Gov. Tate Reeves signs bill banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 2:41 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Friday, Gov. Tate Reeves signed House Bill 1509, which bans public institutions and agencies from discriminating against individuals based on their COVID-19 vaccination status.

“Throughout the pandemic, I’ve encouraged Mississippians to consult with their doctor, study the facts, and decide what’s best for them and their families,” Reeves said in a statement. “I’ve made clear that government shouldn’t be in the business of forcing Americans to choose between the COVID-19 vaccine and putting food on their tables, sending their kids to school, or visiting a small business. I’m proud to sign this legislation which protects Mississippians’ medical and religious freedoms.”

The bill bans state agencies, public officials, state colleges and universities, junior colleges, and municipalities from refusing services, health care access, or employment based on a person’s status.

According to the governor’s news release, the bill will make it illegal to require children to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of attending a school, kindergarten, or similar type of facility intended for the instruction of children, whether public or private.

The bill does include some exceptions for medical entities.

Healthcare facilities, for instance, can ask for employee vaccination status when determining whether measures need to be implemented to protect employees, patients, and others.

Healthcare providers also would be exempt during any time when doing so would result in violations of guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The bill was authored by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn.

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