COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio lawmakers kicked off two days’ worth of testimony on House Bill 435 Wednesday in the House Labor and Commerce Committee. The bill is only the most recent piece of legislation that would strip COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
The bill would expand COVID-19 vaccine exemptions to include a conscience exemption. This would impact places like private businesses, schools, and universities. Sponsors of the bill say they’ve heard from many people who believe action needs to be taken on this issue.
“There is a segment of Ohioans who are going to be unwilling or unable to take the vaccination and we want to be mindful of that and we don’t think that they should have to lose their employment,” said Rep. Rick Carfagna, (R) Genoa Township.
When the bill was first introduced the Chamber of Commerce came out against it. On Wednesday, business leaders testified that the legislation would hamper their ability to get back to work.
“These exemptions would make such an employer’s vaccination requirements meaningless and would be nearly impossible to manage,” said Ross McGregorOhio Manufacturers’ Association.
Some believe the bill does not go far enough and should include more entities or even more vaccines. Rep. Carfagna said his goal is to get a bill that will pass.
“We have counseled members that the more expansive of a bill you make this out to be you diminish its chances of passage,” said Rep. Carfagna.
As of now, more testimony is planned for Thursday. House Speaker Bob Cupp has said he does not want to bring this bill to the floor until there is a consensus in their caucus.