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PA Senate Passes Bill To Ban Vaccine Passports In State

Patch logo Patch 6/10/2021 Eric Heyl
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HARRISBURG, PA — The state Senate has approved legislation that would prohibit so-called "vaccine passports." The bill would ban the state, as well as counties, municipalities, school districts and colleges subsidized by taxpayers from requiring proof of coronavirus vaccination.

The vote was 29-20. The bill now goes to the state House for approval .

The measure was introduced after other states advanced various proposals to require vaccination of residents to engage in day-to-day activities such as attending large gatherings. It also was intended to keep the state from implementing a statewide vaccine passport smartphone app.


Video: Pennsylvania Senate passes bill to ban vaccine passports (WGAL Lancaster-Harrisburg)

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“As every Pennsylvanian who wants to receive the vaccine does so, we are saying the state or local governmental entities should not involve itself in personal health care information of the public,” said Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill of York County, a co-sponsor of the bill.

“We have seen failures in the state in how it mismanaged personal health care data in its contact tracing program, so the Senate took a firm stand that the state will not continue its ‘data creep’ into these very sensitive records and information by avoiding the slippery slope that is a vaccine passport.”

The proposal was amended in the Senate before its passage to prohibit the state health secretary from requiring face masks, travel restrictions, social distancing, shelter in place orders and and closures of privately owned businesses. It also would ban higher education institutions that receive state subsidies from requiring vaccines for its students and faculty.

Said Sen. Judy Ward of Blair County, who introduced the amendment: "This bill at all levels is about preventing government overreach whether it's mandating a vaccine or mandating masking, social isolation, or business closures. For the past 15 months, Pennsylvanians have experienced unprecedented government intrusion into their lives without any input from their elected representatives in the General Assembly. ”

The restrictions on the health secretary prompted Gov. Tom Wolf to indicate he likely will veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

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