SEVERE WX : Freeze Warning - Frost Advisory View Alerts

Oregon Senate Republicans introduce bill to ban 'vaccine passports'

A bill introduced by Senator Kim Thatcher would prohibit both public and private entities from requiring vaccine credentials as a condition of service or employment.

Posted: Jun 4, 2021 1:03 PM
Updated: Jun 4, 2021 5:57 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Hoping to enshrine the backlash against Oregon's vaccine status check guidelines into law, Senate Republicans on Thursday introduced a bill that would ban "vaccine passports" in the state.

Republicans at both the state and local level have pushed back against the guidelines, which were introduced in mid-May following CDC recommendations that requirements be loosened for fully vaccinated people. Under Oregon's current framework, businesses and venues that want to allow for the fully vaccinated to eschew mask and distancing requirements would first need to check a completed vaccine card or similar proof to confirm patrons' vaccination status.

“The Governor’s vaccine passport scheme is an extreme invasion of Oregonians’ privacy,” said Senator Kim Thatcher, who introduced the bill. “No Oregonian should have to divulge medical information to participate in everyday life. This bill is about making clear Oregonians’ rights, which have been railroaded by the Governor during the pandemic. One person cannot and should not have this much power over Oregonians’ lives and livelihoods.”

In a statement, Sen. Thatcher cited a survey conducted by the Medford Chamber of Commerce, in which 93 percent of respondents did not want to condition maskless service on asking customers about their vaccination status.

Thatcher's statement suggests that the bill would go beyond the current controversy over COVID-19 vaccines, and would ban both public and private entities from conditioning service or employment on general vaccination status or the possession of a vaccine credential.

Oregon law does not currently prohibit private businesses from requiring employees to be inoculated against infectious disease — the one major exception being the healthcare industry, where providers are required to provide no-cost vaccines to workers but prohibited from requiring them as a condition of employment.

For public entities like schools, vaccinations can be "required," but Oregon law allows for a wide range of medical, religious, philosophical, and other exemptions.

“Our local businesses have gone through a lot this year,” said Thatcher. “The last thing we should be doing is making them play mask and vaccine cop. They have much more important things to do, like getting back to normal so Oregonians can earn a living.”

In response to criticism of the vaccination station check policy, state officials have said that businesses are free to avoid them and continue with the state's existing framework for mask and distancing requirements — describing the policy as a stop-gap measure until 70 percent of Oregon adults have received the vaccine.

Senate Bill 872 has yet to receive its first reading. Thatcher's office said that it will be referred to a committee by the Senate President once read, but it is unlikely to gain traction in a majority-Democratic legislature that has largely shot down Republican bills aimed at restricting Governor Brown's COVID-19 policies.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 324571

Reported Deaths: 3709
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah52543645
Washington35987280
Marion33757401
Clackamas27506277
Lane24978256
Jackson21483271
Deschutes17521104
Umatilla13107129
Linn1105390
Douglas11044207
Josephine8843175
Yamhill7781102
Klamath669695
Polk644272
Malheur498769
Benton479530
Coos439772
Columbia339039
Jefferson329748
Union287738
Lincoln286830
Wasco250139
Clatsop226026
Crook224939
Tillamook186123
Baker183124
Morrow171221
Curry169217
Hood River167235
Harney90518
Grant8899
Lake7518
Wallowa55812
Gilliam1404
Sherman1333
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4698504

Reported Deaths: 68767
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles145515526035
Riverside3618524864
San Diego3547324054
San Bernardino3504055545
Orange3179985409
Sacramento1526762142
Santa Clara1418101852
Fresno1383231939
Kern1378841540
Alameda1173871328
San Joaquin990131633
Ventura986241138
Contra Costa96871924
Stanislaus820391262
Tulare74793904
San Mateo52770612
San Francisco52580622
Monterey49872571
Solano44658314
Santa Barbara43571505
Merced40058548
Sonoma39799384
Placer37312370
Imperial34644756
Kings30713293
San Luis Obispo28759319
Madera22239263
Butte22019238
Shasta21684291
Santa Cruz20334214
Yolo19462239
Marin17258242
El Dorado16291132
Sutter13297155
Napa1242695
Yuba945564
Nevada863985
Tehama856088
Humboldt851494
San Benito716170
Mendocino708182
Lassen660127
Tuolumne630193
Lake620295
Amador505559
Glenn411330
Siskiyou410442
Calaveras355570
Del Norte348237
Colusa294418
Inyo171339
Mono15295
Plumas12976
Mariposa106213
Trinity75810
Modoc6288
Sierra1980
Unassigned1430
Alpine1010
Out of CA00
Medford
Partly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 60°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 57°
Crater Lake
Mostly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 60°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 60°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 45°
Very cold overnight, sunshine and warmer temperatures return Wednesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events