Under HB 2086, "immunization against HPV and COVID-19" – including the different variants of the latter – are no longer required before students can attend in-person learning. The Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) is in charge of drafting the rules for students' mandatory vaccines. HB 2086 also mandated that the DHS must also include a recognition of immunity from the two diseases.
Students with a medical contraindication to vaccines are exempted from the requirement. The same exemption also applies to students whose parents object to vaccination on grounds of religious or personal belief. As per the bill's text, it "does not preclude a parent's right to make health care decisions for the parent's minor child."
According to local Phoenix channel FOX 10, HB 2086 supersedes an earlier bill passed in 2021 that banned mandatory vaccination using vaccines that only have emergency use authorization. Following Ducey's signature, HB 2086 will take effect 90 days after the Arizona Legislature adjourns its session for this year. (Related: Arizona governor bans state and local governments from requiring vaccine passports.)
Ducey, a Republican, also signed into law HB 2453. The bill prohibited governmental entities – defined "the state and any political subdivision of the state, including the judiciary, that receives and uses state tax revenues" – from imposing mask mandates anywhere on their premises. Only those with workplace safety and infection control measures introduced before the COVID-19 pandemic can require face coverings.
Critics of the measures are claiming that the mandates repealed by the two bills are critical in keeping COVID-19 at bay when another surge strikes.
A year before Ducey signed HB 2086, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a similar measure into law.
The leader of the Sunshine State signed Senate Bill (SB) 2006 back in May 2021, which prohibits schools, businesses and government entities across Florida from mandating COVID-19 vaccine passports. This essentially equates to a ban on mandatory vaccination in schools – as the passports prove that students got injected with the shot. SB 2006 took effect on July 1 of the same year.
DeSantis defended his decision to sign SB 2006 into law, saying: "The legislation creates a default legal presumption that during any emergency, our businesses should be free from government mandates to close, and our schools should remain open for in-person instruction for our children."
The move followed an April 2 executive order issued by DeSantis that blocks COVID-19 passports. With SB 2006 being signed into law and taking effect, the executive order now becomes permanent.
Aside from outlawing vaccine passports, SB 2006 also ensures that both the state and local governments would be prohibited from banning students from attending in-person classes – unless there are hurricane emergencies. The bill also limits local emergency orders to a maximum of seven days, and allows the governor to invalidate a local emergency order if it unnecessarily infringes on individual rights or liberties.
"In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected. We wanted people to be happy living [here]. It was the road less traveled at the time," said DeSantis.
Watch Jefferey Jaxen and Del Bigtree talking about Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey dropping COVID-19 mandates below.
This video is from The HighWire with Del Bigtree channel on Brighteon.com.
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