Louisiana’s House of Representatives has passed legislation to ban state and local governments from requiring proof of a COVID-19 vaccine to enter public areas and private businesses, or to receive services and goods from them.
The measure now moves to the state’s Senate after a vote of 64–31 in the House late on Wednesday.
According to the text of the legislation, House Bill 990 (pdf), the ban does not apply to “any COVID-19 vaccination mandate that is required in accordance with federal law or regulation.”
State Rep. Thomas Pressly, a Republican who sponsored the bill, said the measure doesn’t interfere with businesses’ own decisions on whether they would require proof of vaccination.
State Rep. Beryl Amedée had offered an amendment (pdf) to the bill to remove a provision that reads: “Nothing in this Part shall be interpreted or construed to prohibit or otherwise impede the rights of a private business or other private entity wishing to implement any policy, procedure, or requirement regarding COVID-19 vaccinations.”
She said removing it “does not impact the overall intent of the bill” and that keeping that section is “problematic” because it “greenlights, endorses, and promotes religious and medical discrimination in the private sector,” reported The Center Square.
The amendment failed by a vote of 21–71.
Amedée voted against the bill although she was supportive of the overall measure.
Her amendment would have also inserted the words “valid and enforceable” in referring to federal laws, in Section B of the bill.
The section currently reads: “The provisions of this part shall not apply to any COVID-19 vaccination mandate that is required in accordance with federal law or regulation.” The amended version would have read: “The provisions of this part shall not apply to any COVID-19 vaccination mandate that is required in accordance with valid and enforceable federal law or regulation.”
Amedée said that the federal government delegated enforcement of the vaccine mandates to private businesses, “and the mandates are now being overturned,” reported The Center Square.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards had last year vetoed legislation regarding vaccine mandates. It is unclear whether he would veto Pressly’s bill if it passes the state Legislature.