Mississippi governor signs bill banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates for state agencies
Published 6:19 am Saturday, April 23, 2022
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed into law House Bill 1509, which bans public institutions and agencies from discriminating against individuals based on their COVID-19 vaccination status.
“Throughout the pandemic, I’ve encouraged Mississippians to consult with their doctor, study the facts, and decide what’s best for them and their families,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “I’ve made clear that government shouldn’t be in the business of forcing Americans to choose between the COVID-19 vaccine and putting food on their tables, sending their kids to school, or visiting a small business. I’m proud to sign this legislation which protects Mississippians’ medical and religious freedoms.”
The legislative ban on COVID-19 vaccine mandates extends to state agencies, public officials, state institutions of higher learning, public community or junior colleges, county, municipality, and other political subdivisions.
The law stops these entities from barring individuals from employment or discriminating against them in terms of compensation and other benefits.
The bill does include some exceptions for medical entities. Healthcare facilities can ask for employee vaccination status when determining whether measures need to be implemented to protect employees, patients, and others. Healthcare providers also would be exempt during any time when doing so would result in violations of guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The law ensures that students will not be forced to make a decision between receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and not being able to attend Mississippi colleges and universities.
It will also be illegal to require children to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of attending a school, kindergarten or similar type of facility intended for the instruction of children, whether public or private.
Additionally, House Bill 1509 ensures that employees who have a sincerely held religious objection to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not be required to receive one.