Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order on Tuesday banning vaccine mandates in the State of Arizona.
“We encourage all Arizonans to get the vaccine — it’s safe, effective and free,” said Governor Ducey. “But getting it is a personal choice, and we will not allow discrimination based on vaccination status. Today’s order builds on our efforts to protect Arizonans from excessive mandates that hinder their freedom to choose what’s best for their health.”
Specifically, the Governor’s Executive Order states: “Any county, city, town or political subdivision official that implements a vaccine mandate contrary to the authorities outlined in this order, is in violation of A.R.S. 36-114 and 36-184 and such actions are punishable by a class 3 misdemeanor and subject to legal action by individuals for violation of their rights under Arizona law.”
“Today’s order is consistent with Senate Bill 1824, legislation signed by the Governor on June 30, and with Arizona Revised Statute 36-787, which does not provide any authority to a city, town or county to implement vaccination mandates,” a press release on the executive order stated. “Due to its consistency with current Arizona law, the rights derived by law under these statutes apply to any action taken by a county, city, town or political subdivision since June 30, 2021.”
“In April, Ducey issued an executive order banning vaccine passports that would prevent state/local governments from requiring Arizonans to provide their vaccination status for COVID-19 to receive a service, visit places, or dine at a restaurant,” CBS 5 noted.
Ten states have passed a bill banning vaccine mandates: Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
Becker’s Hospital Review provides a review of bills that have been passed by the House and Senate of a state, excepting the latest Arizona bill. Seven of the ten have been signed by the governor.
Arizona: Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees with sincerely held religious beliefs, practices or observances that prevent them from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Exceptions can be made if it poses a hardship for business operations. The bill prohibits the establishment of a COVID-19 vaccine passport. However, healthcare institutions can require employees be vaccinated.
Arkansas: State agencies and state officials are prohibited from requiring people to get the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. These agencies cannot coerce individuals who refuse the vaccine by withholding career advancements, wage increases or insurance discounts.
Michigan: In a bill that passed in both chambers, any entity of the state that receives funding from producing, developing or issuing a COVID-19 vaccine passport is prohibited. Any public funds are prohibited from being used to implement a vaccine mandate program of an employer or state government.
Montana: An employer cannot discriminate against an employee based on their vaccination status. They cannot refuse employment or withhold wage increases based on having a COVID-19 vaccine. An individual cannot be required to get a vaccine that only has emergency use authorization or is undergoing safety trials.
New Hampshire: Employers can only mandate a vaccine as a condition of employment if there is a direct threat to the safety of others that cannot be reduced by reasonable accommodations. Any government agency is banned from compelling individuals to get the COVID-19 vaccine or provide proof of vaccination status to receive a public service or use a public facility.
North Dakota: A government entity cannot require documentation of an individual’s vaccination status to receive public services, funds or use public property. A state government cannot require private businesses to obtain documentation of vaccination status for communicating the status before employment.
Ohio: In a bill that has passed in both chambers, private and public entities are banned from requiring an individual to receive a vaccine that is not fully approved by the FDA. Unvaccinated staff members can’t be required to refrain from or engage in activities or precautions that differ from those who have received the vaccine.
Tennessee: A state agency, department or political subdivision cannot require individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Texas: In a bill that passed both chambers, employers are banned from refusing to hire, discharging or discriminating against an individual because the individual does not provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination status.
Utah: A government entity is prohibited from requiring an individual to get the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment or participate in an activity, before it’s fully approved by the FDA.
There are dozens of states that have introduced bills banning COVID vaccine mandates as a condition for work or schooling. Those bills await passage by the legislature and/or signing by the governor.
Correction: An earlier headline stated that ten states had passed a law against vaccine mandates. Those ten states had bills that had passed the state legislatures, and not all governors had yet signed it into law.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.