Indiana Republicans have introduced a bill that could greatly restrict the ability of the state’s private businesses to establish meaningful vaccine policies.
House Bill 1001 — which has more than 50 co-sponsors and is the first bill to be introduced for the 2022 session — would not allow an employer to implement a vaccine policy without allowing its employees to be eligible for medical and religious exemptions. It would also not allow companies to create a vaccine policy program that didn’t include the ability to opt out for testing — which could occur no more than once a week, and at no cost to the employee. Also, if an employee tests positive for the virus, they cannot be mandated to recieve a vaccine until six months after their recovery date. It would also not allow an employer to take action against an employee for requesting or using an exemption.
Another aspect of the bill is that state or local governments would not be able to require an immunization passport.
The bill has one Republican sponsor and 55 Republican co-sponsors — 78% of the Indiana House’s Republican caucus.
The bill was expected to be addressed by the majority Republican legislature during a one-day special session on Monday, but that was canceled by lawmakers after the bill received significant pushback from the health care industry and some large businesses in the state.
It will now be revisited during the state’s legislative session in January.
President Joe Biden’s rules regarding federal contractors, the majority of health care workers and employees of large companies would override a state law, although several of those policies are currently being challenged in court.
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