November 30, 2021

House GOP's top 2022 priority is stopping COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Fifty-six members of the House GOP caucus signed on to a reintroduced bill that would effectively ban private companies from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates. - (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Fifty-six members of the House GOP caucus signed on to a reintroduced bill that would effectively ban private companies from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

(Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Indiana House Republicans have revealed their top priority for the 2022 legislative session. The House GOP caucus's 56 members signed on to a reintroduced bill that would effectively ban private companies from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Republicans initially planned to pass their bill this week, suspending all rules to approve the bill in a single day session. But the state’s top business and health care organizations loudly objected, prompting Republicans to back down.

READ MORE: GOP backs off plan to pass COVID-19 vaccine mandate restrictions in single-day session

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But the House GOP still wants to push forward on the issue once lawmakers return in January for their regular session.

The reintroduced bill, HB 1001, is almost exactly the same, with a minor difference. Previously, it listed "pregnancy or anticipated pregnancy" as reasons to opt out of getting the vaccine. That’s been removed.

Otherwise, the measure says employers cannot deny any requested religious or medical exemption and can’t even ask further about the requests.

Its future is uncertain. Even if the House passes it largely unchanged, the Senate GOP may have objections to the bill’s strict language. And Gov. Eric Holcomb didn’t seem particularly supportive of the original legislation.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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