With several businesses starting to take matters into their own hands, such as imposing mask and vaccine requirements, some people are worried it could be a slippery slope.
“Please don’t make me regret my move to the Dairy State,” Kylee Zempel, who moved to Madison from Washington, D.C., told lawmakers. “Please don’t allow that type of tyranny to go unchecked here.”
“Discrimination is singling somebody out that chooses not to make the same decision as you; you discriminate against that group of people,” State Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, said.
Republican lawmakers who back the proposals said private medical decisions shouldn’t impact how people get to live their lives.
Several Republican-backed bills aim to offer Wisconsinites personal protections by prohibiting businesses and the government from requiring proof of vaccination, as well as prohibiting discrimination based on vaccination status.
A sign on the door of Genna’s Lounge in Madison, Wis. states that proof of vaccination is required for customers.
The Senate Committee on Health holds a public hearing on several GOP bills prohibiting proof of vaccination and discrimination based on vaccination status.
However, Democrats view the issue as a matter of public safety.
“I don’t care if I’m the only person in the room that has a different opinion, but I really think we are doing a terrible disservice trying to save people’s lives,” State Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, said. Wednesday’s public hearing is an early step in the process for the bills. The Senate Health Committee still needs to vote to approve them during an upcoming meeting. Assuming lawmakers do, the bills would then need to be passed by the full Senate and full Assembly and then signed into law by the governor.
Read each piece of legislation in its entirety below: Senate Bill 383
Forbids the state, any governmental entity, and any business or legal entity engaged in any enterprise in the state from requiring any person to provide proof that the person has received a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, as a condition of receiving any services, transacting any business, accessing any building, or participating in any function. Senate Bill 336
Prohibits any business or legal entity engaged in any enterprise in the state from discriminating against any customer, client, or potential customer or client based on that person’s vaccination record. Senate Bill 342
Senate Bill 337 Prohibits discrimination on the basis of vaccination status, which is defined in the bill as whether an individual has received one or more doses of a vaccine.
Adds vaccination status as a prohibited basis for discrimination in employment, housing, and the equal enjoyment of a public place of accommodation or amusement on the basis of a person’s disability.
Prohibits the UW System Board of Regents from investing gifts, grants, and bequests in companies that practice discrimination based on vaccination status.
Adds vaccination status as a prohibited basis for exclusion of an individual from jury duty.
Prohibits discrimination against an otherwise qualified person in the adoption of minor children because of the person’s vaccination status.
Requires heads of departments and independent agencies in the executive branch to determine if there is discrimination on the basis of vaccination status and take remedial action regarding such discrimination.
Prohibits discrimination against an employee, prospective employee, patient, or resident of an approved treatment facility providing treatment of alcoholic, drug-dependent, mentally ill, or developmentally disabled persons on the basis of vaccination status.
Prohibits state agency rules from discriminating against a person on the basis of vaccination status.
Prohibits discrimination on vaccination status in the provision of vocational rehabilitation or mental health services.
Prohibits an insurer from discriminating against an individual on the basis of vaccination status and also prohibits motor carriers, automobile insurers, transportation network companies, and real estate brokers and salespersons from discriminating against an individual on the basis of vaccination status.