(The Center Square) – An Ohio bill that would end COVID-19 vaccination mandates and nearly passed the House last week is back before another committee with care groups from statewide health lined up in opposition.
House Bill 435, the Vaccine Fairness Act, was the subject of hearings before the House Labor and Commerce Committee on Wednesday and Thursday.
The legislation would provide broad exemptions for COVID-19 vaccination mandates from public and private employers and schools. It would also prevent any entity from imposing a COVID-19 vaccine that has not been fully approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and ban government-ordered vaccine passports.
The House was ready to pass the bill on September 29, but instead referred it to the House Rules and References Committee. From there he traveled to the Labor and Trade Committee, where Democrats questioned what they called the fringe views of supporters and Republicans.
“Today, I heard comments from members of the Republican committee that they fear losing Ohio workers to vaccination warrants,” said Representative Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown. âThis is the same radical right-wing conservative party that wants to cut unemployment benefits because there are too many job opportunities available right now. These are the politicians who still believe COVID-19, which has killed more than 700,000 Americans, is just as bad as the flu.
âYoung people are already leaving this state, and I can promise you it’s not because of the vaccine. This is because they are fed up with the majority party’s constant submission to conspiracy theorists who are determined to undermine public confidence in an effective and scientifically proven vaccine, âLepore-Hagan said.
The opponent’s testimony Thursday came from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Hospital Association, the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, the Ohio State Medical Association and many others who said the legislation would endanger lives and cause economic disruption.
“Businesses have a responsibility to assess the risk of exposure to disease and develop a plan to protect their customers and staff from health and safety risks,” said Monica Hueckel, senior director of government relations at the Ohio State Medical Association. “By expanding exemptions for vaccination requirements, HB 435 would effectively deny most Ohio business owners and operators the right to set standards to prevent employees from posing a direct safety threat to themselves.” to each other and to other people in the workplace. “
The bill allows people to be exempt from vaccines with proof of a negative medical reaction, religious or conscience reasons. It covers employees in the private and public sectors, as well as students of public and private schools, colleges and universities.
The bill would still allow a private company to require proof of vaccine or a negative test for customers and does not apply to people working in a children’s hospital, intensive care unit or intensive care unit, those covered by a collective agreement or employees hired after the effective date.