UPDATE: Workplace COVID vaccine exemption bill heads to Gov. Cox for approval

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Doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine wait to be administered to the students and faculty of UTPB during a vaccination clinic held in partnership with Midland Memorial Hospital, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, in Odessa, Texas. (Eli Hartman/Odessa American via AP)

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 11/10/21 7:39 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The bill concerning workplace COVID-19 vaccination exemptions has passed the House in a 55 to 17 vote Wednesday evening.

The bill passed through the Senate earlier Wednesday, 22 to 6, but ended up being passed back down because house lawmakers made changes during the debate. The bill is now heading to Gov. Cox for his signature or veto.

If signed by Gov. Cox, the bill would give working Utahns exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates and prevent their employer from firing them for not getting vaccinated

ORIGINAL STORY: Workplace COVID vaccine exemption bill passes Utah Senate

WEDNESDAY 11/10/21 12:16 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A bill that would give working Utahns exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates and prevent their employer from firing them for not getting vaccinated has passed in the Utah Senate.

Senate Bill 2004, penned by Sen. Kirk Cullimore (R-Salt Lake County), “enacts provisions related to COVID-19 vaccination and testing in the workplace.” It not only requires employers to permit vaccination mandate exemptions and prevents them from “adverse action” against those without the vaccine, but requires employers to pay for on-site COVID-19 workplace testing.

Under the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate – which was recently stalled by a court of appeals – those working at companies with more than 100 employees must either have the vaccine or undergo regular COVID-19 testing.

The bill passed the house on a 21-6 vote early Wednesday afternoon.

SB2004 says eligible vaccine exemptions include:

  • If getting the COVID-19 vaccine would be “injurious to the health and well-being” of the individual
  • It conflicts with “a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance”
  • It conflicts with “a sincerely held belief”

An employee or prospective employee would need to submit a statement to the employer outlining why they should be exempt based on one of the above from SB2004. Following passage in the Senate, SB2004 heads to the Utah House for a vote.

If the bill passes, it would take effect if and when Governor Spencer Cox signs it. The governor has previously stated he would not support legislation blocking private businesses from issuing vaccine mandates.

“It’s government still telling businesses what they can and can’t do, and I’m opposed to that,” he affirmed.

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