The Idaho House approved the Coronavirus Pause Act, the latest legislation aimed at blocking vaccine requirements.
The bill prevents businesses in the state from refusing “service, product, admission to a venue or transportation” to people who have not received the coronavirus vaccine. It also prohibits businesses from requiring “a coronavirus vaccination as a term of employment unless required by federal law.”
The House voted, 45-23, on Friday to approve the measure. It had already passed the state Senate. Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, has five days to sign it, veto it or let it become law on its own. He wasn’t expected to block it.
The measure would also prevent local government entities, like school districts, from requiring coronavirus vaccinations.
A violation would be a misdemeanor, punishable with a $1,000 penalty. The bill has few exceptions, although it does exempt companies covered by federal law, existing employee-employer contracts, and businesses that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Idaho is not the first state to push legislation against vaccine requirements. In November, Gov. Ron De Santis of Florida, a Republican, signed an executive order prohibiting private businesses and schools from requiring vaccines, and Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, also a Republican, signed a bill that did the same for state and local governments.
As of Friday, an average of 572 cases per day were reported in Idaho, a 55% decrease from the average of less than 1,263 cases per day two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database. About 53% of residents in the state are fully vaccinated, 10 percentage points below the national average.
No one debated against the bill on the House floor, although it had faced some opposition, according to The Associated Press.
The measure, if it becomes law, would expire one year after the termination of all state emergency declarations related to the coronavirus.
The governor announced earlier this month that he would lift the state’s public health emergency disaster declaration April 15, just more than two years since it was put in place because of the pandemic.