Republicans in Oregon have introduced a bill that would bar the state from implementing “vaccine passport” systems.
Last month, Oregon’s Health Authority issued guidance that residents can go maskless outside but must show proof of vaccination to forgo wearing masks inside, including in houses of worship, businesses, and other venues.
Now, Oregon state Sen. Kim Thatcher has introduced a bill that would ban public and private entities from using vaccination status as a condition for employment or service, and it would keep governments from preventing residents from exercising their First Amendment rights due to COVID-19 risks. COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
“The Governor’s vaccine passport scheme is an extreme invasion of Oregonians’ privacy,” Thatcher said in a news release last week. “No Oregonian should have to divulge medical information to participate in everyday life. This bill is about making clear Oregonians’ rights, which have been railroaded by the Governor during the pandemic. One person cannot and should not have this much power over Oregonians’ lives and livelihoods.”
Thatcher, according to a news release, cited a survey conducted in May from the Medford Chamber of Commerce that found 93 percent of businesses had no intention of implementing a policy that would condition mask-free service on an individual’s vaccination status. Thatcher further argued that such a measure would violate residents’ basic constitutional rights.
It comes days after Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, stated that she wants to see the state reach a 70 percent vaccination rate by the end of the month. The state, according to Brown, would be able to re-open if that benchmark is reached.
“I want to be very clear that we are able to reopen like this because of the efficacy of the vaccines. For those of you who are vaccinated, you’ve helped us reach this point — and you are protected from this virus,” Brown said in a statement. “However, there are still Oregonians who need to take extra precautions to feel and stay safe. People battling cancer and immunocompromised Oregonians, to name a couple. There are also many Oregon kids who are not yet eligible for a vaccine.”
Vaccine passports have been criticized by Republicans and civil liberties groups, who have argued they would create two classes of vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, last week said that he will work to enforce state law amid a fracas with cruise companies over vaccines.
DeSantis in May signed a measure that would prohibit vaccine passports.
The Epoch Times has contacted Brown’s office for comment.