6/3/21 – Michigan House votes to ban government-backed coronavirus vaccine passports

Vaccination clinics helped thousands to access the Covid-19 vaccine throughout MI. Lawmakers in Lansing are worried citizens would be forced to provide a 'passport' they've received the vaccine. Photo credit Jake May.

(Mlive) – Michigan lawmakers voted Wednesday to preemptively ban publicly-funded entities from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations. House Bill 4667, sponsored by Rep. Sue Allor, R-Wolverine, aims to ban Michigan governmental entities from creating or requiring COVID-19 vaccine passports to access services or penalize a person based on vaccination status. The bill would allow for civil action to compel a governmental entity to comply with the act.

House Bill 4667, sponsored by Rep. Sue Allor, R-Wolverine, aims to ban Michigan governmental entities from creating or requiring COVID-19 vaccine passports to access services or penalize a person based on vaccination status. The bill would allow for civil action to compel a governmental entity to comply with the act.

Under the legislation, a governmental entity would be defined as any entity primarily funded by tax dollars — including schools and universities. Some public universities, including the University of Michigan, have announced plans to require students to provide proof of vaccination or an approved exemption to live in on-campus housing.

“The control of one’s life based on his or her vaccination status is frightening,” Allor said on the House floor Wednesday. “It is not something that we, as United States citizens, should ever consider as acceptable.”   “I cannot imagine there ever being a time when a program such as this would be a good idea,” she continued.

The Michigan House voted 62-47 to send the bill to the Senate. Votes were primarily split along partisan lines, although four Democrats — Reps. Kevin Coleman, D-Westland, Tullio Liberati D-Allen Park, Tim Sneller, D-Burton and Richard Steenland, D-Roseville — voted with Republicans to approve its passage.

There has been no effort to implement a vaccine passport system in Michigan — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has said they’re not exploring the concept. But Allor said Wednesday that doesn’t mean the administration might not take it up later, arguing her bill “keeps government out of the business of vaccine passports.”

Critics have said the bill’s vague definition of what a vaccine passport is could have broad implications, potentially preventing governmental entities from tracking vaccination records or giving people proof of vaccination.

Several states have already implemented or are considering bans on vaccine passports, and two states, New York and Hawaii, have implemented a vaccine passport system, according to U.S. News and World Report.

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