TENNESSEE, USA — The Tennessee State Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would ban the use of vaccine passports in the state.
The bill, as amended, passed 27-3. It is now working its way through House committees before being considered by the full house.
Gov. Bill Lee announced last week he was opposed to vaccine passports.
“The COVID-19 vaccine should be a personal health choice, not a government requirement,” Lee said in a social media post last week. “I am supporting legislation to prohibit any government-mandated vaccine passports to protect the privacy of Tennesseans’ health information and ensure this vaccine remains a voluntary, personal decision.”
The bill that passed says “A state or local governmental official, entity, department, or agency shall not require, or mandate that a private business require, proof of vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of entering upon the premises of the business or utilizing services provided by the business.”
The bill also removes power from the county’s board of health to advise the county mayor on the enforcement of such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the commissioner essential to the control of preventable diseases and the promotion and maintenance of the general health of the county and advise the county mayor on the adoption of rules and regulations as may be necessary or appropriate to protect the general health and safety of the citizens of the county.
Six counties – Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby and Sullivan – have its own health departments and county health boards. The other 89 counties in the state are operated through the Tennessee Department of Health.
The House Health Committee will consider the bill at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
State leaders are set to introduce a bill prohibiting "vaccine passports".
Spanish Version: Tennessee considerará la prohibición de ‘pasaportes de vacunas’
Tennessee Republicans say it is a form of government overreach.
Other states and companies are considering creating "vaccine passports" as proof of dose ID.
The bill starts off in committees on Tuesday according to Representative Jason Zachary.
Governor Bill Lee went on Twitter to express his opinion about the bill, saying, "I oppose vaccine passports. The COVID-19 vaccine should be a personal health choice, not a government requirement."