Nebraska Gov. Says He’ll Withhold Federal Money From Counties That Require Masks

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Gov. Pete Ricketts threatens to withhold more than $100 million of federal funds if local officials require masks.

Although public-health officials urge people to wear masks in efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus, Nebraska’s Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts says he’ll withhold more than $100 million dollars of federal funds if local officials require them in courthouses and other government offices.

  • Despite previously advising citizens to wear masks in stores, Ricketts’ order forces county and local governments to comply with this new rule if they are to receive the CARES Act money.
  • The legislation gave Nebraska “about $1 billion to help the state manage a surge of coronavirus-related spending,” with nearly $100 million set aside for cities and counties, to be handed out at Ricketts’ discretion.
  • Taylor Gage, the governor's spokesman, said Ricketts doesn’t believe "failure to wear a mask should be the basis for denying taxpayers' services."
  • The governor’s order issued last month stated that county and local governments needed to reopen by June 15th to receive funds.

As states reopen, many still face surges in coronavirus infections with President Donald Trump saying the U.S. "wouldn't be closing down the country again.” Nebraska’s infections are lower than a month ago, but the state is still reporting over 100 cases every day.

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