enforcement of the Omaha mask mandate.

The mandate was put into effect by Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse, who said she used an Omaha city code to enact the mandate.

AG Doug Peterson argued that Huse unilaterally issued the mandate without approval from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and that Huse exceeded her authority under local and state law.

Mayor Jean Stothert and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts disagreed Tuesday about whether Dr. Huse had the authority. Stothert said she did; Ricketts said she did not. Stothert did say she was not in support of the decision, however.

Ricketts issued a statement Thursday afternoon in support of the legal action:

The state asked for an immediate hearing in Douglas County District Court, but the hearing schedule won’t allow the case to be heard until later this month. The hearing has been scheduled to go before District Court Judge Shelly Stratman on Jan. 24.

The lawsuit brought up the August 2021 effort by Dr. Huse to request DHHS approval for a mask requirement for citizens countywide. That effort was denied.

Dr. Huse recently sought legal counsel, which determined she had the legal authority to introduce the mandate based on city code — but could only do it for the city rather than countywide.

Read the lawsuit

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