State Watch

Idaho governor issues ban on mandated ‘vaccine passports’

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Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed an executive order Wednesday banning any government entity from requiring people show “vaccine passports” that show proof that someone has been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“Idahoans should be given the choice to receive the vaccine. We should not violate Idahoans’ personal freedoms by requiring them to receive it,” Little said in a statement. “Vaccine passports create different classes of citizens. Vaccine passports restrict the free flow of commerce during a time when life and the economy are returning to normal. Vaccine passports threaten individual freedom and patient privacy.

“I have serious concerns that implementing COVID-19 vaccine passports will violate Idahoans’ medial privacy rights, prejudice those unable to receive the vaccine, slow our economic recovery, cause division among our populace and, ultimately, be counterproductive to the widespread administration of the COVID-19 vaccines among Idahoans,” he added. 

Little’s executive order notes Idaho’s progress in its vaccination efforts, including that all residents aged 16 and up became eligible for a shot starting Monday and nearly 500,000 Idahoans have received at least one dose.

Little is just the latest Republican governor to ban the vaccine passports in government buildings on the grounds that they mark a government overreach and violation of privacy.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have signed similar executive orders in a sign that the GOP views the bans as politically advantageous.

“It’s a political winner,” Ford O’Connell, a Florida-based Republican strategist, told The Hill. “They look at it as an all-out assault on personal freedoms and the Constitution, but also, it’s about protecting the average, ordinary Floridian who wants to live their regular day-to-day lives.”

Tags brad little COVID-19 vaccine immunity passport Ron DeSantis vaccine passport

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