PHOENIX, Arizona – Last week, the Arizona legislature banned the state from mandating COVID-19 vaccine passports. These were provisions packed into legislation concerning the budget – a version of which was passed by the House on Friday.
The legislation banning COVID-19 vaccine passports applies to the state and all cities, towns, and counties – it passed along party lines. That legislation also bars government entities from requiring businesses to obtain proof of vaccination in order to allow patrons to enter. An amendment adopted onto that bill also specifies that emergency use authorization (EUA) vaccines may not be required for school attendance, and obligates employers to accommodate employees who decline the COVID-19 vaccine based on religious beliefs, practices, or observances.
A ban on vaccine and mask mandates for educators and students was also passed by the Senate through an amendment to SB 1826 during last Tuesday’s floor session and the House through an amendment to HB 2898 during last Friday’s floor session.
State Representative Bret Roberts (R-Maricopa) claimed responsibility for making the ban on vaccine passports possible. He also credited Senators Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa), David Livingston (R-Peoria), Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), and David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista) for doing their part in the Senate.
“#SB1824 would not have the Anti-Vax Passport policy in it today if I caved on #HB2190 several weeks ago. It’s not exactly the policy I wanted to however it’s more than what was being proposed at the time. Proud to have stood tall on this issue,” wrote Roberts.
#SB1824 would not have the Anti-Vax Passport policy in it today if I caved on #HB2190 several weeks ago. It's not exactly the policy I wanted however it's more than what was being proposed at the time. Proud to have stood tall on this issue.
— Bret Roberts (@BretRbrts) June 25, 2021
The Arizona Sun Times reached out to Roberts for comment. Roberts didn’t respond by press time.
The other bill that Roberts referenced, HB 2190, would’ve also prohibited businesses from requiring patrons to disclose their vaccination status. It was a striker bill that failed to achieve full passage in the Senate after being passed by the House.
In April, Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order banning vaccine passports. Like the legislation passed last week, the governor’s order doesn’t extend oversight to private businesses.
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