Gov. Wolf says he’ll veto just-passed ‘vaccine passport’ bill

Coronavirus

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — An amendment to legislation that would prohibit “vaccine passports” in Pennsylvania is “probably a little far” and will cause him to veto it, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said Wednesday.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 29-20 Wednesday afternoon in favor of a bill, sponsored by State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York County), to prohibit “vaccine passports” in Pennsylvania. The bill alone seemed unlikely to cause a veto threat. “Vaccine passports” or a standardized proof of vaccination status that could be required to enter some places and attend some large gatherings have generally been a political nonstarter in America overall.

It has been a popular concept among some Democrats but a battle President Joe Biden and others have concluded they won’t win and isn’t worth fighting.

GOVERNOR WOLF’S OBJECTION

An amendment offered by State Sen. Judy Ward (R-Blair County), whose district includes part of Cumberland County, and included in the final bill which would stop Pennsylvania’s secretary of health from requiring face masks, imposing travel restrictions, requiring social distancing and ordering private businesses to close. It would also stop publicly-funded colleges and universities from requiring students and faculty to be vaccinated.

“As I understand it, the health secretary would be prohibited from telling anybody they ought to wash their hands,” Gov. Wolf said. “I think that’s probably a little far.”

Noting a breach of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 contact-tracing data, first reported in April, Phillips-Hill said in a joint statement with Ward: “The Senate took a firm stand that the state will not continue its ‘data creep’ into these very sensitive records and information by avoiding the slippery slope that is a vaccine passport.”

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“For the past 15 months, Pennsylvanians have experienced unprecedented government intrusion into their lives without any input from their elected representatives in the General Assembly.  Today’s action ensures that does not happen in the future,” Ward added.

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