The Lead

Bill banning COVID-19 ‘vaccine passports’ on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf, who vows veto

By: - June 24, 2021 4:06 pm

Legislation that would ban local and county governments, as well as public school districts and colleges and universities from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, colloquially referred to as “vaccine passports,” is on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.

The 29-21 party-line vote in the Republican-controlled state Senate comes a day after the majority GOP state House voted 112-89 to approve the legislation sponsored by Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York, and Judy Ward, R-Blair.

Wolf, a Democrat, already had said already he does not plan to implement restrictions on accessing government buildings or resources based on vaccination status, the Capital-Star reported on Wednesday.

The bill also contains language banning the state Secretary of Health “from unilaterally restricting travel of Pennsylvanians, as well as issuing stay-at-home orders and ordering masking mandates,” the bill’s sponsors said.

In a statement released after the Senate vote, Ward said she hopes Wolf will “take time to review these provisions with an open mind.”

That appears entirely unlikely. In an email, administration spokesperson Lyndsay Kensinger underlined the administration’s opposition.

“The governor will veto this anti-vaccination legislation. It’s dangerous and would undermine any attempt to protect public health in any circumstance,” she said.

Dozens of schools in Pennsylvania, including the University of PennsylvaniaCarnegie Mellon University, and Franklin and Marshall College, have already mandated staff and students receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the Capital-Star previously reported.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

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