Wyoming House Passed on First Reading a Bill to Prevent Businesses From Mandating Vaccines
On Wednesday, Wyoming lawmakers in the House passed House Bill 1001 by 36 votes, in the Committee of the Whole, with two more votes needed before it can be sent to the Senate.
The bill itself would attempt to prevent employers from instituting a vaccine requirement as a condition of employment.
The bill, among other things, would impose a $100 fine each day that a vaccine mandate stays in place after Oct. 31, provide up to $1.5 million in stipends to health care employers that don't have a vaccine requirement, with some exceptions, and appropriate $10 million to the department of workforce services for providing COVID-19 tests to employers.
Representative Bob Nicholas said that the $100 fine is intended to get employers to cooperate, but not to put too harsh a penalty on businesses.
An amendment to the bill that attempted to remove the $100 fine failed 26-28.
While the bill does prevent employers from implementing most forms of a vaccine requirement, there are some exceptions provided.
Employers may mandate vaccines if written evidence is given on the necessity of vaccination, that religious or medical exemptions be provided, including previously COVID-19 infection, and that reasonable alternatives be provided.
Originally, the bill had provided severance pay to employees who quit or were fired because of vaccine requirements, however an amendment by Representative Llyod Larsen, approved by the House, stripped that from the bill.
The severance pay would have been equal to 50% of pay and benefits for 13 weeks after leaving their job.