The Arizona Senate has passed SB1824, banning any law or ordinance that would mandate the use of vaccine passports by businesses or others.
SB1824 passed the Arizona Senate by 16-14 on Tuesday night, and included a floor amendment from Senate President Karen Fann that would put restrictions onto the use of vaccine passports within the state. “This state, and any city, town or county of this state are prohibited from establishing a COVID-19 vaccine passport or requiring either of the following: any person to be vaccinated for COVID-19; a business to obtain proof of the COVID-19 vaccination status of any patron entering the business establishment,” the amendment reads.
Schools are also restricted from requiring their students to take the COVID-19 vaccine, as the vaccines only currently have an emergency use authorization from the FDA. The amendment further notes that employers must provide “reasonable accommodation” to any employee who has a “sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance” that would prevent them from taking the vaccine, unless such accommodation would “pose an undue hardship and more than a de minimus cost to the operation of the employer’s business.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis last month signed a bill into law which poses severe financial penalties of $5,000 per infraction against any business, school, or government agency that attempts to require individuals to provide proof of vaccination. However, unlike the legislation passed in Florida, the language of the Arizona Senate bill does not ban any business from requiring vaccine passports if they choose to do so – any private organization would still be free to mandate proof of vaccinations.
“Tracking people’s medical information is Orwellian and has no place in a free society,” said Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers told National File. “I support and voted for SB1824 because it prohibits government agency and university mandated vaccine passports. However, I also support and will push for prohibiting businesses from being able to ask customers for a vaccine passport. I will introduce or cosponsor a bill with that language again.”
The passage of SB1824 came as the Arizona Senate passed a majority of the budget, in what was a hard-fought battle by Senate Republicans to get the budget passed against resistance from Democrats. Included in the budget amendments was further legislation designed to fight back against mask mandates, with Section 35 of the budget bill prohibiting any school board from requiring students or staff to use face coverings during school hours and on school property. Additionally, the budget effectively bans critical race theory from being taught in Arizona schools.
— Wendy Rogers (@WendyRogersAZ) June 23, 2021