California Democrats introduce bill requiring Vaccines for every employee in state


 California would mandate that all businesses require their employees and independent contractors to receive the COVID vaccine under legislation announced Friday by Democrat state lawmakers that was immediately criticized by Republicans as government overreach.


New employees would have to get at least one dose by the time they start work and the second dose within 45 days of being on the job. Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks introduced her bill months after delaying an original proposal last fall. The previous version would have allowed workers to submit to weekly testing as an alternative to getting vaccinated, but that is not an option in her new proposal.


Vaccines mandates are highly controversial and there have been many rallies at the state Capitol in Sacramento opposing such requirements. Wicks and other supporters said the mandate is needed even as California moves to ease other requirements and anticipates moving into a new “endemic” phase.


“That’s fundamentally what this bill is about,” she said. “Getting back to some sense of normalcy so we can go on with our lives, and we don’t have these constant interruptions and outbreaks and all these things that we’ve been experiencing for so long.”


The mandate would stay in place unless the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decides that COVID-19 vaccinations are no longer needed.


The bill would require state health and occupational safety officials to advise employers on what qualifies as a medical condition, disability, religious belief and valid vaccination status. Businesses that didn’t comply would face penalties that have yet to be determined.


Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher — “Telling people they can’t feed their family unless they get the vaccine is just wrong. I trust Californians enough to treat them like adults who can make their own health care decisions. It’s unfortunate that a few Democrats in the Legislature don’t.”


Gavin Newsom last year ordered all of the state’s roughly 2.2 million health care workers to to be vaccinated or lose their jobs. He also required state workers and teachers to either get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. And California’s school children by summer must be vaccinated to attend in-person classes.


Wicks’ proposal is just the latest of several far-reaching measures introduced by Democratic state lawmakers this year. Among others, Sen. Scott Wiener would allow children 12 and up to be vaccinated without their parents’ consent, while Sen. Richard Pan would eliminate a personal belief exemption for schools.

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