LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan lawmaker is coming out against COVID vaccine passports. State Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain, says residents shouldn't have to share sensitive information in order to shop, travel or work.
He is working on a bill that would ban vaccine passports.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration hasn't proposed a vaccine passport and hasn't publicly discussed whether it would take that step.
So far, New York is the only state issuing a COVID passport, which can be downloaded via an app or printed out.
Abroad, both Israel and the European Union are planning to issue what is being called a “green passport” which will be required to enter certain venues and travel freely.
LaFave said his bill would ban vaccine passports in Michigan and establish penalties for violators.
“We’re looking at what we call a civil cause of action. Where if you go into a gas station and they demand a vaccine passport for entry the first time that happens it could be a $1000 fine. You get the $1000 and the attorneys fees paid for if you’re the victim.”
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But medical industry expert, Ed Haislmaier of the conservative Heritage Foundation, says the idea of making the vaccine passport mandatory might be moot.
“By the time you sort out the legal and practical issues on this. It's all going to be over. We are rapidly getting toward herd immunity. We’re now up to about a third of the population having received the vaccine," said Haislmaier.
During the pandemic, all states are issuing white cards with some identifying information on them when a person gets the COVID vaccine. That information is then reported to the CDC.
Haislmaier says he doesn’t see requiring proof of vaccination being popular here because some businesses would suffer.
“Say there’s no rule either way and one bar says you have to show proof of vaccination to get a drink and another bar doesn’t. Who is going to get more business?” said Haislmaier.
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That sentiment is echoed by Brian Calley who heads up the Small Business Association of Michigan.
Calley says although the legislation hasn’t been introduced, businesses in the state don’t want to police workers or patrons in this way.
“Whatever the rules end up being, I think it's pretty clear that the vast majority of small business owners do not to be in a position to enforce on employees and in most cases even have to ask," said Calley.
But LaFave isn’t taking any chances.
“I don’t want to give up on an idea of a free nation where you don’t need to show paperwork every time you want to go to the gas station,' said LaFave.
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