AIM Legislative Round-Up: April 29, 2022

AIM State Legislative Round-Up

We continue to see a flurry of vaccine-related legislative activity, especially as many state legislatures rush to adjournment. While most of the AIM reporting has focused on anti-vaccine proposals, we wanted to use this round-up to highlight a small bright spot. Both California and the District of Columbia recently passed legislation that provides paid sick leave for certain covered employees for the time needed to attend vaccination appointments. Information on these bills is available here and here. Finally, as an addendum to the last video on working with coalitions, we wanted to highlight a new organization working to build momentum for pro-vaccine policy and policymakers. The SAFE Communities Coalition was recently formed with a mandate to advocate for pro-science legislation, elect pro-science candidates, and defeat anti-vaccination candidates. More information on their work can be found here.

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AIM Legislative Round-Up: April 15, 2022

AIM State Legislative Round-Up

Close to a dozen legislative sessions have now adjourned with many more heading to the home stretch soon. We expect to continue to see a lot of immunization-related legislative action. A recent analysis by the Network for Public Health Law details COVID-19-related legislation and broader proposed limitations on public health authority introduced in all 50 states and DC from September 1, 2021, through March 15, 2022. This confirms many of the trends we’ve been seeing in our analysis and includes:

234 bills that directly involve vaccines. Among the proposed changes were bills that would:

  • Prohibit the state from recognizing certain federal vaccine mandates
  • Prohibit state agencies and agents of the state from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination status
  • Prohibit an employer from requiring that employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a pre-condition to employment
  • Prohibit schools from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for school attendance and activities

141 bills would result in shifts of authority which could impact vaccine requirements either from:

  • A local public health agency to another local entity
  • A local public health agency to state public health agency or state legislature
  • A state public health agency to the state’s governor or state legislature
  • A state executive to state legislature

An additional 109 bills impact emergency orders. These do not likely impact the federal emergency declarations that affect vaccine coverage, funding, and provider authority, but do underscore the connections and the public mood.

Finally, the webinar on lobbying and advocacy differences mentioned in this week’s policy tips video is called Public Health Advocacy: The Basics and is available from ChangeLab Solutions.

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AIM Legislative Round-Up: March 18, 2022

AIM State Legislative Round-Up

We continue to see a lot of action around vaccine policy in state legislatures. The Infectious Diseases Prevention Network recently conducted an analysis on a sample of ten states and found close to 600 vaccine-related bills introduced in these ten states: LA – 33 bills introduced, FL – 61, WI – 69, OK – 99, TN – 86, AZ – 63, GA – 50, ID – 24, MI – 72, and OH 42.

Emerging themes continue to focus on:

1) Employers:  preventing employers from requiring COVID vaccine and creating employer liability for any adverse events caused by mandated vaccines

2) Schools: blocking schools’ ability to require COVID vaccine and preventing schools from hosting vaccine clinics

3) Civil Rights: casting vaccine status as a protected class under the rubric of civil rights

 AIM continues to be concerned that anti-COVID vaccine sentiment may spillover to undermine broader immunization infrastructure and long-standing policies.  As always, we stand ready to assist you in addressing proposed legislation as needed – please contact policy consultant Brent Ewig ([email protected]) for customized assistance.  Following are a few additional examples of recent state actions (although please note this is not a comprehensive review.)

Falsification of vaccine records

  • NY AB 8700 was enacted on 2/24/22. This law makes it a crime to falsify COVID-19 vaccination records and/or alter or destroy computer records indicating a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

Exemptions

  • UT H63 was sent to the governor on 3/4/22. This bill requires an employer to exempt an employee or a prospective employee from a coronavirus vaccine requirement if the employee or prospective employee submits a primary care provider’s note stating that the employee or prospective employee was previously infected by coronavirus. 
  • SC S838 moved out of committee to the Senate floor for a vote. This bill prohibits the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine without parental consent (in SC, this is minors under 16).   

Exemptions

  • UT H63 was sent to the governor on 3/4/22. This bill requires an employer to exempt an employee or a prospective employee from a coronavirus vaccine requirement if the employee or prospective employee submits a primary care provider’s note stating that the employee or prospective employee was previously infected by coronavirus. 
  • SC S838 moved out of committee to the Senate floor for a vote. This bill prohibits the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine without parental consent (in SC, this is minors under 16). 

COVID Daycare and School Mandates

  • IA HF2298 (formerly HF 2040) passed the house and moved to the senate. This bill prohibits any licensed childcare center, elementary or secondary school, or post-secondary from requiring COVID-19 vaccine for enrollment prior to July 1, 2029. 

Mandates

  • NH HB1455 moved out of committee to the house floor. This bill would prohibit the state enforcement of Federal vaccine mandates. 
  • OK HB3878 is a new proposal that would require employers to offer exemptions to vaccine mandates and stipulates any employee under 18 years of age is not required to receive any vaccinations without the written permission of a parent or guardian. 
  • OK SB1128 proposes to prevent mandates of vaccines for COVID-19 under EUA or that have been fully licensed but available for less than five years. This bill stipulates that this does not apply to entities that must mandate vaccine to receive federal funding. 
  • OK SB765 was carried over from the 2021 session. This bill proposed to prohibit employers to condition employment attainment or retention based on compliance for a vaccine requirement, not limited to COVID, and with no exception for healthcare settings or other workplaces that have vaccine requirements. 
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