Legislation proposed to ban vaccine passports

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – A LaRue County lawmaker plans to introduce legislation during the 2022 General Assembly that would prohibit the use of so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports in Kentucky.

Under the proposal, sponsored by Rep. Brandon Reed, R-Hodgenville, government entities, schools and businesses would be prevented from demanding proof of vaccination from individuals seeking services.

Vaccine passports are documents that provide evidence of an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination. Reed’s measure would specifically ban government bodies, school districts and business entities from requiring patrons or customers to provide vaccine passports to gain access, entry or service.

The legislation does not restrict these entities from instituting screening protocols such as temperature checks to protect public health. It also exempts hospitals, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers from the provisions in this bill.  

“While the Biden administration says it has no plans to require vaccine passports, we want to send a clear message that Kentuckians will not accept this kind of government overreach,” Reed said. “Under no circumstances should citizens be required to release their personal medical information. Kentuckians have the right to make the best medical decision for them and their family in consultation with their physician, but they should not be forced to share that decision to go about their daily life.”  

Several other states, including neighboring Indiana, are taking steps to push back on requiring proof of vaccination. However, while some states are banning the practice, New York is moving forward on implementing a digital vaccine passport program called Excelsior Pass that shows someone’s vaccination status. 

“New York has already taken steps to create a vaccine passport system, and it is imperative Kentucky stop this incursion into our civil liberties before it begins here at home,” Reed noted. “I believe establishing rules that require proof of vaccination is a dangerous and slippery slope. We must make a strong stance against this. This legislation is a bold, preventive step that moves us in the right direction to safeguard Kentuckians’ fundamental freedoms.”

He added, “This bill strikes the right balance between protecting the rights of our citizens and keeping the necessary safety protocols in place to ensure public safety.”

The legislation, currently designated BR 65, can be viewed here. It will be up for consideration during the 2022 legislative session, which is scheduled to convene on January 4, 2022. 

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