Bill would ban vaccination proof to enter civic facilities
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State and local governments and educational institutions in Louisiana could not require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for entry into government facilities under legislation advanced by a state Senate committee Tuesday.
The 4-2 vote sends the House-passed bill by Rep. Larry Bagley, a Republican from Stonewall, to the full Senate.
As it came out of the committee the bill would subject any government or state-run educational institution to civil penalties if they require COVID-19 vaccinations for entry.
Backers say government entities should not be asking about a person’s health status. Opponents of the bill said they did not want local governments subjected to civil fines for trying to prevent the spread of the disease.
The bill would not apply to government health care facilities that would risk losing federal funding under any federal requirements for vaccines. It passed the House last month on a 59-26 vote. If approved by the Senate, it would go back to the House for approval of a Senate amendment.
More legislation affecting vaccine mandates was approved in the House on Tuesday. Employers in Louisiana who require workers to get COVID-19 vaccinations would have to provide exemptions for religious or medical reasons under the bill, which still has a long way to go in the legislative process.
Rep. Kathy Edmonston, a Republican from Gonzales, was able to get the exemption language amended on to related legislation over the objection of Rep. Robby Carter, who said the bill was an unwarranted government intrusion.
“Here we go again trying to tell people how to run their businesses,” said Carter, an Amite Democrat who has helped defeat similar legislation earlier in the current session.
The amendment was added to a bill by Rep. Troy Romero, a Jennings Republican. That bill says employers who allow periodic testing as an alternative to vaccinations must provide on-premises testing options at no cost to the employees.
The bill goes next to the Senate, where it will need approval by a Senate committee before it can go to a floor vote.
The deadline for final adjournment of the legislative session is Monday at 6 p.m.
Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.