19th District Rep. Jim Walsh has introduced a bill that would prohibit so-called “vaccine passports” from being used to restrict Washington residents from public places.
Walsh says the bill addresses an issue of growing urgency.
House Bill 1570 comes at the request of dozens of 19th District constituents, and hundreds of Washingtonians from across the state. Twenty other state lawmakers co-sponsored the bill.
“I’m hearing from hundreds of Washingtonians every week worried about state bureaucrats demanding proof of having taken a COVID vaccine as a condition of travel or just being present in a public place,” said Walsh. “Such demands would be a violation of citizens’ civil and constitutional rights in this state. We can’t wait for courts to issue opinions on these matters. We need to clarify state law as quickly as possible.”
Because the bill was introduced late in the current legislative session, it will not likely get a hearing or vote this session. Walsh said he plans to gather support for the proposal during the interim, then re-introduce the measure in the next legislative session.
To allow for easy passage, the lawmaker noted that the language of the bill is simple, direct, and short.
“I’ve used key language from existing Washington law, so the structure and concepts should be familiar to my legislative colleagues. Best of all, the bill is only two pages long. You don’t need to be a senior partner in a Seattle law firm to understand it,” continued Walsh. “We’ve let so many of our foundational rights be eroded over the last year-plus. We need to get back to protecting those essential values. House Bill 1570 helps us do that.”
The 105-day remote 2021 legislative session is scheduled to end April 25.