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Idaho House votes to bar businesses from discriminating against employees based on vax status

Courtesy of Idaho state legislature
The Idaho House had an unusually close vote over the question of Covid vaccine mandates by businesses.

The bill is another in a series aimed at reasserting individual rights in Idaho.

The Idaho House has approved a bill that forbids companies from firing or not hiring people because they’re not vaccinated for Covid.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Charlie Shepherd [R-Riggins] was approved after more than an hour of debate.

“If business has to mandate vaccines because of government telling them to, businesses in my area are going to go broke because the employees are going to walk. They are not going to get vaccinated with this untested, unproven vaccine," he said.

Opponents, such as Rep. Laurie Lickley [R-Jerome], said the bill takes away the ability of businesses to protect the health of employees.

“We have a global agricultural community, a global business community here in Idaho that does business on a worldwide basis, who require many of their employees to be vaccinated to travel. Are we going to tell them they can no longer do that? That’s a commerce issue," she said.

This, she says, forces companies to keep employees on the payroll even though they don’t satisfy basic requirements of the job. Others said vaccinated employees who contract the virus are likely to be away from the job for much less time than non-vaccinated employees.

The House approved Shepherd’s bill by a 39-29 vote and sent it to the state Senate.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.