Colorado Republicans’ effort to keep employers from requiring COVID vaccines fails

Colorado will not stop employers from requiring COVID vaccinations for workers or customers, lawmakers decided late Wednesday night.

HB21-1191, a Republican-sponsored bill, would have prohibited all employers from mandating the vaccine. It also would have stopped businesses from requiring it for service.

As expected in a Democratic-majority statehouse, it failed on an 8-5 party-line vote in the House Health and Insurance Committee, even after an amendment by Republicans to exclude health care facilities from the bill. More than 100 people signed up to testify in the hearing, which was limited to six hours of testimony.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, business groups and medical professionals sided with Democrats in opposing the legislation, which they said ran contrary to public health and the rights of private business and was steeped in misinformation.

But GOP sponsors Rep. Kim Ransom of Lone Tree and Rep. Tonya Van Beber of Weld County — as well as people opposed to the COVID vaccine and attorneys worried about privacy and choice — said people shouldn’t be discriminated against for not wanting to get a vaccine that has emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is in the process of reviewing the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines for full approval.

Colorado’s bill is among 85 others that have been introduced in statehouses across the country to ban vaccine mandates, with one in Arkansas signed into law.

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