PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island lawmaker has introduced legislation that would bar discrimination against people who choose not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
The bill would prohibit Gov. Dan McKee from creating a vaccine mandate and protect employees from being fired by their employer, from being refused a hotel room, and from being refused a loan from a financial institution based on vaccination status.
Democratic state Rep. Thomas Noret told The Providence Journal the bill is not based on any anti-vaccination sentiment, but was based on concerns he heard from constituents fearful they would be punished if they didn’t get a coronavirus shot.
The Rhode Island Department of Health expressed concerns about the bill in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, pointing out it would jeopardize existing vaccination requirements for non-coronavirus diseases.
Attorney Mark Dana told WJAR-TV that the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that mandating vaccinations is perfectly legal for public and private organizations.
Lawmakers behind the current proposal said they are open to making any necessary changes. The bill was held for further study Tuesday.