A bill to ban state agencies from mandating vaccines advanced from State Senate Committee over Republican objections calling the measure a solution in search of a problem.
“What we need to make abundantly clear is they will not take our guns and they will not mandate our children roll up their sleeves and take a vaccine,” Sen. Shane Jett, R-Shawnee, said debating in favor of his HB 2335.
After three amendments, the bill carves out exceptions for day cares, minor students, college students, hospitals, county and city governments and the Oklahoma National Guard.
“Group after group came with exemptions that they needed because your bill was going to do harm to someone, something, somewhere in the state,” Senate Health and Human Services Chairman, Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, said to Jett.
Absent the exceptions, the bill says no state agency shall enact a rule requiring the general public receive a vaccine, nor should they discriminate against people who refuse to vaccinate themselves or their children.
“Is there broad evidence out there among our constituents that this is a problem that we’ve got to address?” Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer, asked.
Jett said there is fear among his constituents that a vaccine requirement may come down from the federal government. In answering a similar question from Sen. Paul Rosino, R-OKC, Jett said, “currently in the state, no, vaccines are not required. We only have a recommendation list.”
“We’re going to pass a bill to make everyone feel better and in trying to make everyone feel better and alleviate fears that are not based on anything that any of us, including the author that I can tell, could actually produce that we should be scared of.,” McCortney said.
The bill passed Monday’s committee 6-5 but would have to go back to the House if advanced from the Senate due to significant amendments.
“Big government does not know best,” Jett said. “Health care professionals doesn’t know best. The people who know best are the people back home that vote for us or not.”