May 21, 2021 | By Barbara Loe Fisher | National Vaccine Information Center | Source
Texas Bill Still Pending After Historic Hearing to Prohibit Vaccine Mandates and COVID Vaccine Passports
“In a year that has seen more than 1,000 vaccine-related bills introduced in state legislatures, many of the bills responding to the March 2020 COVID pandemic emergency declaration, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee held an historic hearing on May 6, 2021 on a bill (SB1669) that prohibits employment discrimination and right of access restrictions based on vaccination status or proof of immunity. It is a model state bill containing strong informed consent provisions aligned with the mission of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC)1 and it serves as a model for other states. The hearing was also a government role model, exemplifying freedom of speech and the consideration with which responsible lawmakers and constituents should treat each other in this Constitutional Republic at public hearings where civil conversations about important topics are held.
The bill was introduced to the committee in the morning by sponsor Senator Bob Hall and the committee took five hours of testimony from Texans speaking for and against the bill, most of the proceedings graciously managed by Committee Chair Bryan Hughes. A significant amount of the hearing was filled with testimony from nurses, doctors and other medical professionals testifying in support of the bill because their employers had fired them or were threatening to fire them if they refused to get one or two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Throughout the hearing, Senator Hall steadfastly defended the purpose of his bill when he was challenged by witnesses representing medical and school organizations opposed to the bill and when he entered into a friendly debate with a fellow Senator committee member toward the end of the afternoon.
Testifying on behalf of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) was Dawn Richardson who is NVIC’s Director of Advocacy. She has worked for 25 years educating Texas lawmakers about the need to protect vaccine informed consent rights and has worked with families to educate lawmakers in many other states since she created NVIC’s free online Advocacy Portal in 2010.
Following is a summary of selected pro and con testimony taken at this extraordinary hearing, which is an example of the informed debate about vaccine mandates, especially COVID-19 vaccine mandates, taking place in homes, businesses and legislative offices in every state in America.
A Bill to Prevent Discrimination and Segregation
In his introductory statement, Senator Hall talked about being contacted by constituents that they are being required to get COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment in Texas. He described the purpose of his bill:
“This bill prevents any type of discrimination or segregation based on vaccine or immunity status and would prohibit forced vaccinations across the board. If you are an individual who has chosen not to take a particular vaccine or vaccines, this bill will help ensure that you will get or keep your job, your health or life insurance policies, your access to government and private services and more.”
He added that the fact a person has not been vaccinated does not mean they are physically sick or that their informed choice not to use a particular vaccine is immoral:
“It is not right to treat unvaccinated individuals as if they are sick individuals or as if the choice they have made is morally wrong. No one in our society should be hindered from participating in business, schools or our government just because they have made a very personal decision for themselves or for their children not to receive a particular vaccine or vaccines. The mere fact that a person has not received a specific vaccine does not make them a threat to others health and safety.”