Legislators Say People Shouldn’t Be Discriminated Against Based on Vaccination Status
The 10th Legislative District covers parts of Ocean County
April 19, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)--Senator Jim Holzapfel, Assemblyman Greg McGuckin, and Assemblyman John Catalano (all R-10) are taking action to prevent the use of COVID-19 vaccine passports in New Jersey that could lead to discrimination against people based on their vaccination status.
“We’re extremely concerned by Governor Murphy’s willingness to consider the use of vaccine passports that could prevent people from working, going to school, or visiting public places,” said Holzapfel. “In a free society that respects individual rights, we believe health decisions should be a personal, private choice that a patient doesn’t have to discuss with anyone but their doctor. Our new legislation would prevent vaccine passports from being employed here in New Jersey.”
So-called vaccine “passports” are physical or electronic documents or credentials that could be used to demonstrate that an individual has been immunized against COVID-19.
They could be used to prevent unvaccinated individuals from traveling, accessing public places or events, attending school, or even working.
“We don’t think our state government should threaten or allow for personal freedoms to be restricted based on vaccination status,” said McGuckin. “Requiring vaccine passports to engage in everyday activities would be discriminatory and raise a host of serious constitutional and privacy concerns. This fatally flawed idea needs to be nipped in the bud.”
Holzapfel will introduce legislation in the Senate that makes it unlawful to ask a person if they have received a COVID-19 vaccination or require a person to display proof of vaccination as a condition of or as a prerequisite to:
- the exercise of any privilege or right granted under State or federal law;
- conducting any business or commerce;
- travelling to, outside, or within the State;
- obtaining or maintaining an internship, obtaining or maintaining employment, or receiving a promotion from an employer;
- participation in any governmental or political activity;
- admission or enrollment into any child or adult day care program;
- admission to, enrollment in, or graduation from a preschool program, elementary or secondary school, college, university, or any other institution of education;
- participation in any activity, internship, opportunity, program, or sport offered by a preschool program, elementary or secondary school, college, university, or any other institution of education;
- receiving adequate dental care or health care;
- maintaining, receiving, or renewing a professional certification or license;
- obtaining or renewing membership in any professional organization;
- entrance into or service from any place of business, including, but not limited to, any market, restaurant, or store;
- entrance into and service from any public building, office, or structure;
- entrance into and use of any public park or beach; or
- admission into or service from any amusement park, concert venue, theater, or sporting event.
Additionally, the legislation makes it unlawful to discriminate against or to take any adverse action against any individual who has not received a COVID-19 vaccine or who does not disclose whether the individual has received a COVID-19 vaccine.
McGuckin and Catalano will join as co-sponsors of identical companion legislation that is pending introduction in the General Assembly.
“After a year of watching Governor Murphy take extreme actions by executive orders, people don’t want their rights to be further eroded,” added Catalano. “Just like shutting down businesses and closing houses or worship, forcing people to show their documents to go out in public seems completely un-American. We have to fight back.”