The Indiana House voted Tuesday to effectively block private companies from enforcing COVID-19 mandates.
The measure, HB 1001, says businesses have to grant exemptions from getting the vaccine to employees who request them on a medical or religious basis or who have contracted the virus within six months.
The bill’s author, Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne), said the choice to get a COVID-19 vaccine should be up to an individual.
"I get calls and they’re crying, 'I don’t know what the future holds. Help me. Because I really want to not get this vaccination. My employer’s telling me I have to. I need some protections,'" Lehman said.
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But Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) said the bill is justifying the anger of a few at the expense of many.
“This attack is led by those who proclaim their love and devotion to the private sector … leave the businesses alone. If you can’t help them, leave them alone,” DeLaney said.
The measure also says if someone is fired even after requesting a COVID-19 vaccine exemption, they can receive unemployment benefits.
The bill now heads to the Senate.