On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee approved a bill to make county health boards as advisory bodies only, and to prohibit mandatory vaccine passports. The bill was introduced by State Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge), and also sponsored by State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma).
Currently, the components limiting county health boards’ powers and prohibiting vaccine passport mandates aren’t listed as part of the bill. They were introduced as an amendment in the House on Tuesday. Additionally, the bill would relegate local health authority to the state and limit county health officers’ quarantine-mandating powers – individuals and places that aren’t known to have contributed to the spread of a disease may not be quarantined.
As Minnesota returns to a semblance of normalcy with an increasing number of injected COVID-19 vaccines, one Republican aims to ban “vaccine passports.”
SF 1589 aims to ban forced COVID-19 vaccinations, forced digital contact tracing, and required proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering a government business.
“Your personal health information should not be made public. I stand against the special interests that want your private health information,” Senate Health Committee Chair Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, posted on Facebook.
We all desperately want normal lives again. And I’m not talking about the finnicky “new normal” that accommodates Aunt Karen’s irrational fear of leaving her house. I’m talking about “normal normal,” where people crowd into concert halls with standing room only, restaurants operate crowded tables at 120 percent capacity, and cruise ship buffets shove food and alcohol down my throat like it’s Fat Tuesday, all day, every day. Ah … don’t you miss 2019? I sure do.
It was only a matter of time before some in our society turned the national COVID experiment into an excuse to say, “Papers, please.” That’s right — the so-called vaccine passport is now emerging in the United States. It’s an app that is advertised as a way to help people do the things they miss doing from pre-pandemic times. Want to feel completely safe in your favorite store, and surround yourself with others who, like you, have rolled up their sleeve and gotten the vaccine? There’s an app for that. Just scan your QR code and enter feeling sanctimoniously sanitized.
Last week, New York became the first state to offer such a vaccine verification app. The state-sanctioned app, called Excelsior Pass, claims to let participants “Attend sporting events, arts performances and more! Excelsior Pass supports a safe reopening of New York by providing a free, fast and secure way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results.” Well that sounds fun to me! Sign me up!
Tennessee lawmakers are keeping their options open when it comes to mandatory vaccinations during a current or imminent pandemic. Although community members and advocacy groups have been fighting for their right to choose when it comes to their medical decisions during government-declared emergencies, most lawmakers haven’t been responsive.
At the time of press, the amendment hasn’t been uploaded to the General Assembly website. However, The Tennessee Star obtained a copy of the amendment, included below:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vowed that he would issue an executive order forbidding local governments and businesses from requiring “vaccine passports” to show digital or physical proof of vaccination against COVID-19, The Hill reports.
At a news conference, the Florida governor announced he would introduce “an executive function, emergency function” against vaccine passports and requested the Republican state legislature draft a bill forbidding such passports.