The Louisiana House of Representatives passed legislation that will ban the state and local governments from imposing COVID-19 jab mandates.
Lawmakers voted 64-31 to approve House Bill 990, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Pressly, R-Shreveport, to prohibit state and local governments from requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of entry to public spaces and businesses.
“This bill does three things: First, it prohibits public mandates of vaccines for COVID vaccines for entry on to public or private property and to receive goods or services,” Pressly said on Wednesday. “It also has in provision B, deals with federal law and avoids preemption issues.
House Bill 990, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Pressly, a Shreveport Republican, would prohibit state and local governments from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for entry into public places or private businesses and finds that any mandate “shall be considered contrary to the public policy of this state.”
For instance, the City of New Orleans began requiring in August proof of vaccinations or a negative COVID test to enter bars, restaurants and other public events. The provision is similar to what most of the nation’s largest required. New Orleans lifted its rule in late March as cases and hospitalization rates declined.
“The people of Louisiana don’t want these policies,” said Rep. Beryl Amedée, R-Gray, who pointed to the steps New Orleans had taken to prevent spread of COVID-19. She attempted to amend the bill to make it stronger but was refused by a majority in the House. Though supportive of the overall bill, Amedée voted against it.
However, Pressly noted that the bill “allows businesses to make the decision on whether or not to implement their own policies for their business.”
Thus, the bill still allows businesses to discriminate against unvaccinated patrons.
Per Natural News:
This portion of the bill, known as Section C, is the one that divided Republicans in the House the most. It reads: “Nothing in this part shall be interpreted or construed to prohibit or otherwise impede the rights of a private business or other private entity wishing to implement any policy, procedure or requirement regarding COVID-19 vaccinations.”
Republican State Rep. Beryl Amedeeo offered an amendment to the State House that would have removed Section C, arguing that it distracts from the main purpose of HB 990.
“Removing Section C does not impact the overall intent of the bill. The intent of the bill is to prohibit governmental discrimination based on COVID vaccination status. Section C isn’t needed in order to accomplish this goal,” she said. “Keeping Section C is problematic. Section C green lights, endorses and promotes religious and medical discrimination in the private sector.”
Republican State Rep. Raymond Crews also spoke out in favor of eliminating Section C. “First of all, I don’t think this paragraph is germane to the bill at all,” he said. “Secondly, I agree with the precept, but not the implementation nor the result. It restricts individual liberty, and I don’t think that’s necessary.”
Pressly, in his objection to the amendment, said he wanted to make sure the state government does not interfere with the free market.
“I think it’s important to make it very clear that businesses make the decision on what they want to do for their business,” he said. “Businesses are owned by individuals, and I think it’s important that we keep that language.”
The amendment failed by a vote of 21 in favor and 71 against.
HB 990 now heads to the State Senate for consideration. The Republican Party has a supermajority in Louisiana’s upper house, and the bill is expected to sail through the chamber with little opposition.
Read HB990 HERE.