The Alaska Senate passed SB 156 on Wednesday, an effort to reinforce individual liberty, the right to privacy, and to end discrimination based on vaccination status.
Sponsored by Sen. Lora Reinbold of Eagle River, with co-sponsors Sen. Shelley Hughes and Sen. Mia Costello, SB 156 would prevent state government or its agencies from requiring proof of Covid-19 vaccination status or an immunity passport to travel to or within the state. It also has legal protection to individuals and parents/guardians of minor children who choose not to receive the Covid-19 vaccine based on religious, medical, or other grounds.
Voting for the bill were 13 senators: Tom Begich, D-Anchorage, Mia Costello, R-Anchorage; Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage; Roger Holland, R-Anchorage; Shelley Hughes, R-Anchorage; Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks; Peter Micciche, R-Kenai; Rob Myers, R-Fairbanks; Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River; Josh Revak, R-Anchorage; Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak; Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage; David Wilson, R-Wasilla. Senator Mike Shower, R-Wasilla, was excused from the floor.
Voting against the bill were six senators: Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks; Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel; Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau; Donny Olson, D-Golvina; Bert Stedman, R-Sitka; and Natasha von Imhof, R-Anchorage.
“SB 156 was a strong bipartisan effort,” Reinbold said. “Please thank those who supported SB156 who upheld their oath to the Constitution protecting individual rights. Employers should not dictate your personal healthcare decisions, which was recently reinforced by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, National Federation of Independent Business v. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. SB 156 is a major victory in the Senate.”
“This legislation protects the Constitutional rights of all Alaskans in the workplace and beyond.” Reinbold said. “During listening sessions held online and in person in Southcentral and Juneau, hundreds of Alaskans have shared their stories of suffering from discrimination and segregation, because they did not meet mandated Covid-19 vaccination requirements. SB156 protects Alaskans with religious, health, or other reasons who could not or will not be vaccinated and prevents administrative overreach.”
The bill will be read across the floor in the Alaska House of Representatives, where it will likely be referred to committees chaired by Democrats hostile to the bill. The Health and Social Services Committee is chaired by far-left Anchorage Democrat Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, who is not likely to schedule the bill for a hearing.