A proposed vaccine verification bill in California has died, but efforts for a stronger push next year are still circulating.
If passed, the bill would have required all employers, public or private, to have their employees show proof of vaccination or submit to a weekly COVID-19 test.
Democratic Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks from Oakland, who has been pushing for the legislation, said on Monday that she would halt her bill from moving forward so as to give more time for improvements on the bill's policy and also more time for collaboration.
"Every day, thousands of Californians are newly affected by this virus — and we have a collective responsibility to do all we can to protect each and every one of them,” Wicks said according to The Mercury News. “We’ve made significant progress over the past couple of weeks, and I’m hopeful that this conversation will ultimately lead to an increase in vaccination rates, and a decrease in COVID-19 deaths and ICU stays … I’m committed to working with my colleagues and key stakeholders to make this the strongest bill possible headed into 2022.”
The legislation calling for mandates was to be packaged in the bill, AB 455, which was initially meant to add a bus lane to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
But last week, lawmakers said they were working on more sweeping legislation that would require patrons who wish to attend restaurants, gyms, bars, theaters, and other places, to show vaccine verification. This would be the broadest mandate in the country. Further details are expected on the bill this week.
Additionally, Wicks included in her announcement a statement from the executive vice president of the California Chamber of Commerce, Jennifer Barrera, who said that “increasing vaccination rates is necessary to end this pandemic.”
“CalChamber will continue to work with policymakers in the coming weeks and months on proposals that increase vaccinations and help stop the spread of the virus without unnecessarily raising costs or increasing litigation against employers,” Barrera stated.
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