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Lawmaker Files Bill Banning Businesses From Requiring Vaccinations

A Republican state lawmaker has filed a bill that would ban businesses from requiring employees to get vaccinated or asking about employees’ vaccination status.

The proposal comes as some Kentucky businesses are doing just that—at least 11 major hospitals and health care providers in the state arerequiring workers to get the vaccineas the coronavirus continues to surge.

The bill, filed by Marion Republican Rep. Lynn Bechler, would expand Kentucky’s civil rights code, forbidding employers from requiring proof of vaccination in order to work or apply for a job.

It also bans businesses from limiting or classifying employees based on their vaccination status.

Lawmakers will consider the bill when they return for the next legislative session in January.

Bechler didn’t respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

According toKentucky’s vaccine tracker, 55% of the state has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Kentucky officials don’t report how many people are fully vaccinated, butthe Mayo Clinicsays the state’s rate is 46.9%.

Meanwhile, Kentucky’scoronavirus case positivityrate reached 12.59% on Wednesday afternoon, the highest rate during the pandemic.

State officials expectICU hospitalizationsto hit their highest numbers this week as the delta variant of the virus surges across the state, predominantly among unvaccinated people.Rural hospitalsare especially slammed.

Protesters have begun gathering outside some Kentucky hospitals that are requiring their employees to be vaccinated. On Monday,about 50 people gatheredoutside Baptist Health in Lexington, calling on hospital leaders to let employees choose whether to be vaccinated.Hospitals in Paducahare planning to endure protests as well.

Bechler filed a bill earlier this weekbanning state and local governments, including school districts, from requiring students to wear masks at public schools and universities.

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear issued an executive orderrequiring masks in schoolslast week, shortly followed by anemergency masking regulationpassed by the Kentucky Board of Education.

Copyright 2021 89.3 WFPL News Louisville. To see more, visit 89.3 WFPL News Louisville.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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