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North Dakota House passes coronavirus vaccine mandate bill

November 12, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota House representatives have passed a bill that bans government entities, below the federal level, from ordering coronavirus vaccine mandates.

The bill passed late Thursday and headed for the Senate Friday also expands exceptions for employees to opt-out of a COVID-19 vaccine, including allowing employees to regularly test for COVID-19, prove they have antibodies built up or claim medical, religious or philosophical exemptions.

Companies would still be allowed to install their own vaccine mandates, KFYR-TV reported. The bill says state and local government entities can’t require individuals to disclose their vaccination or antibody status unless they are incarcerated or receiving care at the state hospital or a public health unit.

The legislation would not apply to employers if they are required to comply with federal vaccine mandates, which could include hospitals, nursing homes, federal contractors and businesses with more than 100 workers.

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North Dakota has joined three lawsuits against the Biden administration in an attempt to strike down vaccine mandates for health care workers, federal contractors and large businesses.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Robin Weisz, of Hurdsfield, and passed the lower chamber on a 80-11 vote.