Virginia Senate Committee Kills Sen. Chase’s Bills Banning Discrimination Against People Who Refuse to Mask or Get COVID-19 Vaccines

RICHMOND, Virginia – The Senate General Laws and Technology Committee killed two of Senator Amanda Chase’s (R-Chesterfield) bills seeking to outlaw discrimination against those who refuse to wear masks or get COVID-19 vaccines.

“While we have many opinions about whether to wear masks or not, it should be an individual right. It should be an individual choice. I remember a period of time whenever that was not necessarily an option, and it impeded people who had disabilities from actually getting healthcare services because they could not wear a mask, not being able to go to the grocery store, shop. We cannot deny people a basic human right of being provided healthcare and basic human services,” Chase told the committee on Wednesday afternoon, arguing for her bill SB 582.

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Sponsor Pulls Bill Making Discrimination Based on COVID-19 Vaccine Status a Punishable Offense

State Representative Iris Rudder (R-Winchester) pulled a bill making it a punishable offense for discriminating against another based on COVID-19 vaccine status. The legislation was scheduled to appear before the House Civil Justice Subcommittee on Tuesday, but Rudder requested that the bill be pulled. She didn’t provide any explanation as to why. 

The bill aimed to limit any “direct or indirect act or practice of exclusion, distinction, restriction, segregation, limitation, refusal, denial, or other practice of differentiation or preference in the treatment of a person or persons[.]” This would have extended to any entity open to the public, which includes businesses, airlines, public transit systems, and schools. They would’ve been prohibited from following through on actions or policies regarding COVID-19 vaccines – even if they were adhering to local, state, or federal statutes or orders.

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