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Nebraska rental aid bill passes, still faces big hurdles

March 23, 2022 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A bill that would force Gov. Pete Ricketts to apply for $120 million in federal housing assistance for Nebraska won final approval from lawmakers on Wednesday, but still faces some big hurdles.

Lawmakers passed the measure through a third and final vote, 26-15. Eight state senators abstained from voting.

Ricketts has strongly objected to the measure, and overriding his veto would require votes from at least 30 lawmakers.

Ricketts, a Republican, has argued that Nebraska has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate and doesn’t have enough demand to justify a request for money. He said the state only used about 40% of the rental assistance money that came in an earlier round of federal funding.

Lawmakers also fell short of the 30 votes they needed to put the law into effect right away. If lawmakers manage to override Ricketts’ veto, the bill would become law three months after the session’s end, which is past the deadline for the state to apply for rental assistance. Supporters say they’re working on a contingency plan.