Bill would give working Utahns COVID-19 vaccine exemptions

Local Politics

Pfizer vaccine in Mexico. (Courtesy: Baja California Health Department)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – While Utah lawmakers will gather for a special session to discuss topics including new redistricting maps and a new name for Dixie State University, one proposed bill may also catch the attention of employees in the state.

A bill proposed Monday looks to give working Utahns exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates and would prohibit employers from firing or not hiring a Utahn because they have not been vaccinated.

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.

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.

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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