Recent bill would ban 'vaccine passports' in Louisiana

As the world continues to fight against covid-19, many are desperate for a sense of normalcy. One possible solution that’s been discussed is vaccine passports. But one lawmaker in Louisiana is trying to prevent such a thing.

Posted: May 1, 2021 5:54 PM
Updated: May 1, 2021 6:19 PM

LOUISIANA - As the world continues to fight against covid-19, many are desperate for a sense of normalcy. One possible solution that’s been discussed is vaccine passports. But one lawmaker in Louisiana is trying to prevent such a thing.

State representative Kathy Edmonston recently authored House Bill 349 which would ban the concept of vaccine passports in Louisiana.

"We want the government to do the government’s job and let citizens have their rights and freedoms that are god given and also given by the constitution," Edmonston said.

Across the country, states are split on the concept of vaccine passports with some crafting laws that would require them, while others are crafting laws that would ban them. Kathy Edmonston says Louisiana citizens don’t want such a thing.

"We just wanted to make sure, the people of this state wanted to make certain that we had closed that door to the driver license being a form of any kind of passport id, a vaccination status type," she said.

With the Biden Administration already saying they don’t plan on federally mandating citizens carry a vaccine credential, UL-Lafayette Political Science professor, Dr. Rick Swanson says he doesn’t quite understand the need for such a bill.

"I’m not really sure what the purpose of this proposed bill is going to do. Just because there’s nothing on your state id card doesn’t mean businesses for example can’t require you to provide other documentation," Swanson said.

Businesses having the authority to refuse anyone based on their vaccine status is something UL-Lafayette communications professor, Dr. William R. Davie agrees with.

"If a business wants to refuse service to persons who refuse to mask or haven’t been vaccinated, that is the private industry's right and I agree with that, that they have that perspective," Davie said.

Leaving less power to the government and giving more to the people is exactly what Edmonston’s bill aims to do.

"Private business will have the opportunity to do whatever they feel like they need to do and I think people need to comply with that. But as far as the government goes, I represent the people, I’m in government, I want to make sure that our government in Louisiana does not discriminate against anyone," Edmonston said.

Edmonston also authored House Resolution 20 which would require elementary, secondary and higher education institutions that require a covid-19 vaccine to inform parents or students of their right to refuse receiving the vaccine.

House Bill 349 will make its way to the Senate Committee next. Should it pass, it would go to the senate floor for a full vote before making its way to the governor.

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