BOISE — Legislation aimed at preventing employment discrimination against people who choose not to get vaccinated was somewhat reluctantly introduced in a House committee Wednesday.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, prohibits the state and all local units of government from contracting with any company or employer “that discriminates against persons on the basis of their vaccination records or vaccination state.”
She said the legislation was prompted by calls from individuals who have been fired for not being immunized.
“Usually it’s in the medical field,” Giddings said. “There are other options (such as wearing surgical masks), but some employers aren’t allowing those options and are flat-out firing people.”
In addition to prohibiting state and local governments from contracting with such firms, the bill says companies are in breach of contract if they engage in such practices.
“I’m not trying to ruffle feathers,” Giddings said. “I don’t support micromanaging what companies choose to do, if they have a requirement (for employee vaccinations). But we as a state shouldn’t discriminate or let taxpayer money be used for that purpose.”
The House Commerce and Human Resources Committee introduced the bill on a voice vote, without question or comment. Rep. Mike Kingsley, R-Lewiston, made the motion, but only after a lengthy silence.
Giddings proposed legislation last year directing schools and daycare centers to notify parents that they can exempt their kids from any and all required school immunizations. The measure passed the House, but failed to advance in the Senate.
William L. Spence may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 791-9168.