SAID MONEY CAN’T BE USED: Alan McVey, chief of staff at DFA, said flatly that American Rescue Act money couldn’t be used to compensate workers who lose jobs over COVID vaccination refusal.

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A fuller explanation of how we got here is in the preceding item, but the House Rules Committee has voted that SB 731 establishing a right not to reveal vaccination status to an employer is NOT germane to rules governing this meeting of the legislature.

The question now goes back to the full House, which will debate the same question. If a majority of those voting decide the bill is not germane, the bill will die.

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UPDATE: The House voted 49-32 to sustain the speaker’s ruling that the bill was germane, which moved the bill to regular debate.

As Rep. Jeff Wardlaw explained in seeking to block passage of the bill by declaring the bill not germane, sponsoring Sen. Bob Ballinger added a reference to American Rescue Act money to his original bill so as to qualify it under terms of the resolution that recessed the legislature to return last week for limited matters. One was pandemic-related bills if they also pertained to American Rescue Act money.

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That money, the Department of Finance and Administration has said, relying on a consultant expert about that money, may not and cannot be used to compensate workers who lose jobs for failure to comply with COVID work requirements. Supporters of the bill say that the bill would prevent anybody from being fired for refusal to be vaccinated because it allows workers to refuse to answer the question of vaccination in the first place.

A chorus of anti-vaxxers who’ve appeared at virtually every committee hearing traipsed through the session to defend the law. They said federal law could change. Consultants are often wrong. Lives are in the balance. One invoked the Lord. A long dialogue concerned whether one would say a child may not or could not have ice cream for breakfast.

FACES IN THE CROWD: Among those urging adoption of anti-vax bill.