Indiana House Shuts Down Efforts to Ban Vaccine Passports

April 15, 2021 Updated: April 15, 2021

Indiana House lawmakers on Monday used procedural rules to block a vote on adopting an amendment on a bill that would prohibit businesses from asking about a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

The amendment to SB 325 was offered by Rep. Brad Barrett (R-Richmond), a retired physician, which states that government and businesses cannot “require a member of the public to provide documentation regarding an individual’s vaccination status.”

It also sought to make it so that government and businesses wouldn’t be able to ask an individual to reveal their vaccination status for COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, in order to enter a venue or company.

“Essentially, where I’m coming from with this amendment is the fact that this vaccine [for COVID-19] is still emergency-use authorization,” Barrett said. “It is not an FDA-approved vaccine. The science is still pending. The vaccine has only really been in use since December and so we really don’t even have six months of data.

“To me, there are just too many holes in the science that would require that kind of personal information,” Barrett added.

Democratic lawmaker Robin Shackleford of Indianapolis challenged that certain businesses, such as those in the travel industry, should have the right to question a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

“I believe that it is their choice,” Shackleford said. “They are a business; they want to keep their customers safe.”

According to The Center Square, Speaker of the House Todd Huston (R-Fishers) ruled that Barrett’s amendment was out of order.

Using procedural rules, House Democrats blocked a vote on the amendment, effectively shutting down efforts to ban vaccine passports in the state for the time being, WFYI Indianapolis reported.

Vaccine passports are typically an app with a code that verifies whether someone has been vaccinated or recently tested negative for COVID-19. Versions of the passport are in use in Israel and under development in parts of Europe, seen by advocates as a way to safely help rebuild the pandemic-devastated travel industry.

They are intended to allow businesses to more safely open up as the vaccine drive gains momentum.

Civil liberties groups have said that they would potentially violate Americans’ privacy rights while denying key services to people who are not vaccinated.

After several GOP governors issued executive orders barring them, White House Press Secretary signaled earlier this month that the Biden administration will not be supporting or developing CCP virus vaccine passports.

“The government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential. There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential,” Psaki said during a White House press conference.

New York state, however, has rolled out its “Excelsior Pass” system that would mandate people show that they have been vaccinated when trying to enter certain events and locations such as Madison Square Garden in New York City. It’s not yet clear if the Excelsior Pass will be used in other places.

Jack Phillips and The Associated Press contributed to this report.