GOVERNMENT

Time quickly running out for contentious ‘vaccine passport’ bill

Mar 3, 2022, 7:51 PM | Updated: Mar 4, 2022, 12:00 pm
(Utah State Capitol, March 3, 2022.  Photo: Paul Nelson)...
(Utah State Capitol, March 3, 2022. Photo: Paul Nelson)
(Utah State Capitol, March 3, 2022. Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY — Time is running out for the controversial “vaccine passport” bill. Lawmakers says it has to go through two floor debates, and the bill’s sponsors would only have one day to get it done.

Vaccine passport

Lawmakers have been trying to make many changes to House Bill 60, with seven substitutes being proposed.  The Deseret News reports it would prohibit businesses and government agencies from requiring a “vaccine passport” before letting people enter.

The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee supported one of those substitute bills with a 7-2 vote. However, the committee meeting became so heated, some spectators were thrown out after committee chair Sen. Dan McCay said they were violating committee rules.

McCay can be heard on the meeting recording ordering one man to leave.  “You’re removed.  Highway Patrol, he’s leaving now.  Now!”

McCay told KSL, “In 11 legislative sessions that I’ve been up here, I’ve never seen anything like it, and I hope never to see it, again.”

(One man being removed from the committee meeting after refusing to cover a political shirt. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, March 1, 2022)

The bill sent back to ‘rules committee’

By the end of the floor debate on Thursday night, the Senate had not talked about HB 60. Nor did House leadership place it on the Senate reading calendar.  Currently, the bill sits in the Senate Rules Committee, which essentially means it’s in the hopper and ready to be called up to the floor at a moment’s notice.

That doesn’t mean the bill is being placed on the proverbial “back burner,” or that it won’t be brought up for discussion on the final day of the session.  Political analysts say it just means other bills are considered as a higher priority by House leadership.  If the bill were to pass, it has a long journey ahead of it, with very little time.  Since a substitute version was passed in the Senate committee, it has to go through a debate on the Senate floor, then go through another debate in the House.

When sponsor, Rep. Walt Brooks, was asked if he believes the bill would be brought on for floor discussion, he responded, “This is the time where there are a lot of bills competing for very limited time.  I hope it does.”

A spokesman for the Senate sponsor, Sen. Michael Kennedy, sent a statement to KSL saying, “Senator Kennedy believes it will likely be heard before the end of the session, and the legislation is important to protect the privacy and medical freedom of Utahns.”

Lawmakers don’t like focusing too much on one bill during last day

House leadership could decide to make the bill an immediate priority for Senators.  They could put HB 60 in front of other bills that are already on the calendar.  Will that happen?  McCay has his doubts.  Generally, legislators don’t like to spend much time debating one particular bill on the session’s final day.

He said, “Bills that take a lot of time on the last two days… those are hard bills to put on the floor because [lawmakers] know that every minute we’re not dealing with other bills, they’re dying.”

Given how heated the last committee debate became, McCay believes there will be long discussions about the bill if it reaches either floor.

“I think the debate for both the House and the Senate will be robust and will take time.  I think that’s appropriate because getting that policy right is really important,” he said.  “Contentious bills are tough on the last couple of days, but that doesn’t mean they never happen.”

Read more:

Today’s Top Stories

Government

supreme court pictured, its new term has started and will hear new cases...
Aimee Cobabe

U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear Utah case involving bump stocks

A Utah court case involving bump stocks will not be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court declined to say why it won't take up the case.
1 day ago
supreme court pictured, its new term has started and will hear new cases...
The Associated Press

Supreme Court’s top cases for new term, new Justice Jackson

Already the Supreme Court has said it will decide cases on a range of major issues including affirmative action, voting rights and the rights of LGBTQ people.
1 day ago
Lisa Garner. Photo credit Draper City....
Mark Jones

Lisa Garner has support of Draper mayor to become next city judge

Draper Mayor Troy Walker is seeking the appointment of Lisa Garner as the city's next judge. The appointment must be approved by the city council on Oct. 4.
4 days ago
US President Joe Biden announces student loan relief on August 24, 2022 in the Roosevelt Room of th...
Betsy Klein and MJ Lee, CNN

Biden administration kicks off student loan debt forgiveness process

The Biden administration began its efforts aimed at student loan forgiveness on Thursday.
4 days ago
A sign for the Food and Drug Administration is seen outside of the headquarters in July 2020 in Whi...
Jacqueline Howard, CNN

ALS drug gets FDA approval despite uncertainty about effectiveness

The US Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment for ALS on Thursday.
4 days ago
Utah airbnb rentals rising interest rates affecting millennial home buyers...
Mark Jones

Eviction filings on the rise in Utah, compared to this time last year

The Rental Housing Association of Utah says eviction filings in Utah saw a 46% increase in the first six months of this year as compared to the same time in 2021.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Time quickly running out for contentious ‘vaccine passport’ bill