Bill Description: House Bill 708 would place some limits on when the state government can require proof of a coronavirus vaccination.
Analyst Note: House Bill 708 shares some similarities with House 604, introduced earlier this session, but the protections House Bill 708 provides for individual rights are substantially reduced, rendering the bill largely ineffective.
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 708 would create Section 67-2359, Idaho Code, to place some limits on when the state government can require proof of a coronavirus vaccination.
House Bill 604 does this as well, but there is a stark difference between these two bills. House Bill 604 applies these limits to "any vaccination" while House Bill 708 applies them only to "a coronavirus vaccination."
Likewise, references to "a communicable disease" that existed in House Bill 604 are changed to refer only to "coronavirus" in House Bill 708.
The rest of the troubling exceptions from House Bill 604 also make their way into House Bill 708, such as allowing forced testing in the case of possible exposure. It adds a list of blanket exceptions, saying the limits don't apply to schools, day cares, or any vaccine mandate "imposed by the federal government."
This latter provision gives the federal government veto power over state policy.
An additional exception was added to House Bill 708 to say that government employees can be forced to receive a coronavirus vaccine if their job duties include "entry into a private location that requires such vaccination."
The greatest problem with House Bill 708, however, is that it is essentially meaningless. It only applies to the coronavirus, and not to any other virus that governments may decide to use as a pretext for infringing on individual liberty.
Over the last two years, we have all witnessed a shocking onslaught of unconstitutional violations of individual rights such as business shutdowns, mask mandates, vaccine mandates, and the forced isolation of patients from their friends and families. These intolerable violations of individual rights have set dangerous precedents for future abuses that will continue unless new laws permanently bar them from ever taking place again.
Laws that are limited strictly to the coronavirus will have no lasting impact and provide no ongoing protection against the violation of individual rights. The violations themselves must be prohibited without limiting the prohibitions to any specific pretexts.
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