A bill introduced Monday in the Georgia Senate would remove any requirement for any vaccinations by any government agency, including mandatory vaccines for children attending public schools.
Under SB 345, state and local governments, including school districts, are prohibited from issuing a vaccine passport in any form, nor may they create any rules or regulations to force individuals or businesses to do so.
“No agency shall require evidence of any vaccination of any person as a condition of providing any service or access to any facility, issuing any licence, permit or other form of authorization, or performing any duty of such agency” , — the latest version reads a two-page bill.
The bill was supported by five Republicans when it was first filed in the 2022 legislative session. He now has 17 sponsors in the State Senate, including Pro Tempore Senate President Butch Miller, who is running for lieutenant governor in this year’s gubernatorial race.
If the bill passes the Republican-majority state legislature and is signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, it would make Georgia the first state to remove vaccination requirements for school enrollment. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, all 50 states currently have at least some vaccination requirements for school entry.
The Georgia Department of Public Health currently requires that all children entering schools or child care facilities operating in the state be vaccinated against 13 diseases, including measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus.
Although Kemp has not yet said whether he will sign SB 345, the move appears to be in line with his resistance to the idea of public health-related government mandates. In May 2021, Kemp issued an executive order barring government agencies, public service providers, and public property from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
“While I continue to encourage all people in Georgia to get vaccinated so that we continue our efforts to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, getting vaccinated is a personal decision for every citizen and healthcare professional, not the state government,” Kemp said.
In a separate order issued in May, Kemp said that school districts in Peach State can no longer use his COVID-19 emergency statement as a source of authority to require students or employees to wear a mask at school. But the order was not worded harshly enough to outright ban school masks.
More recently, Kemp filed a lawsuit to challenge the Biden administration’s Head Start vaccine and mask mandate, which requires that all Head Start employees, as well as some contractors and volunteers, be fully vaccinated by January 31, 2022, and that masks be worn by all children participating in the stock. program.
“This is just the latest and most egregious of a growing list of abuses by this president,” Kemp said in December. “This is all the more disturbing and unforgivable given that this mandate directly affects and harms our children.”