New vaccination bill: what does it mean for those unvaccinated?
Jan 3, 2023, 3:00 PM
(Governor Cox getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Spanish Fork. Credit: KSL TV, Facebook)
SALT LAKE CITY –Today marks exactly two weeks to the start of the 2023 legislative session. State lawmakers are already hard at work on a number of bills addressing Utahn’s health and safety.
More specifically, one of those bills would make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their vaccination status. The bill sponsored by Walt Brooks is called HB131.
Contextually, during the hiring process, if you’re a public employer like a hospital, you can deny a prospective employee if they do not have a vaccine. With the new bill that will be illegal.
Additionally, businesses won’t be able to require an employee receive a vaccination.
“We wouldn’t even be having this conversation if it weren’t for COVID,” said KSL legal analyst Greg Skordas.
“It would have been entirely appropriate for schools and business to say, ‘hey we don’t want you in here unless you’ve had your smallpox or your flu vaccine.”
Further, HB131 pertains to not only employers but also facilities like the Vivant Arena.
The bill hinges on the 1964 Civil Rights Act and is arguing to label people who choose not to be vaccinated as a protected class. Protected classes include identity traits like race gender and religion.
Skordas questions if we can consider those without a vaccine among the list.
“Is immunity status ever contemplated to be apart of that group?” Skordas questioned. “I think it is going to be a really hard one for legislature to get over the constitutional problems they are going to have with this bill.”
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