COVID-19 is at the center of the State Capitol for the second year
WASHINGTON – For the second year in a row, COVID policy will be at the forefront in the State Capitol.
Bills are already arriving before the 2022 session and some are more controversial than others. Among the COVID-19 bills already tabled, two are likely to garner bipartisan support.
The first would make it easier for first responders to receive compensation for workers if they get COVID at work.
While it was tabled by a Republican, Democratic Representative Fentrice Driskell supports the idea.
“These are people who haven’t had the luxury of working from home,” Driskell said.
Representative Ardian Zika also introduced a bill that would require insurers to cover the full price of home COVID tests.
“I think this is a first step in the right direction,” Zika said.
But Representative Anthony Sabatini’s legislation banning government mask warrants and banning all employers, private and public, from imposing vaccine warrants is likely to meet strong opposition.
“Allow everyone to make their own decisions about masks and vaccines. I think it’s just common sense, ”Sabatini said.
While the governor has expressed support for the ban on vaccine mandates for public sector employees, he has not been so articulate on the ban on mandates for the private sector.
We reached out to the governor’s office and asked if they would support banning private sector employers from requiring vaccinations for their employees, but we didn’t hear back in time for this story.
Democratic Representative Evan Jenne argued that local governments should make decisions about public health in their communities.
“There are some cases where there has to be state preemption. When it comes to keeping their communities safe, it isn’t, ”Jenne said.
Pandemics and Public Emergencies House Speaker Daniel Perez told us it was too early to predict how far lawmakers will go on mandate bans on vaccines.
“Making sure that each individual has the opportunity to make their own decision is something that we will continue to do,” said Perez.
Another bill that could divide lawmakers would limit when the government can order religious institutions to shut down during a lockdown.
Since it does not outright ban church closures, it may face some opposition from both parties.
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