Proposed Idaho law would protect coronavirus unvaccinated

Proposed Idaho law would protect coronavirus unvaccinated

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation preventing most private and public entities in Idaho from discriminating against people who haven’t received the coronavirus vaccine cleared a Senate panel on Thursday.

The Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee approved the measure that prevents employers from requiring employees get the vaccine or entities requiring visitors or attendees be vaccinated.

Violations would be a misdemeanor punishable with a $1,000 penalty.

Republican Senate President Pro-Tem Chuck Winder said the bill, called the “Coronavirus Pause Act,” finds the right balance.

But opponents said it creates special protections for one group of people and imposes additional regulations on businesses.

The measure has exemptions involving federal law, existing employee-employer contracts, and businesses that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.

The measure contains an emergency clause to take effect when signed into law. It also contains wording that, if it becomes law, it will expire one year after the termination of all state declarations of emergencies related to coronavirus in Idaho.

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Republican Gov. Brad Little announced earlier this week that he will lift the state’s public health emergency disaster declaration on April 15, just over two years since it was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That means if the bill becomes law, it would expire on April 15, 2023.

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