Dozens urge lawmakers to ban vaccine requirements in Wisconsin

NOW: Dozens urge lawmakers to ban vaccine requirements in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Dozens showed up in support of bills at the Capitol Wednesday, June 2, that would prevent businesses, employers and schools from requiring proof of a vaccine. 

The move follows a national trend of governors and state legislatures taking action to ban so-called vaccine passports. The concept is a way some businesses, concert venues and sporting events are exploring as a way to show a certificate that confirms you no longer pose a risk to others. 

A series of Republican bills that would prevent vaccinations from being a requirement received their first public hearing. One bill would bar businesses from discriminating against clients or customers based on their vaccine record.  

“I think it would be shameful for anyone to walk into an agency or a building and to be turned away from their benefits by not showing proof of a vaccination,” said Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa). 

Right now, employers can still require their employees to get vaccines with an exemption for medical and religious reasons. 

Other proposals would prevent companies and state governments from requiring proof of a vaccine to enter a building. Another applies to schools and the UW systems by prohibiting them from mandating students to receive a vaccine. 

Republicans who introduced the proposals say it’s not about casting doubts on vaccines, instead they want to protect individual rights. 

Democrats say the bills are unnecessary because there are no efforts in the state to implement a vaccine passport. Gov. Tony Evers has also indicated he doesn’t have plans to mandate Wisconsinites to get the shot. 

“There’s no law that requires you to disclose the fact that you’ve received your vaccination,” said Rep. Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie). “This is more political than based on any medical science, and that’s really unfortunate.” 

Some organizations argue the proposals are preventable as they say it's only a matter of time until businesses, concerts and sporting venues in Wisconsin only allow vaccinated individuals to attend. 

“Unless we put protections in place, this will continue in our society,” said Judith Jolly, with the group Vaccine Choice Wisconsin. “That’s why we need to shut it down now.”

The efforts are likely to fall short as the bills are expected to face a veto from Gov. Evers. When asked about the proposals, Evers said it’s a “reasonable request” for businesses to enforce their own policies. 

“As a business owner, I want to cater to everyone, but I have to have some guidelines that allow me to keep order in my place of business,” said Hebl.

This is not the first attempt by Republicans to pass legislation to implement rules regarding vaccinations. This year they've sent bills to Governor Evers' desk to prohibit employers and state health officials from mandating vaccines. Evers vetoed the proposals. 

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