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Idaho House passes bill to ban COVID-19 vaccine requirements

The legislation to impose a one-year ban on COVID-19 vaccine requirements by businesses, venues or employers in the state now heads to the governor's desk.

BOISE, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press

Despite opposition from some Idaho businesses, the Idaho House on Friday gave final passage to the “Coronavirus Pause Act,” sending legislation to the governor’s desk to impose a one-year ban on COVID-19 vaccine requirements by businesses, venues or employers in the state.

The House vote was 45-23 in favor of SB 1381, which had earlier passed the Senate.

The only exceptions allowed in the bill are for health care workers subject to federal law, existing contractual arrangements, and employees who are required to travel out of state or enter specific work areas where vaccines are required. Violations would be misdemeanors punishable by $1,000 fines. 

Rep. Ben Adams, R-Nampa, the House sponsor of the bill, said it’s “to try and resolve an issue that was in the forefront of everyone’s mind here in Idaho: People were losing their jobs over a shot. And this legislation is a culmination of all those efforts.” 

Numerous bills have been introduced by GOP lawmakers this year to outlaw vaccine mandates from private businesses. Among them: The House earlier passed HB 581, sponsored by Rep. Charlie Shepherd, R-Pollock, to make it a crime for any employer, even of just a single in-home caregiver, to inquire about an employee’s vaccine status.

Shepherd spoke in favor of SB 1381 on Friday.

“We showed courage, we showed the initiative to defend the individual rights of the citizens of this state when we passed that bill and sent it to the other side,” Shepherd said, referring to the Senate, where HB 581 didn’t advance. “I congratulate the folks on the other side of the rotunda for listening to the people and bringing this back to us. It’s what I consider a compromise. … They chose the individual rights of the citizens over the pocketbook of the business.”

It's now up to Gov. Brad Little to sign the bill into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature. He has five days to act.

HOW THEY VOTED

Here’s how Treasure Valley representatives voted on SB 1381, the “Coronavirus Pause Act” on business and employer vaccine requirements: 

Voting in favor:

Reps. Ben Adams, R-Nampa; Judy Boyle, R-Midvale; Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell; Brent Crane, R-Nampa; Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle; Greg Ferch, R-Boise; Codi Galloway, R-Boise; Steven Harris, R-Meridian; James Holtzclaw, R-Meridian; Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth; Jason Monks, R-Meridian; Mike Moyle, R-Star; Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton; Joe Palmer, R-Meridian; Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa; John Vander Woude, R-Nampa; Julie Yamamoto, R-Caldwell; and Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa. 

Voting against:

Reps. Steve Berch, D-Boise; Sue Chew, D-Boise; John Gannon, D-Boise; Brooke Green, D-Boise; Chris Mathias, D-Boise; John McCrostie, D-Garden City; Colin Nash, D-Boise; Lauren Necochea, D-Boise; Ilana Rubel, D-Boise; and Scott Syme, R-Caldwell.

This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.

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