CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Two calendar items accept been added to the West Virginia Adapted Session, including COVID-19 anesthetic exemptions.
Gov. Jim Justice added a bill to alter the cipher apropos to COVID-19 anesthetic requirements for application in the accessible and clandestine sectors.
The new area provides for exemptions for medical contraindications and for those with religious behavior that anticipate an agent or -to-be agent from demography a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’ve stood bedrock solid that I’m adjoin mandates,” Gov. Justice said. “I durably accept that this country is founded aloft our rights and freedoms. That’s absolutely the additive that makes America great.”
The abstract bill states that “current or -to-be advisers would be absolved from such immunization requirements aloft the presentation of a acceptance to the employer, active by a accountant physician or an avant-garde convenance registered nurse” that has advised the agent advertence that their concrete action is such that a COVID-19 immunization is contraindicated.
The abstract bill additionally says a covered employer cannot amerce or discriminate adjoin a accepted or -to-be agent for appliance absolution rights based on religious beliefs.
“The bill, as it’s laid forward, is activity to crave a actuality to accept a acceptance from their physician or assistant practitioner in adjustment to get that exemption,” Del. Amy Summers (R-Taylor) said. “They’re not aloof activity to address that themselves and canyon that off to their employer, they are activity to accept to accept a acceptance from one of those individuals.”
Del. Summers and Sen. Eric Tarr (R-Putnam) requested the bill be added to the adapted affair agenda. Gov. Justice accustomed their appeal which brought it to the table of assembly on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Del. Doug Skaff (D-Kanawha) said the bill would accomplish assertive clandestine businesses in corruption and he apprenticed they delay until the federal guidelines are released.
“This is a redistricting adapted affair that got hijacked by this bill a brace canicule afore the federal requirements and OSHA guidelines appear out, which risks putting every one of our businesses in violation, adapted off the bat,” Skaff said. “They already acquiesce for exemptions, they accept their own analysis absolution boards and board set up. I don’t know, but I didn’t get adopted up actuality to acquaint everybody how to run their business.”
Summers said the accompaniment can not delay for federal regulations about vaccine mandates to be implemented in the advancing canicule because bodies could lose their job afore then.
“They’re anxious they’re activity to be accident their jobs because they accept the businesses can crave a vaccine, they accept the mandate, but they accept apropos area they anticipate that they deserve an absolution for conceivably a medical reason,” Summers said. “Maybe it’s a adolescent mother who is breast feeding. Maybe it is addition who is pregnant. I’ve heard abounding apropos from those individuals that they would like to accept a medical absolution to demography the vaccine at this time.”
Skaff said every Chamber of Commerce affiliate and the hospital affiliation are not for this bill.
“We’re activity to say ‘we don’t affliction about you, we don’t affliction about you businesses, we don’t affliction about the hospitals, we don’t affliction if you lose your Medicare, Medicaid, funding, we’re activity to canyon article and aloof amount it out later.’ We accept time, we accept time to see what the guidelines say.”
The abstract bill additionally has an absolution for an agent or abeyant appoint who has developed COVID-19 antibodies from actuality apparent to the COVID-19 virus or has recovered from COVID-19 complications.
“Now, I angle abaft the rights of our clandestine businesses, but at the aforementioned time, they charge to accede with the law of the land,” Gov. Justice continued. “This is a accepted faculty bill because federal law already says you accept to acquiesce for these exemptions. Our aggressive has allowable vaccines. However, they are acceptance these exemptions to be claimed. Our own Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey, has accounting a acknowledged assessment which confirms that we charge action these exemptions.”
The governor said Wednesday during a columnist conference that this bill would still acquiesce businesses to authorization COVID-19 vaccines, so continued as the adapted exemptions are available.
The governor said this bill does not affect any added vaccines that are currently allowable in accessible schools such as the mumps, measles and rubella.
“Even admitting I aboveboard abutment the COVID vaccine, and I will abide to animate bodies to booty the COVID vaccine because I absolutely accept in my affection that it is actual safe, it should not be allowable back it hasn’t alike been accustomed for accouchement ages 5 to 11 yet,” Gov. Justice added. “We’ve all heard the stories, recently, about West Virginians actuality accursed from their jobs for not demography the COVID vaccine and that’s not right.”
The anesthetic authorization absolution bill was alien in the House and Senate on Wednesday, and could be voted on as anon as Thursday afterwards casual the House Government Organization Committee. At that meeting, leaders from the West Virginia Hospital Affiliation and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce batten adjoin the legislation because it would abundantly appulse businesses and accessible the achievability to assorted lawsuits from employees.
The alteration to the Adapted Affair alarm additionally includes a bill to accommodate a added allotment of $4 actor to backfill the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants, which go against accouterment absolute casework such as counseling, claimed advocacy, cloister advocacy, applicant transportation, and abutment casework to victims of crimes including calm violence, animal violence, adolescent abuse, and ancient abuse.
The bill will now go for a additional account area it can be adapted or possibly anesthetized on Thursday.
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