Bill Description: House Bill 604 would prevent, with some exceptions, the government from requiring that a person submit proof of vaccination to receive government services, enter a government venue, or be employed by government.
Analyst Note: House Bill 604 is one of several bills introduced this session that deals with preventing or limiting the scope of vaccine mandates in Idaho.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
House Bill 604 creates Section 67-2359, Idaho Code, to take some steps toward limiting the government's ability to violate individual liberty by coercing individuals into receiving a vaccination.
Specifically, it says, "No person shall be required to receive any vaccination or to provide proof of any other form of immunization or negative laboratory test result for a communicable disease in order to apply for or receive services provided by the state or a political subdivision of the state; enter or remain in a government venue; or be hired by the state or maintain employment with the state."
It also says, "An employee of the state or a political subdivision of the state may not be discriminated against on the basis of such employee's immunization status, including decisions relating to promotion, compensation, or job duties."
Unfortunately, the bill provides several exceptions when it comes to employment, which allow the government to require "an employee who has previously tested positive for a communicable disease to provide a negative laboratory test result for such disease in order to return to work." Another exception exists for "an employee to be tested for a communicable disease if the employee was potentially exposed to such disease during the course and scope of employment." There is a third exception for employees, which allows vaccine mandates "for an employee whose job duties include travel to a state, territory, or country that requires such vaccination."
An additional exception says the entire section does not apply to any vaccine mandate "imposed by the federal government." This provision gives the federal government veto power over state policy.
These exceptions do not entirely negate the value of this new section, but they do weaken it considerably.
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