Bill also removes Sec. of Health’s ability to impose universal masking orders, business closures
HARRISBURG – The Senate of Pennsylvania approved legislation today that would prohibit the state, as well as counties, municipalities, school districts and colleges that are subsidized by state taxpayers from requiring proof of vaccination, according to the bill’s sponsors, Senators Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28) and Judy Ward (R-30).
Senate Bill 618 was introduced after other states moved forward with various proposals to require vaccination of residents to engage in day-to-day activities, like attending large gatherings, as well as implementing a statewide vaccine passport smartphone app.
“As every Pennsylvanian who wants to receive the vaccine does so, we are saying the state or local governmental entities should not involve itself in personal health care information of the public,” Phillips-Hill said. “We have seen failures in the state in how it mismanaged personal health care data in its contact tracing program, so today, the Senate took a firm stand that the state will not continue its ‘data creep’ into these very sensitive records and information by avoiding the slippery slope that is a vaccine passport.”
“This bill at all levels is about preventing government overreach whether its mandating a vaccine or mandating masking, social isolation, or business closures,” Ward said. “For the past 15 months, Pennsylvanians have experienced unprecedented government intrusion into their lives without any input from their elected representatives in the General Assembly. Today’s action ensures that does not happen in the future.”
The proposal was amended in the Senate on Tuesday to prohibit the Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary from requiring face masks, travel restrictions, social distancing, shelter in place and closures of privately owned businesses and also prohibit higher education institutions that receive state subsidies from requiring vaccines from its students and faculty.
The bill now advances to the House of Representatives for its consideration.