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Vote Expected In Ohio House Committee On Compromise Bill On COVID Vaccines

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Karen Kasler
/
Statehouse News Bureau

This new bill comes as several other Republican-backed measures on COVID requirements and bans have been proposed.

A vote is expected in an Ohio House committee this afternoon on a bill on COVID vaccines, as several measures on vaccine and mask mandates and bans on requirements of so-called “vaccine passports” that prove COVID vaccination status are awaiting committee hearings.

House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) previewed the effort last week, saying that the Republican caucus is working on a bill that takes into account the anti-vaccine mandate views he says have been expressed by Ohioans.

A bill was introduced yesterday from Republicans Bill Seitz and Rick Carfagna. It’s just a placeholder bill with one line: “to declare the General Assembly’s intent to enact legislation regarding vaccines.” It’s expected to expand vaccine exemptions rather than ban mandates or other requirements.

There are several bills already in the legislature on COVID-related actions, including a stand-alone ban on "vaccine passports", a bill to ban both employer-required vaccine mandates and any sort of incentive based on proof of vaccination, and legislation that would ban local and state government entities from requiring employees or students to get COVID vaccines.

The most controversial bill is the one to ban all mandatory vaccinations, from childhood shots to the COVID vaccine. It’s stalled in committee, while its sponsor, Republican Rep. Jennifer Gross, has launched a discharge petition that’s been signed by eight Republican reps. 50 need to sign to force the bill to a full House floor vote, and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce has warned lawmakers against supporting it.

Earlier this year, lawmakers passed and Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill banning prohibits public K-12 schools, colleges, and universities from requiring people to get a vaccine if that vaccine does not have "full approval" by the Food and Drug Administration - a measure obviously aimed at the COVID vaccines. He said later he had hoped the shots would get full FDA approval soon and he was fine with universities requiring COVID shots before the law took effect.

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