Bill Description: Senate Bill 1381 would prohibit public and private entities from imposing coronavirus vaccine mandates in some situations while giving the federal government unlimited authority to override the prohibitions.
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?
As stated in the Declaration of Independence and acknowledged in the Constitution, individuals have certain inalienable rights. Among these rights are life and liberty, both of which are directly affected by medical choices and procedures. It is no great leap to conclude that individuals therefore have absolute and irrevocable authority over all medical procedures they may undergo, and that no entity other than the individual can ever possess legitimate authority to require someone to undergo a medical procedure.
Put simply, any vaccination mandate — and indeed any mandate for any medical procedure regardless of its source, scope, or purpose — is an indefensible violation of individual rights.
Senate Bill 1381 fails to provide meaningful or lasting protections of individual rights because it limits its scope solely to the coronavirus and it includes a sunset clause that is triggered one year "after termination or expiration of all state of emergencies related to coronavirus in Idaho."
Senate Bill 1381 would create Chapter 5, Title 73, Idaho Code, to prohibit most public and private coronavirus vaccine mandates. The bill also includes numerous exceptions.
The bill says, "A business entity doing business in the state of Idaho shall not refuse to provide any service, product, admission to a venue, or transportation to a person because that person has or has not received a coronavirus vaccination."
Another provision says, "A business entity doing business in the state of Idaho shall not require a coronavirus vaccination as a term of employment unless required by federal law or in such cases where the terms of employment include travel to foreign jurisdictions requiring coronavirus vaccinations. ..."
A third provision says, "A ticket issuer shall not penalize, discriminate against, or deny access to an entertainment event to a ticket holder because the ticket holder has or has not received a coronavirus vaccination."
Additional provisions deal with state and local governments, generally forbidding them from denying access or services to someone on the basis of not having received a coronavirus vaccination. It also forbids them from discriminating against anyone in employment matters on the basis of receiving such a vaccination.
Does it violate the principles of federalism by increasing federal authority, yielding to federal blandishments, or incorporating changeable federal laws into Idaho statutes or rules? Examples include citing federal code without noting as it is written on a certain date, using state resources to enforce federal law, and refusing to support and uphold the Tenth Amendment. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the principles of federalism?
Numerous provisions in Senate Bill 1381 affirm that the state will obsequiously comply with unconstitutional demands of the federal government. One example reads as follows: "Unless required by federal law, no state, county, or local government entity or official in Idaho shall require any person to receive a coronavirus vaccination."
Even if, for some inscrutable reason, the state of Idaho were to believe that a federal law directly violating the inalienable rights of individuals were constitutional, there is no reason why the state should participate in requiring an individual to comply with such a law.
Supreme Court precedent (e.g. Printz v. United States) is clear that states cannot be required to enforce federal law, which makes this provision of the bill unnecessary. Even in the theoretical case of a federal law mandating a coronavirus vaccination, Idaho would have the choice not to enforce this law. Senate Bill 1381 makes the opposite choice.
Public and private entities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding are also exempted from complying with the provisions of Senate Bill 1381. This exemption further negates the bill's benefits and is another flagrant example of yielding to federal blandishments.
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