MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Senators Greg Reed (R-Jasper), Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville), Chris Elliott (R-Daphne) and Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) today released the following statements after the Alabama Senate passed two pieces of legislation – SB9 and SB15 – to fight back against the Biden Administration’s overreaching federal vaccine mandates.
“The Biden administration’s vaccine mandates are a reckless federal government overreach that infringe on Alabamians’ liberty and freedom of personal choice, and could cause significant economic harm to Alabama and Americans across the country,” said Reed, President Pro Tem of the Alabama Senate. “Our state has already taken several steps to combat these mandates through an executive order issued by Governor Ivey and a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s office, of which I fully support. Now the Alabama Senate has exercised its responsibility to the people of Alabama by passing legislation out of the Senate that will help ensure that Alabamians won’t have to make the choice between taking a vaccine they don’t want and losing their livelihood and personal freedoms.”
“Senate Republicans are determined to fight back in full force against the unconstitutional vaccine mandates that the federal government wants to impose on Alabamians,” said Majority Leader Scofield. “These mandates are a violation of our personal freedoms, and we will not stand by and allow the federal government to irrationally overstep its constitutional boundaries. I am proud of the diligent work that has taken place within the Republican Caucus to protect the rights of our people, especially with the efforts led by Elliott and Orr.”
Senator Chris Elliott – who sponsored Senate Bill 9 – said, “The decision to get the vaccine or to not get the vaccine is a personal choice that should be left up to the individual, it is certainly not something that should be forced on Alabamians by politicians in Washington, D.C. My legislation will require employers to allow an exemption for employees who choose not to take the vaccine due to either religious or medical reasons. This bill will, in effect, make it so that no employer – private or public – has the ability to require an employee to get the COVID-19 vaccine against their will. I am proud of this legislation and the protection that it will give to Alabamians across our state.”
Senator Arthur Orr – who sponsored Senate Bill 15 – said, “This bill expands upon a law I sponsored in the last legislative session to ban so-called “vaccine passports,” so that stadiums, venues, etc. will not be allowed to require proof of vaccination for entry. Entities operating in the state of Alabama should not be able to dictate to Alabamians that their participation in events be dependent on making a personal medical choice regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. This bill will strengthen that vaccine passport ban by giving the office of the Attorney General an enforcement mechanism to make sure that this law is being followed. This bill also includes a provision that requires parental consent in order for a minor to receive the vaccination. No one should not be discriminated against based on their vaccination status, and this law helps to ensure that Alabamians will be protected and free to make their own medical decisions without having their freedoms infringed upon by vaccine passports or other disruptive vaccine mandates.”
This bill would require employers or contractors to allow individuals to claim an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination for medical reasons or because of sincerely held religious beliefs upon submission of a standard exemption form. This bill would prohibit an employer or contractor from terminating an individual for refusing a vaccine if he or she submits a properly completed exemption form. This bill would authorize an employer or contractor to seek a ruling by the Department of Labor before the employer or contractor may terminate an individual who has completed an exemption form but refuses a vaccine.
Existing law prohibits the issuance of vaccine or immunization passports or other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying the immunization status of an individual, except when required for admission to a public K-12 school. This bill would authorize the Attorney General to pursue civil actions to enjoin a threatened or continuing violation of this prohibition. This bill would also make it so that no minor may receive a COVID19 vaccination without the written consent of the minor’s parent or, if applicable, legal guardian. This bill would prohibit an institution of education from inquiring about a student’s vaccination status without parental consent.