Missouri House votes against proof-of-vaccine mandates

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FILE – In this undated photo, provided by NY Governor’s Press Office on Saturday March 27, 2021, is the new “Excelsior Pass” app, a digital pass that people can download to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Vaccine passports being developed to verify COVID-19 immunization status and allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop and dine have become the latest flash point in America’s perpetual political wars, with Republicans portraying them as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices. (NY Governor’s Press Office via AP, File)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House on Monday advanced a bill that would ban private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination from either employees or customers.

The GOP-led House voted 88-56 to tack the provision on another bill.

The action comes amid backlash to the concept of so-called vaccine passports, which are documentation that shows travelers have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Missouri bill advanced Monday goes further by banning private businesses from requiring proof of any vaccination, not just coronavirus vaccines.

A group of both Democrats and some Republicans criticized the bill, arguing that businesses such as nursing homes should be allowed to require employees or visitors to show they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

O’Fallon Republican Rep. Tony Lovasco said he doesn’t want businesses to demand vaccination records, but he said business owners have a right to choose to do so.

“If we don’t like what it is they’re doing with their private property, well you know what, we don’t have to shop there,” Lovasco said.

Gov. Mike Parson last month said he won’t require so-called vaccine passports in Missouri but is comfortable with private companies adopting them.

The Republican-led Senate last week passed a less-restrictive bill that would only ban the state and local governments from requiring proof of vaccination to travel.

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