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Friday, December 3, 2021

Kansas Governor Signs Law Permitting Wide Exceptions to COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has signed legislation that allows workers to be exempted from COVID-19 vaccination requirements if vaccinations endanger their health or violate their religious beliefs.

The Republican-controlled legislature passed the law in a special meeting on Monday.

The Democratic governor signed it on Tuesday.

Kelly is one of the few prominent Democrats to protest President Joe Biden’s mandate to vaccinate a private employer and reiterated her position in a statement following the signing of the 2001 House bill.

“I made it clear that I think it is too late to introduce a federal standard. States have been leading the fight against COVID-19 for almost two years now. I know there are Kansans who think this law is going too far, and there are others who think this law is not going far enough. But I was elected as a leader, and leadership means finding a compromise, ”said Kelly.

“This bill is the result of a compromise in action. Now that it’s signed, we need to turn our attention to pressing issues like the growth of our economy and the transfer of my plan to Ax the Food Tax so that we can put money in the daily pockets of the Kansans, ”she added.

The law specifies that an employer who imposes vaccination requirements must release an employee if the employee submits a written waiver request that states that vaccination could endanger his life or health or the person living with them, and that he confirmed by a statement from a doctor or other healthcare professional. ; or that vaccination would violate “sincere religious beliefs.”

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Employers who violate the law can be prosecuted in court by the State Secretary of Labor with fines of up to $ 50,000 per violation, depending on the size of the business.

It also allows people who have been laid off or not hired due to vaccine denials to receive unemployment benefits, provided they filed a denial request and it was denied.

“This is a straightforward law that makes it clear to Kansas employers that they must accept medical and religious benefits in order to vaccinate COVID-19. These exceptions are the same exceptions permitted by federal law. We simply removed the ambiguity of the federal law and created a mechanism to enforce it, ”Rep. Stephen Owens, a Republican and one of its sponsors, said in a statement.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done to help the Kanzan keep their jobs,” added Republican Representative John Barker, another sponsor.

Only two Democrats voted in favor of the bill, and many criticized Kelly, who faced re-election challenges from Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt, for signing it.

“I think the governor got a bad deal,” Democratic Rep. John Carmichael told the Kansas City Star.

“This bill is unconstitutional and places an undue burden on Kansas’s business,” Democratic Rep. Cindy Nabor added on Twitter.

To follow

Zachary Stieber covers US news, including politics and court cases. He started out for The Epoch Times as a reporter in the New York City subway.

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