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Boise State Public Radio News is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Bill Barring State Contractors From Having A Vaccine Mandate Clears Idaho House

A hand holds a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine between the thumb and index finger. Other vials with red caps can be seen beneath it in a bin.
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Idaho House lawmakers voted Tuesday to bar companies contracting with the state from requiring their employees to get vaccinated.

The bill would only affect state contractors – not all businesses in Idaho. If signed into law, it would block these companies from firing or refusing to hire someone based on their vaccine status.

Rep. Priscilla Giddings (R-White Bird), who’s sponsoring the bill, said vaccine mandates are discriminatory.

“Your personal autonomy and not having something forced into your body is a personal right,” Giddings said.

Several Republicans who supported the bill spread misinformation about vaccine efficacy and safety, including Rep. Dorothy Moon (R-Stanley).

Moon claims her son became autistic after receiving a vaccine. Medical researchers have repeatedly disproven any relationship between vaccines and autism.

“There’s no way another Moon will ever take a vaccine until the end of any of our lives,” she said.

But Rep. Lauren Necochea (D-Boise) said vaccine mandates make sense for some workplaces, like a cancer ward at a hospital.

“That’s a place where we want to make sure people are vaccinated during a bad flu outbreak,” Necochea said. “Flu is life or death for people who are immunocompromised.”

The bill ultimately passed 49-21, with nine Republicans joining every Democrat in voting against it.

State senators will take up the issue next.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!