State Watch

Mississippi bill would bar requiring vaccination for employees with ‘sincerely held religious objection’

Mississippi’s Republican-controlled state House on Thursday passed a bill that would bar public and private employers from requiring workers with a “sincerely held religious objection” to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

The proposed bill, HB 1509, would also prohibit a number of government entities, including state agencies, public colleges and city and county governments from withholding services or denying employment to unvaccinated people.

The state House passed the bill in a 74-41 vote, with state Rep. Tom Miles (D) being the only Democratic lawmaker to support the bill, according to The Associated Press

The bill was sponsored by state House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) and several other Republican lawmakers. 

Only about 50 percent of Mississippi residents have been fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has said on a number of occasions that he would not mandate vaccination for state employees, the AP reported. 

Following its passage by the Mississippi House, HB 1509 will move to the state Senate, which is also controlled by Republicans. It is unclear if the proposed bill will survive there, the AP noted.

Tags COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccines Mississippi religious vaccine exemptions Tate Reeves

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