(WSYM) — The Republican-controlled Michigan House is one step closer to banning government-sanctioned vaccine passports.
Currently, there are no such vaccine credentials in Michigan, and the state hasn't even announced plans for anything like it.
The measure, called the COVID-19 Vaccination Privacy Act, would ban any government entity from issuing a COVID-19 vaccine passport requiring proof of vaccination to access a public place or service, or imposing a penalty based on vaccination status.
The measure will still have to pass in the State Senate and be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to become law, but it still would not stop places like Little Caesars Arena or prviate establishments like concert venues from requiring proof of one's vaccination status.
The House voted 62-47 in favor of the bill, sponsored by State Rep. Sue Allor, who said it's about protecting civil liberties.
“Obtaining a vaccine is definitely a personal choice," she said. “I don't think believe an individual should have to show that they've had a vaccine in order to go about their daily activities."
Texas, Florida, Idaho and Arizona have all banned the use of vaccine passports in some form. Meanwhile, in New York, the country's first government-issued vaccine passport, The Excelsior Pass, has been downloaded more than 1 million times. It's essentially a QR code with your vaccine status.
A Gallup Poll from last month shows 57% of Americans favor the idea of proof of vaccination for airplane travel and 55% favor passports for entry into large events like concerts.
Critics of the measure say Republicans are wasting time by banning something that doesn't currently exist. Supports say they're concerned Whitmer may opt to use such passports one day.
For decades, Michigan schools have required proof of vaccination for certain illnesses such as polio, mumps and chicken pox, but parents can get a waiver to be exempt in certain cases.
The measure would not impact schools that require proof of vaccination against the other illnesses. If passed, it would target establishments in Michignan primarily funded through tax dollars.