Governor Ricketts hosts signing ceremony for hair discrimination bill

Photo: Governor Pete Ricketts' Office

(Omaha, NE) -- Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts hosts a ceremonial signing of a bill aimed at ending workplace hair discrimination.

Friday afternoon, Ricketts held the signing ceremony for Legislative Bill 451 at the Highlander Dining Room in North Omaha. The bill was introduced and prioritized by State Senator Terrell McKinney, who represents part of North Omaha in the Unicameral. The Governor's office says the bill strengthens protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of race. The bill expands the definition of race to include features associated with race, such as hair texture, skin color, and protective hairstyles. Employers are allowed to set safety and health standards as long as they don’t discriminate and are applied equally.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development collaborated with local leaders to help the bill gain widespread support. The Legislature passed the bill on April 29, 2021 by a vote of 40-4, and Governor Ricketts signed it into law on May 5, 2021

According to State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, of Omaha, a similar bill was vetoed by Governor Ricketts in August 2020 because it did not exempt safety and health regulations in the workplace.

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