Bills look to protect unvaccinated people against lawsuits, discrimination

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – There were two bills in the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee that pertain to the COVID-19 vaccine. They talk about the legality of mandates and how legally people can protect themselves if they choose not to get the vaccine.

A bill by Representative Danny McCormick looks to shield people from civil lawsuits if they do not take the vaccine and their employer is requiring it. Those in support said employees should be able to opt out of vaccines for religious or other reasons since the vaccine is new and people already have the right to with other vaccines. Some feel they want to wait to get the COVID vaccine or they don’t want it at all.

“When something has been approved under emergency use authorization then we are not, by law, able to mandate it,” Representative Beryl Amedee, a Houma Republican.

A bill by representative Kathy Edmonston, a Republican from Honzales, would prohibit discrimination against people who are not vaccinated by public and government entities.

“Given the national and worldwide conversation around vaccine and digital passports, which would create a two tiered society; those vaccinated and those not, this bill would not allow public entities to discriminate based on vaccine or immune status,” Rep. Edmonston said.

She stated that families of students are concerned they will not be able to finish their education due to vaccine requirements.

“They felt that the coercive nature of the communication they received impacted their own right to make medical decisions for themselves,” Rep. Edmonston said.

She also said vaccine passports will create a two tiered society, those vaccinated and those not. People against the bill touched on how the safety of the vaccines has been proven and say the risk of spreading the virus is far worse than the risks of the vaccine.

Representative Robby Carter, and Amite Democrat, is a kidney transplant recipient — making him greatly at risk for COVID. Even vaccinated he is told he has a higher risk and he wants those requirements to stand to keep him and others safe.

“I have seen my friends dying because of it and my doctor is telling me if you catch it you don’t have that good of a chance of living,” Rep. Carter said. “So I want to be around people who are vaccinated the best I can.”

There was extensive debate on if agencies have the authority to mandate vaccines and if people will be protected if they opt out.

The committee chairman tried to move the arguments back towards the bills themselves and not on the efficacy and the science behind the vaccine. Both bills were approved and moved on to the House floor for further debate.

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