Idaho House approves bill to prevent vaccine discrimination
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation preventing most private and public entities in Idaho from discriminating against people who haven’t received the coronavirus vaccine headed to the governor’s desk on Friday.
The House voted 45-23 to approve the measure preventing employers from requiring employees to get the vaccine or entities requiring visitors or attendees to be vaccinated. Violations would be a misdemeanor punishable with a $1,000 penalty.
The measure has exemptions involving federal law, existing employee-employer contracts, and businesses that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Backers said the bill finds the right balance between protecting employees’ rights and businesses’ ability to stay open.
No one debated against the bill on the House floor, but opponents have previously said it creates special protections for one group of people and imposes additional regulations on businesses.
The measure, if it becomes law, will expire one year after the termination of all state emergency declarations related to coronavirus.
Republican Gov. Brad Little announced earlier this month that he will lift the state’s public health emergency disaster declaration on April 15, just over two years since it was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.
That means if the bill becomes law, it will expire on April 15, 2023.