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Abbott: New law prevents Texas businesses from requiring proof of vaccination

Although states like Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Arkansas have signed similar bans into law, other states are taking another approach.
Gov. Greg Abbott
Posted at 3:50 PM, Jun 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 17:10:12-04

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday he will sign a law that prevents Texas businesses from requiring proof of vaccination.

"I’m signing a law today that prohibits any business operating in Texas from requiring vaccine passports or any vaccine information," he tweeted. "Texas is open 100%, without any restrictions or limitations or requirements."

This coincides with something Abbott said in April, when he issued an executive order preventing the use of vaccine passports.

“Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination, and reveal private health information," he said. "Just to go about their daily lives."

Although states such as Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Arkansas have signed similar bans into law, other states are taking another approach.

New York state introduced a program called "Excelsior Pass" to help confirm recent negative COVID-19 test results or vaccination status. The program is strictly voluntary.

"Your completion of this screening website results in the disclosure of personal information and constitutes your consent to the collection and disclosure of such information by New York State for the purposes of providing your COVID-19 test results or vaccination status, follow up communications, contact tracing. or similar services," says a disclosure on the Excelsior Pass website.

When asked about the possibility of federal mandates on vaccination passports, United States White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the Biden administration has no plans to do so.

"The government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential," she said on April 6 in a White House briefing. "There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential."

The government's role in vaccination has been a topic of debate since the early 1900s, in response to the smallpox pandemic. In the case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts in 1905, the Supreme Court ruled that states could legally impose a fine on residents who did not get vaccinated against smallpox.

"To invest such a body with authority over such matters was not an unusual, nor an unreasonable or arbitrary, requirement. Upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members," said Justice John Marshall Harlan.