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.
AIM State Legislative Round-Up
Most legislative sessions are now in full swing, and AIM continues to stand ready to support you as you navigate these potentially challenging waters. View the short video of tips for testifying before state legislatures below, and please reach out to AIM Chief Policy and Government Relations Officer Brent Ewig with any requests for assistance.
As of March 2, at least 497 immunization-related bills have been introduced or carried over from previous sessions. The action appears to be happening in every state except three, and at least 24 bills have been recently enacted.
While too soon to definitively identify any new trends, the focus on prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine requirements and efforts to expand exemptions continues. Examples of recently enacted bills include the following:
- An individual may object to the administration of a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine based on religious, medical, or other grounds. (AK)
- An act prohibiting the mandatory disclosure of whether a person has received a vaccination for COVID-19 and disqualifying certain entities from receiving state grants or contracts if noncompliant. (IA)
- Requiring employers who impose COVID-19 vaccine requirements to allow medical and religious exemptions, providing for waiver requests, authorizing a complaint and investigation process with the secretary of labor for violations related to exemptions, enforcement actions by the attorney general and civil penalties to be imposed by a court for such violations. (KS)
- Prohibiting discrimination based on vaccine status or possessing an immunity passport. (MT)
Finally, while it is unclear how this might affect state legislation, Politico recently reported that at least five states that previously opposed the concept of so-called vaccine passports are now quietly embracing the technology behind them.
Report from the Congressional Research Service on State and Federal Authority to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination